The Bayelsa State Police Command had been without a Commissioner of Police to pilot its affairs for the past few weeks. This is as a result of the exit of the immediate past Commissioner, Mr. Mike Okoli who proceeded on a retirement leave, thereby momentarily creating a vacuum in the police highest leadership echelon in the state.
Despite the former CP Mike Okoli’s efforts in combating crime in the past one year, criminality seems to be on the rise in the state.
Unarguably, Bayelsa is being tormented by wave of criminality ranging from kidnapping, sea piracy, armed robbery, cultism and other forms of banditory.
CP Echeng, who took over from CP Mike Okoli who has gone on retirement from service, resumed work on August 9 at the police headquarters in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital.
A statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Mr. Asinim Butswat said prior to his appointment as the CP Bayelsa State, CP Echeng Eworo Echeng had previously served as Police Component Commander, joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe, Compol Mopol, Force Headquarters Abuja, CP Central Criminal Registry, FCID, Abuja, DC Border Patrol Force Headquarters Abuja, DC FCID Zone 13, Ukpo- Dunukofia.
CP Echeng Eworo Echeng holds BA (Hons) History, from University of Maiduguri, Borno State. He has attended several courses, notable among them are; Mission Training Cell, Keilce Poland, Officers Conversion course PMF, Gwoza, Unit Combat Course PMF, Gwoza and Tactical Command Course – Police Staff College Jos.
It is based on the current security situation that the news of the positing of a new Commissioner of Police in the person of Echeng Oworo Echeng to Bayelsa state was received by residents as a welcome development. The Inspector General of Police, on Friday, ordered a new posting of Commissioners of Police to 15 states of the federation including Bayelsa. CP Echeng’s posting to Bayelsa is seen by many Bayelsans as a plus to the state considering his wealth of experience which he will bring to bear as the new Sheriff in town.
As an experienced Police Officer, CP Echeng is seen by many as better positioned to effectively combat crimes such as cultism and kidnapping which are the most prevalent in the state at the moment.
For instance, Madam Betinah Benson, the 80-year old mother of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Konbowei Benson who was abducted about a month ago is still being held hostage by her abductors. Madam Betinah was kidnapped, for the second time in eight years, from her Old Legislative Quarters residence along Azikoro Road in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital by some unknown gunmen who dressed in military uniform and taken to an unknown destination. Her abductors are demanding a ransom of N500 million.
Similarly, the owner of a popular night event centre known as Club 64, Mr. Tari Ajanamih was kidnapped along Otiotio Road, Yenizue-gene in Yenagoa about the same period Madam Betinah was kidnapped. The latest update about his kidnap has it that the victim had been reportedly released conditionally while his wife and 74-year old mother-inlaw were held by his abductors who had demanded a ransom of N200 million but only allegedly received a shortfall of
From the foregoing, the first herculean task before the the newly posted CP will be to secure the release of those in kidnappers captivity unhurt and ensure that the perpetrators are arrested and made to face the full weight of the law. Another uphill task expected of the new Commissioner of Police will be to smash the marauding rival cult groups terrorizing different parts of the state, especially the state capital and the state owned Niger Delta University as well as other tertiary institutions.
From independent investigations, it has come to our knowledge that the greatest impediment to effective operation in the state is gross inadequacy of operational logistics. As a predominantly riverine state, when the kidnappers abduct their victims, they take them to the hinterlands through the crooked creeks and sometimes to the Atlantic Ocean where it becomes impossible for security operatives to handle due to lack of marine gunboats to navigate the waterways. This is also responsible for the growing sea piracy in the state.
To this end, the incoming CP should liaise with the Zone-16 of the Nigerian Police which comprises Bayelsa and Rivers states so as to reach out to the Inspector General of Police to ensure the provision of necessary logistics for the command for the purpose of fighting crime and bringing same to its barest minimum. Our recent investigation which proved that the Bayelsa State Police Command cannot boast of even one Amored Personnel Carrier (APC) portends grave threat to effective community policing.
The new CP, on assumption of office, should strengthen the community policing mechanism through proper synergy with the citizenry and all security stakeholders including the media for effective information sharing in order to ease his primary task of providing adequate security and maintaining law and order in Bayelsa state.