What I Will Do If I Were The President Of Nigeria – Abuja Police DPO Opens Up

This interview with Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Abubakar Abdulkarim, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Kubwa Police Division, continues a Police series featuring interviews with officers who have demonstrated uncommon patriotism and professionalism in the discharge of their duties.

It is a way of celebrating officers, making sacrifices for the welfare and protection of the people, such as CSP Abdulkarim having confronted deadly armed robbers and triumphed. He joined the Force on August 15, 2002, and has served in different capacities in the country and abroad.

In this interview, he talks about police work and what he would do if he were the president of Nigeria. Excerpts:

Do You Feel Fulfilled As A Police Officer?

Passion made me join this work. I always look at the police as a humanitarian service, and if I tell you I am not fulfilled, I will be lying because of my innate desire to put smiles on people’s faces. So, fulfilment? Yes, I am by God’s Grace because I am doing what I love.

How Did You Join The Police?

There was an announcement for recruitment in all regions, but initially, I was with the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) as an ad hoc staff before I was absorbed as permanent staff. I used to follow them to do some by-elections and write reports to the commissioner in charge. So, when the results were out, I was lucky to be one of the candidates.

What Are The Professional Hazards In Your Line Of Duty?

In the last 20 years, I have been in operation, and I have spent a reasonable number of years in the South-West and South-South. I was in the PMF (Police Mobile Force) for a long time, so it was a decision to come back to conventional policing and have this experience because this is where you learn the technicalities and the advancement of the job entirely due to the various departments you are handling.

In terms of hazards, the moment you give your oath of allegiance from the academy, you have practically mortgaged your life to serve the country. I was in the Presidential Taskforce in Badagry, where the headquarters was in Ilorin, and I had an opportunity to be at the sub-border point. Like, I was in Babanar, bordering Nigeria and Cameron.

At the border then, there was so much lack of government presence, and this led to its closure by the president. The border was porous and a lot of things came in unchecked which were more or less an economic sabotage to the country. So, I was directly reporting to the office of the national security adviser and we were having a lot of good feats.

You will see like in Babarna for example, there are some locations you cannot access, except with a camel. When there is no water you have to go to dried rivers and wells. The hazards are many, weather exposure for example. In Barnaba, it will take about 55km to get to the nearest clinic and that is during the dry season.

What Are Some Of The Experiences That Endangered You?

Like in the South-South, in 2012, in Niger Delta, I was there for internal security to ensure peaceful transmission between Timi Pre Sylva and Dickson. They had renewed militancy in that state, and all the major militants have affiliations to different political actors, and you are expected to be neutral and you can be behind. It was a simple thing- crime mapping the environment- and we had opposition because someone will naturally view you as one coming to oppress them.

I remember there was a checkpoint we had, that was towards the evening time along Isaac Boro in Bayelsa, and I will say some hoodlums moved in with arms and luckily, we were actually on a stop and search on different locations and there was a gunshot trying to scare us off. We stood our ground and fired back. That was life-threatening anyway, but we were able to recover their arms, and they abandoned their vehicle; we took them to the command then.

How Did You Feel Coming That Close To Danger?

The fact that I am alive felt very good. The fact that I recovered my arms was an achievement for me.

Initially, when I started in 2005, I was a 2ic Coordinator and we had this operation- fire -for fire, and I was on duty that day, which was my second encounter with armed robbers around the Mushin area. It was at night and we gunned down some of the robbers. After the operation, my commander made me a coordinator and that was how I took over from the person there.

So, it was a sweet experience anyway but in 2004, when I was doing my attachment, there was a day I was on duty along the Fatai Atari in Ladipo, there was a bank there and that was the time robbers started operating with cylinders. I remember that time, we went and engaged them with the help of other divisions. We were able to save N30m then in the vault after heavy gunfire. They escaped, but the money was secured.

What Are The Things That Motivate You?

Naturally, at the point of confusion that is when I get my stability. I am not afraid of death like that. I love controlling men and chaos, and to be frank, when there is a crisis, I don’t think twice. It is a daily thing, especially in Lagos with these Idumota boys, a lot of times, a lot of them are armed, so usually, in operation, the only way you can calm them down is to apply one of the rules of engagement. Target down, and show them you mean business.

What Are The Identified Dangers and Criminalities In The Kubwa Division, And How Have you Tackled Them?

I am grateful to the Commissioner of Police for the privilege to be DPO Kubwa, this is my first time being a DPO to gain the experience before I will assume the rank of the Assistant Commissioner of Police, so I don’t become stupid trying to mismanage others later in life.

We have a lot of land racketeers here and believe me the pattern which we are using, charging them to court, arresting a large number of them, they don’t even want to come here, they are becoming scared.

