Five policemen serving in Imo State police command, including the armourer of New Owerri police division, are now cooling their heels in detention following the discovery that one of the AK-47 rifles officially issued for guard duties was being used by dare devil kidnappers terrorizing the state.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Musa Katsina, who confirmed the development, said while four of the five policemen were explaining their complicity in the sordid act, the armourer is being tried for negligence of duty.
Katsina said: “It is true that I ordered the arrest, detention and interrogation of four serving policemen of this command for allegedly renting one of the rifles assigned to them to dare devil kidnappers”.
According to the CP, all the police officers, including the armourer arrested in connection with the sordid finding, are now facing orderly room trial.
He said: “I have constituted a panel to try them. They have been given the opportunity to explain and anybody found to be involved in the crime would be made to face the full weight of the law”.
Giving a blow-by-blow account of how the police recovered the weapon from fleeing kidnappers, the police boss said the command’s Ambush Squad, who gave the gang of kidnappers a hot chase, discovered that they abandoned the gun in their operational vehicle and ran away.
“When the vehicle was thoroughly searched, the AK-47 rifle belonging to the command was recovered. We traced the point of issue to New Owerri police division and that is how the armourer came into the picture”, the CP said.
Katsina said policemen are given weapons to protect the citizens and not to use it to terrorize the people they are supposed to protect.
“The four were officially assigned the weapons for guard duties. The other three policemen never reported to anybody that their colleague whose weapon was later recovered from kidnappers, was not reporting for duty”, the CP said.
It was learnt that the four policemen were posted to the residence of a retired Commissioner of Police resident in the state (identity withheld), while Katsina has since reported the incident to the Inspector General of Police.