Attacks on security architectures in Nigeria has recently become a phenomenon. The rootings of the mayhem can be traced to the antecedents of the #ENDSARS protest which last October saw belligerent attacks on Police infrastructures at the wake of the violence turning soar. The protest which was informed by demonstrations to protest police brutality, particularly with the rove of the reactions against what was seen as the impunity of men of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). At the wake of the protest turning sour, demonstrations saw Police infrastructures suffering depth of losses, while operatives of the Force were battered on sight by angry mobs across the Country. While attacks and repealed attempts on other security architectures such as prisons were recorded, the Police suffered larger part of the onslaught by mob actions. The ugly development was a stroke of destabilising force that displaced the Police with loss of morale and momentum.
Although attacks on security formations have been on record in the past, such were rare in comparison to the antecedents laid and introduced by the #ENDSARS protest. While the protest now marks a year, the reoccurring events of attacks against the Police and other security formations have remained in succession since the mayhem. The inability of the Police Force to repeal hoodlum attacks on their infrastructures and formations during the belligerent onslaught of the #ENDSARS protest had constituted an emboldener for blatant disregard for the Force and by reason, an instigator of effrontery against security operatives.
On Monday, a Police Inspector attached to the Kolo Police Division in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State was fatally injured following an attack by unknown gunmen on Police officers who were conducting stop and search operations along Kolo-Ogbia Road in Bayelsa State. Report revealed that the AK47 armed gunmen numbering about six with an unmarked vehicle, opened fire at the unsuspecting policemen on duty at about 10:45pm on Monday. They were reported to have carted away a rifle. Confirming the attack in a statement, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Bayelsa State Police Command, SP Asinim Butswat, said investigation was ongoing to apprehend the gunmen and recover the rifle. He was quoted: “Police officers who were conducting stop and search operations along Kolo-Ogbia Road, were attacked by gunmen suspected to be cultists, on 11 October 2021, at about 2245hours. A Police inspector was fatally injured and his rifle was carted away. Investigation is ongoing to apprehend the gunmen and recover the stolen rifle.” It was reported that the gunmen having displaced the Police formation returned on Tuesday to rob business ventures in the daylight.
Similarly, on Thursday 30th, last month, (September), unknown gunmen numbering over seven, were reported to have attacked the Ajali Police Station, in Orumba North Local Government Area, Anambra State, killing five Policemen, and setting the station ablaze. Report revealed the gunmen stormed the Police station in a Lexus car, shooting to displace Police formation – an unsavoury event that led into killings. It was reported they subsequently released all the people detained in the Police Station, offering them to leave the premises without delay or have their lives in danger.
Attacks on Police stations have become a phenomenon. This has remained on the line of threats, particularly with the resonance of the records of the accompanying occurrence of carting away weapons after displacing Police operatives from their base. Such weapons as observed would be instruments hoodlums would further use to arm themselves to unleash mayhem in the society.
Setting Police stations ablaze to further displace and frustrate reorganisation of security formation has become an issue of concern. It is known that larger number of the Police stations burnt across the Country since the last one year when the protests commenced have not been refurbished for operations. Thus, the buildings being deserted and security formations displaced, have contributed to the heightening of local insecurity profile as hoodlums now have their free way to perpetrate their despicable escapades by way of violence without restraints.
Local security in Nigeria has been coloured with dynamics which are unsavoury to peaceful cohabitation. By the heightening of situations, the clause of “safety and security” which constitute a central function of government has become more of an ideal than the reality in the Country. The displacement of police formations across the Country is increasing to give hooligans unfettered access to operate. Prevailing impacts of the menaces zooming out of the disturbances have been brewing storms hostile to economic activities. The resultant effects on socio-economic formations have shown no less than instabilities that are counterproductive to growth and development. The conditions of living have thus been coloured with unsavoury narratives. It has become necessary for the Government to intervene with alacrity to deploy redemptive measures to reorganise the Police structure from the prevailing narratives of displacement.