Murder of 13 policemen in Bayelsa – Thisday

By The Citizen

It is worrying that the new sport for criminals is killing uniformed men. This ugly trend must be checked. The recent murder of 13 Policemen in the creeks of Bayelsa State has brought a new low to the crisis of insecurity that is facing our country today. The attack which occurred around the Azuzuama waterways in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area indeed demonstrates how emboldened criminals have become for our armed personnel to be so casually ambushed and summarily executed in cold blood. Not only must the mass murder be strongly condemned for what it is-barbaric, criminal, inhuman and primitive–we consider the targeted killing of policemen or any other security agents in peace times an unnecessary provocation that should not go unpunished.

The policemen, drawn from the security pool of the Bayelsa State Government House and the state Police Command, were said to be on a special assignment to Azuzuama where an aide to the Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson, was burying his mother. While there are conflicting claims as to who was responsible for the killings and why, the culture of impunity which has enveloped our nation in recent time already provides an indication that life no longer holds any sacred meaning for the lawless characters in our midst who hide under some ill-defined agitation to pursue their sinister agenda. In other societies even the mafia has it as a rule not to deliberately kill a cop because of the associated risks. But in our country today, men in uniform have lately become fair games to all manner of criminal gangs who believe they can get away with anything, basically because they indeed can. That explains why a criminal gang can kill 13 policemen and croak about it.

Whatever may be the motive for the mass murder and whosoever may be behind it, the fact remains that the incident represents a serious setback in the troubled Niger Delta. While we take note of the fact that there have been all manner of claims to the murder, we must make it abundantly clear that it is improbable that anything could be achieved by whatever group that may have been responsible for this act of cowardice other than to score cheap and meaningless point. Therefore, we expect that the police authorities would definitely seek to fish out those who killed its men but in doing so, we also hope they do not go after innocent persons who may not have been part of the plot.

Coming barely a month after the former Kwara State Police Commissioner, Mr. Chinweike Asadu, was similarly ambushed and murdered in Enugu by yet-unknown assailants, the relevant authorities must be worried by the ease with which criminals now make easy prey of armed personnel to the extent of killing 13 policemen while on duty. As we therefore wait on our security agencies to ensure they bring the perpetrators to justice, we wish to commiserate with the families of the deceased police personnel. In the same vein, we would like to reiterate all we have been saying these past months about the need for all critical stakeholders to put heads together in order to help find lasting solution to the security challenges presently facing the nation. The urgency of such action cannot be over-emphasised.

The murder of these 13 police men, (mostly breadwinners of their families) in a rather bestial manner is a serious indictment on our country. When we realise that people in uniform embodies the state, the gravity of the offence committed by those responsible can only be imagined. So while we commend the Police High Command and the security agencies for the speedy manner in which they promptly responded and recovered 10 mutilated bodies of the 13 men, they must also ensure that they recover the remaining three. Beyond that, the culprits of this heinous crime must be found and brought to justice.