opinionBy Adibe Emenyonu
Benin City — Last week 12 medics on humanitarian duties were shot dead in three separate attacks. Two of them took place in Kano, Kano State and the third in Potiskum, Yobe State by yet to be identified assailants. The Kano incidents, said to have been carried out by gunmen on motorbikes, affected nine female health workers that were on routine polio immunisation exercise at Filin Kashu and Shargalle Health Centre (in Hayen Hotoro). The third attack and more barbaric, claimed the lives of three North Korean doctors attached to a local hospital in Potiskum.
Two days before the Kano attacks, it was reported that a guest on a local radio station had said that immunisation against polio was anti-Islam and a Western conspiracy to cause infertility in women.
A criticism of this magnitude via the airwaves, given the delicate state of security in that part of the country, was potent enough to evoke memories of negative sentiments that had erupted in that same city over the same exercise about a decade ago which greatly undermined progress towards eradicating polio. Sadly, Nigeria is one of three countries where the wild polio virus is still endemic!
This has attracted wide range of condemnation from leaders, including President Goodluck Jonathan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association and the state government, which quickly rushed to the same radio station to attempt some damage-control.
Remember that these tragic stories are happening in a city where barely three weeks ago, its traditional ruler, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, narrowly escaped death when suspected terrorists attacked his convoy.
As usual, the Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, came out few days after the killings to direct Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) and Commissioners of Police in states to beef up security, especially in the north, where immunization exercise would take place to provide adequate security.
He gave similar directive last year when gunmen attacked men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) guarding Okene Central Mosque and killed two soldiers attached to the team.
The order was not too different in the case of an attack of worshippers, also last year, at Deeper Life Church, Otite in Okehi Local Government of Kogi State, by suspected terrorists killing 15 persons, while another victim died in the hospital. Here, Mohammed instituted a 24-hour surveillance of all places of worship and other vulnerable areas in Okene and other parts of the state.
The list is endless. Why can't the IG axe a police commissioner who he feels is not on spot with security in his area of jurisdiction? We saw it happen recently when the leadership of the Nigerian Army removed a sitting General Officer Commanding (GOC) for allegedly failing to act on an intelligence report of a planned attack.
The recent history of Kano in relation to polio vaccine is too green in our memory that any medic on immunization exercise in the city should not be left unprotected by the police.
After all, one important step in securing your environment is to know the movement of your opponents. It is the duty of the police, in this case, to have the foreknowledge of the movement of the enemy through intelligence gathering. If they had it, why was it not acted upon? If they did not have it, what were they doing in that state? Didn't they know that another round of immunization was afoot? Didn't they hear of the criticism against the exercise on radio? Why did they not sense at this point that there could be trouble? Maybe they were waiting for it to happen for the IG to come in and direct massive deployment to trouble spots.
Rule 7 of Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals", says: "A tactic that drags on for too long becomes a drag. Commitment may become ritualistic as people turn to other issues." This may be one of the challenges confronting the IG's several 'beef up security' orders to his men. I feel it's about time the approach is changed for a maximum effect. Because, if for nothing else, the tactic clearly shows that the "enemies' are well ahead of the police.
The police know that the attacker chooses the time and place to attack when it is favorable to him while the defender must accept being attacked even if he would rather wait.
They also know that as a strategy in an offensive, it is gravely dangerous to just sit there and wait for your opponent to attack, because you will never overpower him as he will not attack when he is weaker than you.
Man Plans Own Kidnap, Extracts Ransom from Boss
Kidnapping has assumed a new dimension in Benin City, Edo State, as the police apprehended a driver attached to a bakery firm who feigned his kidnap in order to extort money from his boss.
According to police report, the suspect, Mr. Henry Aiwansedo, 28 went into hiding and in collaboration with his gang members put a call across to his boss, Joshua Aigbede that he had been kidnapped by gunmen asking for N150,000 ransom.
In his confession, Aiwansedo said he hatched the idea of going into hiding and putting a call to his to his boss on December 22, 2012 when he saw the poster of a Lagos-based spiritualist in Benin City. As a proof of what he had assured him, Aiwansedo said the spiritualist gave him a magical ring identified as wealth, and a box containing money which he warned could not be spent until he produces a seven-year-old ram and N150,000 had been produced.
On December 27 last year, he handed over N116,000 in sales from the bread he sold that day to one of his gang members, and also gave out Aigbede's telephone number to inform him that his driver (Aiwansedo) has been kidnapped and that they required N150,000 as ransom.
The plot seemed to have pulled through as Aiwansedo's boss paid the money through the wife of the suspect. However, the plot became messy when Aigbede found after the ransom payment that Aiwansedo was still in the custody of the so-called kidnappers and decided to report the matter to the Edo State Police Command who carried out their investigations and thereafter, informed Aigbede that it was his driver that masterminded the abduction.
The police said it discovered that the bakery van driven by Aiwansedo was found where it was parked with the battery removed and the vehicle key kept under the driver's seat. At this stage, the Acting Commissioner of Police, Muhammed Hurdi, disclosed that the bakery owner was advised to play along with the callers.