Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Nigeria: Police Chief Sees Security Improvement

Nigeria's Inspector General of Police says the police and other security agencies are in control of the security situation, in spite of criticisms that they have failed to prevent violence carried out by Islamist militant group, Boko Hara.

Three months ago, the militant group abducted over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok and has continued to launch attacks on the population in parts of the country's north.

But in an interview with VOA, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar said the security situation has improved despite the security challenge posed by Boko Haram militants.

Analysts say the security threat posed by the militants could undermine the economic outlook by shaving some points from the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But Abubakar says security officials are working hard to ensure that the country's peace and stability as well as maintains its territorial integrity.

"Efforts are being made very seriously in containing this threat," said Abubakar.

He sharply denied accusations that some security officers have been providing intelligence information to the militants-enabling Boko Haram members to evade arrests and attempts by security forces to protect lives and property.

He said police routinely "track" their own officers to ensure there is no link or cooperation with militants.

"If you check, we equally are - one way or the other - affected by this level of devastation or threats. We have lost some officers to this terror and as far as I know, as of today, our officers are doing the best in terms of providing information intelligence against terror in this country," said Abubakar. "We haven't had any single police officer that has been connected to any particular incident of leaking information used by terrorists or criminal groups of such nature."

Critics say the police have failed to provide protection following the increasing attacks on civilians.

But Abubakar said the police and other security agencies have been doing their best to contain the security situation. He pointed to recent arrests of people connected to the militants in Borno, Adamawa and Lagos States as evidence of the security agencies' hard work to combat the terrorism the country faces.

Abubakar said the arrests enabled the security agencies to gather intelligence as well as recover arms and ammunition available to the militants that could have been used to launch series of attacks on the people.

"We have been doing so much, not only the police but, [also] other security agencies... so much is being done in terms of deployment in terms of surveillance in term of intelligence, otherwise probably the attacks would be been much more than these," said Abubakar. "We want to reassure the public that the government is on top of the situation and we are doing our best to ensure that we are not overwhelmed by such situations."

Abubakar also said the police and other security agencies are working with the public to gather information and intelligence about the militants. He said there is good collaboration between security agencies, and the public has enabled security officials to thwart planned Boko Haram attacks in parts of the country.

"It's good but we want it to be excellent. Good in the sense that years back we had a lot of challenges, but the situation have changed because one the police are more civil and patient with the members of the public," said Abubakar. "In Kano we discovered several numbers of IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices] planted by a Mosque... probably thousands of people would have been dead. It is true the partnership- a partnership that works and the people that led to this."

He said members of the public alerted police about IEDs that were recently planted in the capital, Abuja. The information, Abubakar said, enabled the police to thwart yet another planned attack by the terrorists to kill scores of people.

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