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Banditry: Katsina police commissioner detains 17 officers for travelling to see families

A source said the officers were exposed to cold in an open shelter and unable to carry out personal hygiene for three days and counting.

• November 11, 2020
Sanusi Buba

At least 17 police officers who travelled to see their loved ones after spending months fighting killer bandits in Katsina have been ordered detained by the police commissioner.

Sanusi Buba accused the officers of travelling without permission and kept them in custody at the command headquarters in Katsina main town since November 9, Peoples Gazette learnt from police sources.

The officers were deployed from different police formations to support the military in the ongoing assault against armed banditry in Katsina, which had worsened despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s attempt to forestall insecurity in his home state.

The officers were deployed in May and some of them took permission to go and see their loved ones six months later in early November, according to police sources familiar with the matter.

“They got permission from their unit commanders to go and see their loved ones across the country, because many of them are from the southern parts,” a police source said. “But immediately they returned, the commissioner accused them of travelling without permission.”

The officers said they had not been paid allowances since they were deployed in May, even though their military counterparts confirmed regular allowances.

“The soldiers are telling us that they have been paid,” a police source said. “But only police officers have been abandoned without allowances for so many months.”

“But rather than pity the officers for even managing to raise money to go and see their wives and children after so many months on the frontlines, they are being unfairly punished under a false claim that they did not receive permission to travel.”

Another source said the officers were exposed to cold in an open shelter and unable to carry out personal hygiene for three days and counting.

Mr. Buba reportedly called the officers for a briefing at the command headquarters, only for him to detain them after they honoured his invitation.

Officers warned that the commissioner’s action could dampen morale of those on the frontlines, which could portray Inspector-General Mohammed Adamu as incompetent against armed bandits, who have killed thousands and displaced a large number of rural dwellers in the president’s home state in recent years.

Nigerian police officers have long complained of inadequate funding, which reform advocates recognise as a major hindrance to effective policing.

Katsina police spokesman Gambo Isa said the matter was an internal police affair that would be looked into by the police leadership.

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