Land cases are always civil cases, this is what I tell people we don’t have any interest in it. Immediately parties are called for an interview, everyone presents their papers. We are not the sitting authority to interpret whether the paper is correct or not so we send them to Abuja Geographical Information Systems (AGIS), the legal section of the FCTA to interpret and report back to us.

Most of these land cases come in form of Direct Criminal Complains (DCC) from the court to the DPOs to investigate and bring reports to them within a specific time frame. Sometimes, once that is done, they give advice. If it is a false document, they advise prosecution.

Then there is the issue of phone theft, Kubwa is a satellite town, so densely populated with an estimated population of over a million.

How Has Policing Kubwa Been?

We have a good relationship with other Divisional Heads and with the little manpower we have on the ground, you know we manage effectively because Policing is We-One. Now with this population size and after crime mapping of the area, you will identify that the environment consists of the good, bad and ugly, and it has so many social outlets of brothels, clubs, Yahoo boys and drug hubs. So, it is not an easy thing.

We are not policing to find faults we are policing in a manner to keep society in order, especially in our major jurisdiction safe. But in general, it is to manage the people and to see that the crime level is at its minimum.

Compare To When You First Came And Now, Has There Been A Huge Difference?

There has been a decline. Let me tell you what I did. I have not started sitting in this office until I was able to establish my footing in this Kubwa.

Remember the lady that was butchered and dropped at PW? Is it not part of community policing? We have meetings with the Keke Napep Boys, motorcyclists, religious leaders, bankers etcetera, and we put our numbers on their platforms, believe me, anytime they have problems we come in.

We don’t want any crisis and because we have a good relationship and that interaction, we were able to get the information. Otherwise, if we were tough, they wouldn’t have given us the information. Shortly after the discovery of the late body, we were able to make an arrest courtesy of the good relationship we have with them and that was an isolation case anyway.

Honestly, this is always something that we need to do. If you die on the job, no problem because either way, you must die. But you need to do what you are supposed to do. So, interaction has been helpful, we have our emergency numbers.

What Are The Cases That Have Tested Your Patriotism?

There are some crimes some people commit here and a large number of times, we will arrest people and also feed them. Sometimes there are some crimes that you will just have to warn the person and just ask them to go and tell them not to commit the crime again. It is a carrot and stick method.

And I try to teach my men, that you must be civil. We do not have a closing time. Crime will not tell you when it will come. We have resident officers who will be here for 24 hours. But for me, sometimes I can decide to go home and rest and come back around 2 or 3 am, to see that people are not sleeping on duty. If you don’t do that to show the substance you are made of, they will abuse it.

Are There Officers That You Think Should Be Given Special Recognition?

Honestly, speaking there is one Benue boy they call Albert Andrew, and another Benue boy they call Alkalamuga Philp. They are exceptionally good, especially Albert.

You see another problem we have here is this Sanitation team, these Hausa boys that will come from Dei Dei, Zuba, they can come and attack a particular house. Break the door with their knives and collect everything, phones, electronics and move smoothly. That operation they do it a lot here.

So, anytime you send this Albert, by God’s grace there is always a result. From February till the date that I came, this kind of attack, I know he arrested like twice or thrice. He is highly committed, he doesn’t sleep. That one that can drive a car inside the carnal, is exceptionally good. He doesn’t complain, he isn’t lazy. He is just like me.

I like this job and you know as police we are like angels to God. We enforce God’s directives. So, it is Godly work. I always try to preach to men, to do something that will make God happy, do not look at it like it is a money thing. If people have problems, be a shoulder to lean on.

If You Were The President, What Would You Do To The Police?

I had a professor who told me, that even from my little experience of travelling, both abroad and within, he said any country you go to, the way their police behave is also an extension of how Good the democracy of the country is. The second part is their traffic. He said the way they drive and their roads, show the nature of their policing and their orientation.

So, if I were the president, I will exhaust time, money, logistics, training and retraining to make them a complete package. Employment in the police should not be viewed as a community effort; extensive background checks should be done on individuals coming into the police because, by extension, the police are image makers too.

The point of entry is very important because it is demoralising to those of us who love this job with passion, to come and meet officers that don’t have commitment. Just blocking space for those that are ready to do the job.

So, checkmating the point of entry is very important. Other countries do that, if you have any previous conviction, there is no way you will join their force. There is no chance to forgive you, you can do other jobs but not enforcement.

We are working and the current IGP is trying including the Commissioner of Police, Babaji Sunday. I need to commend him very well because people do not realise we are totally under pressure in our time and our health. All we are doing is because we gave an oath of allegiance to serve this country and we are doing it without any regret or apology to anybody.

It is a thankless job in the face of the average number of Nigerians that turn out to be very judgemental about anything, especially with the emergence of social media.

You might also like
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.