Saturday, September 05, 2015

Boko Haram, Zakari Biu, Kabiru Sokoto & a nation harassed


All Alhaji Zakari Biu, the Commissioner of Police in
charge Special Investigations at Zone 7 Police
Headquarters, Abuja, did when he found his way
back into the force from which he was frozen out for
10 years, as an Assistant Commissioner of Police,
was for him to clear his name of many envisaged
wrong doings and rumours of allegations of human
rights abuses leveled against him during the military
regime of General Sani Abacha.

A senior Police officer and colleague of his who made
this disclosure to Saturday Vanguard noted that Biu
was comfortable in the business he ventured into
until colleagues of his and course mates started
asking him if he committed any offence that is
documented or if he had queries of misdemeanor in
the force that would warrant his unceremonious exit
from the force just like that, simply because former
President Olusegun Obasanjo did not like his face.
Kabiru Sokoto, Zakari Biu and Boko Haram
explosion site He consequently took his plight to the Police Service Commission (PSC), who dutifully looked into his
complaint, reviewed his years of service in the force
and found that he was unlawfully sent away because
there was no query or disciplinary offence committed
by the officer. But the recall of Alhaji Zakari Biu, a former squad leader of the dreaded Abacha Strike force into the
Police force by the Police Service Commission after
several years of being frozen out did not happen
without controversy.

As the head of the anti-terrorism and explosives
squad in the villa, during Abacha's tenure, it was
suggested that the several bombing attacks during
the Abacha regime had imprints of the officer and as
such and his recall pitched the Police hierarchy then,
with the PSC.

While the Police hierarchy believed the recall of
Zakari Biu who was invited to the Oputa panel set up
by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 to
defend himself over allegations that he was in charge
of the several high profile bombings that took place
during the tenure of General Abacha, and which in
one instance led to the killing of Bagauda Kalto, will
question Police sincerity about its rule of law
posture, the PSC based his recall on the fact that
before 1999, Zakari Biu had no query in his file.
Obasanjo had ordered the removal of Zakari Biu
from the Presidential villa in 1999 on the grounds
that he could not work with an officer, in a
democracy with so many allegations of human rights
abuses hanging on his head and petitions against the
officer flying from all directions.

In recommending his recall, the Police Service
Commission directed that the Police authorities pay
Zakari Biu, all his outstanding allowances and
salaries dating back to 1999 when he was eased out
of the force.
At the Police College Kano , where he was
subsequently posted to, he had told his colleagues
that he only wanted to clear his name for sake of
posterity because so many stories about him were
false. So if he is able to make the position of a Deputy
Commissioner of Police before retirement, it would
be a bonus.

However, on becoming the Inspector General of
Police, his bosom friend and course-mate, Hafiz
Abubakar Ringim who was faced with the menace of
Boko Haram and who knew that Zakari Biu was one
of the earliest and few Police officers trained abroad
in Counter Terrorism tactics and investigations,
saddled him with the task of investigating issues
associated with the sect's atrocities before the advent
of Kabiru Sokoto.

Today, the fate of CP Zakari Biu who is under
suspension over the earlier escape of Boko Haram
kingpin, Kabiru Sokoto before he (Sokoto) was
re_arrested, is now hanging in the balance as the
report of the Force Disciplinary Committee (FDC) and
that of the investigating panel set up by the office of
the NSA, are both before the Police Service
Commission, the body charged with responsibility of
discipline of Police officers.

A source which would not reveal the contents of the
recommendations said my friend, "There are only
two things in this matter; it is either retirement or
dismissal, which is all I can tell you and when the
decision is reached, it will be made known to the
The source added that if eventually Biu is dismissed,
he would be prosecuted for his role in the escape
though he disclosed that Biu pleaded innocence to all
charges against him.
The deep rooted revelations of the Boko Haram
cankerworm, following recent developments have
brought to fore the disclosure early this year by
President Goodluck Jonathan at a Church Service to
mark the Armed Forces Remembrance Day
celebration, when he admitted that the dreaded
Islamic terror group, Boko Haram had infiltrated
almost all sectors of the Nigerian state including Aso
Rock, the armed forces and the Nigeria Police force.
Prior to Jonathan's revelation, Nigerians were
witnesses when last June, 2011, the Police Force
headquarters, Luis Edet house was bombed by Boko
Haram shortly after the former IGP, Hafiz Ringim
visited Borno state to take delivery of equipment
donated to the force and declared that the days of
the terror group were numbered.

