Former Inspector-General of Police, Ogbonnaya Onovo, has described the recent kidnap of 333 school boys in Kastina state as an insult to Nigeria’s security agents.
He made the disclosure in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state, on Saturday during a sensitization on community policing in the state, noting that security agents and the entire nation saw the high level of insecurity coming but weren’t proactive in handling the situation.
Onovo, called on Nigerians to be vigilant and embrace community policing in order to tackle the insecurity in the country. He advised that security of lives and properties should not be left in the hands of security agents alone.
“We saw this insecurity coming but because of our laxity, we couldn’t take appropriate action to nip it to the bud and it has gotten that bad. Few days ago, 333 students were taken away from their school. You start imagining; did they controlled them like cattle towards one direction in the bush? Did they use lorries to take them? How? Nothing was done, nobody did anything and they took away 333 young men between the ages of 18 and 10.
“What impunity!. It is an assault on all of us. Chibok Girls have not been released yet and so on. Am not talking about the killings every day. Because everybody has said it is the duty of police alone to prevent crime; police go and catch them! Police go and catch them!!. But now, the chicken has come home to roost and here we are, everybody is crying”, he added.
The retired IGP said during his tenure as IGP, he fought kidnapping to standstill and stopped it entirely in south east, and that he was able to achieve that through community policing which he described as the only solution to the worsening insecurity in the country.
He maintained that the level of insecurity in Nigeria today wouldn’t have been at the level it is today if the people had co-operated with security agents by fishing out criminals around them instead of protecting them.
Stating: “I was here in 2010 and the people of south east decided that they will start their own kidnapping. Before then, we had kidnapping in the Niger Delta and heard how they kidnapped white men and demanded ransom. Yes, they had the guts at that time. They will even go as far as kidnapping somebody who is fair in complexion and when they discovered that the person is not a white man and cannot give them ransom, they release such a person.
“When it started, everybody was shouting but nobody did anything about it. As soon as I became IGP, youths in the south east digitalized kidnapping and that’s why I said I am familiar with this scenario. I pleaded with our people that we are not known for kidnapping, we are known for hard work . At that time, if you step out, our Igbo boys will kidnap you and demand ransom.
“At that time, I went to Umuahia too and spent six days there. I combed all the bushes around Aba until we release six journalists that were kidnapped that made news.
“They were even kidnapping royal fathers and kidnapping her Royal Majesties and demanding for ransom but we fought them. If we are not careful this time around they will start kidnapping school children here in south east.”