All Alhaji Zakari Biu, the Commissioner of Police in charge Special Investigations at Zone 7 Police Headquarters, Abuja, did when he found his way back into the force from which he was frozen out for 10 years, as an Assistant Commissioner of Police, was for him to clear his name of many envisaged wrong doings and rumours of allegations of human rights abuses leveled against him during the military regime of General Sani Abacha.

A senior Police officer and colleague of his who made this disclosure to Saturday Vanguard noted that Biu was comfortable in the business he ventured into until colleagues of his and course mates started asking him if he committed any offence that is documented or if he had queries of misdemeanor in the force that would warrant his unceremonious exit from the force just like that, simply because former President Olusegun Obasanjo did not like his face.

He consequently took his plight to the Police Service Commission (PSC), who dutifully looked into his complaint, reviewed his years of service in the force and found that he was unlawfully sent away because there was no query or disciplinary offence committed by the officer.

But the recall of Alhaji Zakari Biu, a former squad leader of the dreaded Abacha Strike force into the Police force by the Police Service Commission after several years of being frozen out did not happen without controversy.

As the head of the anti-terrorism and explosives squad in the villa, during Abacha?s tenure, it was suggested that the several bombing attacks during the Abacha regime had imprints of the officer and as such his recall pitched the Police hierarchy then, with the PSC.

While the Police hierarchy believed the recall of Zakari Biu who was invited to the Oputa panel set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 to defend himself over allegations that he was in charge of the several high profile bombings that took place during the tenure of General Abacha, and which in one instance led to the killing of Bagauda Kalto, will question Police sincerity about its rule of law posture, the PSC based his recall on the fact that before 1999, Zakari Biu had no query in his file.

Obasanjo had ordered the removal of Zakari Biu from the Presidential villa in 1999 on the grounds that he could not work with an officer, in a democracy with so many allegations of human rights abuses hanging on his head and petitions against the officer flying from all directions.

In recommending his recall, the Police Service Commission directed that the Police authorities pay Zakari Biu, all his outstanding allowances and salaries dating back to 1999 when he was eased out of the force.

At the Police College Kano, where he was subsequently posted to, he had told his colleagues that he only wanted to clear his name for the sake of posterity because so many stories about him were false. So if he is able to make the position of a Deputy Commissioner of Police before retirement, it would be a bonus.

However, on becoming the Inspector General of Police, his bosom friend and course-mate, Hafiz Abubakar Ringim who was faced with the menace of Boko Haram and who knew that Zakari Biu was one of the earliest and few Police officers trained abroad in Counter Terrorism tactics and investigations, saddled him with the task of investigating issues associated with the sect?s atrocities before the advent of Kabiru Sokoto.

Today, the fate of CP Zakari Biu who is under suspension over the earlier escape of Boko Haram kingpin, Kabiru Sokoto before he (Sokoto) was re_arrested, is now hanging in the balance as the report of the Force Disciplinary Committee (FDC) and that of the investigating panel set up by the office of the NSA, are both before the Police Service Commission, the body charged with responsibility of discipline of Police officers.

A source which would not reveal the contents of the recommendations said my friend, ?There are only two things in this matter; it is either retirement or dismissal, which is all I can tell you and when the decision is reached, it will be made known to the media?.

The source added that if eventually Biu is dismissed, he would be prosecuted for his role in the escape though he disclosed that Biu pleaded innocence to all charges against him.

The deep rooted revelations of the Boko Haram cankerworm, following recent developments have brought to fore the disclosure early this year by President Goodluck Jonathan at a Church Service to mark the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, when he admitted that the dreaded Islamic terror group, Boko Haram had infiltrated almost all sectors of the Nigerian state including Aso Rock, the armed forces and the Nigeria Police force.

Prior to Jonathan?s revelation, Nigerians were witnesses when last June, 2011, the Police Force headquarters, Luis Edet house was bombed by Boko Haram shortly after the former IGP, Hafiz Ringim visited Borno state to take delivery of equipment donated to the force and declared that the days of the terror group were numbered.