After the incident, the manner of the bombing, taking
place moments after the IG left his car park for his
office, the fact that the bombers had the exact
schedule of the IG's movement, followed him and
beat the security at the gate of force headquarters,
suggested there were Police sympathizers of the
group who fed them itinery of his movement.
Since then, the activities of Boko Haram have
skyrocketed and put the nation on its toes
culminating in the bombings of the UN house and the
recent attacks in Potiskum and Damaturu during
which about 67 persons lost their lives, Xmas day
bombing, attempted bombing attack at headquarters
1 mech. Div Kaduna and NAF base Kaduna.
Therefore, to say the initial arrest of Kabiru Sokoto
came to the Police high command and government
as a huge sigh of relief is like understating the
obvious. To also say that it was a like sucker punch to
learn that the same Mallam Kabiru Sokoto, the
alleged mastermind of the deadly Christmas Day
bombing of St. Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla,
Niger State which claimed 47 lives escaped in
dramatic circumstances from the hands of CP Zakari
Biu putting it appropriately.

The fact that such a high profile suspect could slip
out of police custody in questionable circumstances
less than 48 hours after he was arrested shook the
nation to its foundation.
Following deployment of modern tracking device
recently installed by the Chinese at Force
headquarters, Sokoto had been traced to the Borno
Governor's lodge after he made several contacts with
his members on new plans to carry out bombings in
the FCT and arrested.

He was then handed over to CP Zakari Biu at Zone 7
headquarters, as the officer entrusted with Boko
Haram investigations, where he was interrogated and
useful information that could lead to the arrest of
other masterminds obtained.
The police took Sokoto's arrest as a significant
breakthrough since other Boko Haram investigations
had always met a brick wall; a laptop and other
sensitive documents were retrieved from Sokoto
which implicated other masterminds of the
Christmas Day bombing.

The police also planned to collaborate with
international agencies to ascertain whether Sokoto's
planned trip to London has to do with any affiliation
to international terrorist organizations. But this
breakthrough was short_lived when Sokoto escaped
in commando style.
With the re-arrest of Kabiru Sokoto and arrest in
Kaduna of another kingpin, Abu Qaqa, new
revelations on the modus operandi of the sect, how
they get their funding through robbing of banks and
arms and ammunition through attacking of Police
stations have come out while the group of specialists
who assist the group in the manufacture on IED's
improvised explosive devices they detonate are said
to be ex-military and ex-police personnel.
Recall that after the UN bomb blast last year, a
furious President Goodluck Jonathan had summoned
the leadership of the force comprising the Inspector
General of Police, DIG's, AIG's and all Commissioners
of Police to the Presidential Villa where he gave a
marching order to the Police to put a stop to the
security challenges posed by the Boko Haram
terrorist group and other high risk security crisis
facing the country like kidnapping and bank robbery.
The President expressed dissatisfaction with the
manner some State's Commissioners Police were
approaching the issue of Boko Haram and terrorism
noting that is why they can still find their way into
National Assets like Police stations or Police Bases
and detonate explosions.

At the meeting that lasted three hours, he told the
senior officers to their faces, that he was unhappy
anytime there were reports of bomb explosions and
people were killed, saying it created negative impacts
on the minds of potential foreign investors and the
international community.

In one instance, the President frowned at the senior
officers, telling them he was aware Nigeria has some
of the best trained and experienced officers in all
fields of security endeavor including counter
terrorism measures, as had been testified to by
international bodies like INTERPOL, etc hence he was
baffled why this expertise was not being put to

The excuse the Police gave then was that it was
reaping the consequences of underfunding and had
not been able to access the funds budgeted for its
services for year 2011, hence some of the
shortcomings it was experiencing in the performance
of its duties.
Having done a lot to redress the situation of the
Police force under the leadership of the former IG, it
was not a surprise to security watchers therefore,
that the President wielded the big stick by
subsequently asking him to proceed on retirement,
when once again a Boko Haram kingpin (Kabiru
Sokoto) vanished into thin air from the grip of trained
Policemen under the command of an officer he
(Ringim) personally chose to carry out the
The fact of the matter now however, is that with the
recent bombing unleashed by the sect in Kano state
and other attacks across the north, the elite and the
Muslim 'Ummah' from the north are begging to see
reasons with the security agencies who all along have
sought cooperation and support from well meaning
Nigerians that the menace be tackled for what it is
and not covered with religious or ethnic feathers to
the detriment of the nation's well being.

AbleMoJah® Nigeria.

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