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#DapchiGirls: Military, Police sing discordant tunes over over withdrawal of checkpoints

#Army statement “untrue, unfounded and misleading” — Police #We handed over to the police, Army insists

The Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force expressed opposing views as each tried to absolve itself of any responsibility in the kidnap of the girls.

#Army statement “untrue, unfounded and misleading” — Police

The police quickly responded to the military’s disclosure on Monday night, contradicting the military’s statement and absolving themselves of any wrongdoing.

“The statement by the military of formal handing over of Dapchi town to the Nigeria Police Division in Dapchi is not correct,” Yobe police commissioner, Sunmonu Abdulmaliki, said in a statement to PREMIUM TIMES. “There was no time that the military informed the police of their withdrawal, consulted or handed over their locations in Dapchi town to the Police.”

Mr. Abdulmaliki said the police have always cooperated with other sister agencies, including the military because Yobe State is still under security alert as part of the ongoing war against Boko Haram.

“The whole of Yobe State is still under Security Emergency which the police, the military and other security agencies are battling to ensure lasting peace,” the commissioner said. “Members of the public in Yobe State are implored to disregard and discountenance this claim that the military formally handed the security of Dapchi town to the Nigeria Police as untrue, unfounded and misleading.”

#We handed over to the police, Army insists

When reached for reaction to the police denial, Mr. Nwachukwu emphasised that the military would not get involved in any blame game with the police, but stood his ground that the security in Dapchi was left for the police when soldiers were withdrawn.

“Our role is to defend the territorial integrity of the country. It’s the role of the sister security agencies to protect the civilian population whenever we have liberated a community from insurgents,” Mr. Nwachukwu said.

“If the commissioner says they were not told to take charge of the security, does that mean they abandoned all the checkpoints the soldiers had in place before they were moved to Kanama?

“What role did the police play when Boko Haram entered the community? How did the police respond to the terrorists?” he added.

The squabbles that the police have not been living up to their responsibilities whenever the military handed over control of liberated communities to them have been a regular feature in the war against Boko Haram, which has now entered its ninth year.

The military, which has led the war against Boko Haram since 2009, insists that it has no capacity to secure all parts of the country. Soldiers are said to be actively engaged in security operations in more than 30 of the 36 states, including combatting kidnapping and oil bunkering.

Mr. Nwachukwu said other security agencies should live up to their responsibility and relieve the military of its burden.

“We’ve been in Malamfatori, Lake Chad, Gashigar and Sambisa, but the police cannot enter all these places,” he said. “Again, we’re not interested in a blame game, but the police should know that they’re supposed to take charge of an area that has been liberated by the military.”

“Our roles should be complementary: After we’ve liberated a town, sister agencies should immediately take charge of security there.”

He said the police are in charge of security in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, where the insurgency started in July 2009.

“Although we have the 7 Division Headquarters in Maiduguri that could always intervene when necessary, the police are playing their daily roles in securing the town from minor threats,” Mr. Nwachukwu said.

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