After the incident, the manner of the bombing, taking place moments after the IG left his car park for his office, the fact that the bombers had the exact schedule of the IG?s movement, followed him and beat the security at the gate of force headquarters, suggested there were Police sympathizers of the group who fed them itinery of his movement.

Since then, the activities of Boko Haram have skyrocketed and put the nation on its toes culminating in the bombings of the UN house and the recent attacks in Potiskum and Damaturu during which about 67 persons lost their lives, Xmas day bombing, attempted bombing attack at headquarters 1 mech. Div Kaduna and NAF base Kaduna.

Therefore, to say the initial arrest of Kabiru Sokoto came to the Police high command and government as a huge sigh of relief is like understating the obvious. To also say that it was a like sucker punch to learn that the same Mallam Kabiru Sokoto, the alleged mastermind of the deadly Christmas Day bombing of St. Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State which claimed 47 lives escaped in dramatic circumstances from the hands of CP Zakari Biu putting it appropriately.

The fact that such a high profile suspect could slip out of police custody in questionable circumstances less than 48 hours after he was arrested shook the nation to its foundation.

Following deployment of modern tracking device recently installed by the Chinese at Force headquarters, Sokoto had been traced to the Borno Governor?s lodge after he made several contacts with his members on new plans to carry out bombings in the FCT and arrested.

He was then handed over to CP Zakari Biu at Zone 7 headquarters, as the officer entrusted with Boko Haram investigations, where he was interrogated and useful information that could lead to the arrest of other masterminds obtained.

The police took Sokoto?s arrest as a significant breakthrough since other Boko Haram investigations had always met a brick wall; a laptop and other sensitive documents were retrieved from Sokoto which implicated other masterminds of the Christmas Day bombing.

The police also planned to collaborate with international agencies to ascertain whether Sokoto?s planned trip to London has to do with any affiliation to international terrorist organizations. But this breakthrough was short_lived when Sokoto escaped in commando style.

With the re-arrest of Kabiru Sokoto and arrest in Kaduna of another kingpin, Abu Qaqa, new revelations on the modus operandi of the sect, how they get their funding through robbing of banks and arms and ammunition through attacking of Police stations have come out while the group of specialists who assist the group in the manufacture on IED?s improvised explosive devices they detonate are said to be ex-military and ex-police personnel.

Recall that after the UN bomb blast last year, a furious President Goodluck Jonathan had summoned the leadership of the force comprising the Inspector General of Police, DIG?s, AIG?s and all Commissioners of Police to the Presidential Villa where he gave a marching order to the Police to put a stop to the security challenges posed by the Boko Haram terrorist group and other high risk security crisis facing the country like kidnapping and bank robbery.

The President expressed dissatisfaction with the manner some State?s Commissioners Police were approaching the issue of Boko Haram and terrorism noting that is why they can still find their way into National Assets like Police stations or Police Bases and detonate explosions.

At the meeting that lasted three hours, he told the senior officers to their faces, that he was unhappy anytime there were reports of bomb explosions and people were killed, saying it created negative impacts on the minds of potential foreign investors and the international community.

In one instance, the President frowned at the senior officers, telling them he was aware Nigeria has some of the best trained and experienced officers in all fields of security endeavor including counter terrorism measures, as had been testified to by international bodies like INTERPOL, etc hence he was baffled why this expertise was not being put to practice.

The excuse the Police gave then was that it was reaping the consequences of underfunding and had not been able to access the funds budgeted for its services for year 2011, hence some of the shortcomings it was experiencing in the performance of its duties.

Having done a lot to redress the situation of the Police force under the leadership of the former IG, it was not a surprise to security watchers therefore, that the President wielded the big stick by subsequently asking him to proceed on retirement, when once again a Boko Haram kingpin (Kabiru Sokoto) vanished into thin air from the grip of trained Policemen under the command of an officer he (Ringim) personally chose to carry out the investigation.

The fact of the matter now however, is that with the recent bombing unleashed by the sect in Kano state and other attacks across the north, the elite and the Muslim ?Ummah? from the north are begging to see reasons with the security agencies who all along have sought cooperation and support from well meaning Nigerians that the menace be tackled for what it is and not covered with religious or ethnic feathers to the detriment of the nation?s well being.


By: Kingsley Omonobi, Abuja 


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