The Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, has attributed the arrest of Chukwujeme Onwamadike, the suspected kidnapper popularly known as Evans, to information sharing and intelligence cooperation among police services in West Africa.
“Information sharing is crucial to tackling the menace of trans-border crimes in West Africa; it is through such exchange that we were able to nab a Ghanaian/Nigerian kidnapper two weeks ago, after evading arrest for many years,” Idris said on Wednesday.
Idris spoke in Accra, Ghana in a paper titled: “The role of Nigeria Police in national security and its contributions in West Africa”, delivered at an ongoing West Africa international security conference.
“For several years, Evans terrorised Nigerians and nationals of many countries across West Africa. Efforts to apprehend him did not yield the desired results until we spread our search net wider,” he said.
The police chief, who solicited closer ties among security agencies in the sub-region, emphasised the need to improve the method of monitoring and surveillance, particularly among border and coastal police units.
Idris called for improved communication capabilities among intelligence gathering outfits in West Africa, and called for mutual support to plug loopholes usually exploited by criminals. He said that the Nigeria Police Force had 300,000 personnel in 127 area commands and 5303 divisions, adding that the force had consistently contributed to stability and peace in ECOWAS nations and under UN mandates.
“The Nigeria Police Force trained 250 Liberian Police personnel in 2005 and has consistently offered training slots to police officers from Gambia and Sierra Leone at the Police Staff College, Jos and the Police Academy, Wudil. “We also trained 100 police officers from the Republic of Niger on mobile police combat in 1998. At the end of the training, Nigeria donated trucks, riot equipment and tear smoke to the Nigerien government,” he said.
Idris said that the Nigeria Police Force also helped to stabilise Guinea Bissau in 2012, when the military intervened in its leadership and truncated democracy. “Our police personnel remained there until democracy was restored in 2014,” he stated.
The IGP expressed Nigeria’s readiness to consistently cooperate with police formations in other countries to track down criminals, pointing out that such mutual cooperation had become even more necessary as technology had reduced the world to a small village.