The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, said some of the rescued Chibok girls, particularly those who had been put in the family way, might be suffering the Stockholm syndrome, as they always made moves to return to their abductors under different guises.
Baba, who spoke at a media briefing at the State House, Abuja, also justified the engagement of criminals in negotiations by security agencies to secure release of kidnap victims
The IGP confirmed the arrest of some suspects in connection wit the recent terror alert in Abuja, and disclosed that plans were underway to prosecute them after necessary investigations.
Baba spoke on the recent attack on members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Maiduguri. He said the police spokesperson in the state, ASP Kamilu Shatambaya, was hasty in dismissing the attack on members of the opposition party as false.
He advised politicians to play by the rules ahead of the general election in 2023 and avoid violent clashes during the exercise.
The police boss explained why he was against the withdrawal of police protection from prominent persons in the country, saying despite the attendant misgivings, many of them would be exposed to dangers.
Baba said some of the Chibok girls, who had been put in the family way and were rescued while wandering in the bush, had actually been making moves to return to their captors.
He stated, “The issue of Chibok girls, you know they are coming out one after another and gradually. Sometimes they come out and say, yes, we have come to see our parents and we want to go back.
“So, maybe they have been assimilated or acclimatised with the situation and being indoctrinated and had become part and parcel of those, who have abducted them. But as I have said, it is a continuous effort and even last month, you saw a Chibok girl coming out with two or three kids and said she only came to greet her parents and she wants to go back. So, we are still on it, there is hope,” he assured.
Justifying negotiations by security operatives to secure release of kidnap victims, Baba said it would be an exercise in futility if terrorists, who were armed, abducted persons and the police went in search of them under captivity, using extreme force.
Over 80 Chibok girls are still in Boko Haram captivity, including 29 students of Federal Government College Birni Yauri, Kebbi State.
The IGP stated, “You see, the issue of kidnapping is an issue that bothers almost all the security agents, including the military; it is a crime that once it is committed, you have to tread very softly and with all sense of professionalism.
“If you do not rescue the person, safely, unhurt, you have not achieved anything and once somebody is in the captivity of an armed person, then, you need to do a lot of things; it is not all about guns and other things.
“There are a lot of other things that can be done. We were able to rescue the whole of forestry students in Kaduna through negotiation; we were able to rescue many others, which I can give you example. For those that we are in contact with, there are things that we are doing. It is a new crime and requires new ways of approaching it and new ways of dousing it.
“Clearly, it is under study. For instance, the issue of train negotiators and so forth, were not an issue before, but now we are looking into it and we are putting our personnel to undergo such training and courses. So, we will not say hope is lost. We are still on it.”
Highlighting developments and achievements of the Nigeria Police, the police boss confirmed arrest of suspected terrorists and plans to prosecute them. He was reacting to a question on the recent security advisories issued by the United States (US), which generated panic in the federal capital a couple of weeks ago.
Baba said, “Yes, actually, arrests have been made for those we believe are planning to commit crime in whatever form and we have done that arrest and as at when due, those arrested will be charged to court by any of the services, which have them.”
While denying insinuations that the government tried to dismiss the advisory, he noted that it drew criticisms from security stakeholders, because it caused apprehension on the citizens.
He said, “Nobody has dismissed as just an alarm. Government has never dismissed it as alarm but we only said it was blown or made in such a way that our people became apprehensive to the situation or to the way it was done.
“The embassies have their own responsibilities to their citizens and they can make their advice and the government has not dismissed what has happened because they have also informed us of what they foresaw as threats.
“And we, on our part, have also looked at what they put as threat as something that has been with us and efforts are being made daily to see that those threats are mitigated or prevented from happening and that is what has been happening in Abuja and all over the country.
“Sometimes, these threats or things happen but nobody has dismissed it as mere alarm and a lot of efforts have been made, like you said, to douse tension.”
He advised political parties, politicians and their supporters to stay within the space granted by the law while carrying out their campaigns, and urged them to avoid activities and actions that could lead to breakdown of law and order.
On the Wednesday attack in Maiduguri, Baba said the state police spokesperson might have reached a conclusion too quickly in his assessment. He felt the assessment by the state PRO was too hasty and not conclusive, hence, the decision to establish a team to make holistic assessment from the various narratives to ascertain the true picture and prevent a reoccurrence.
The IGP said, “On how realistic it is in stopping the issue of violence in our political agenda either in rallies or campaigns, well, it takes two to tango. There are laid down means, ways, procedures to do rallies and campaigns.
“On our part, we have gone out to appeal to politicians to play the game by the rules. And at the same time, allow us to regulate political processions, campaigns and rallies, to avoid clashes and so forth.”
The IGP said the alleged abuse of power by a local security outfit, Ebubeagu, in Ebonyi State and similar activities were being checked.
He said, “I think I have even made announcements earlier than even their letter. On the day of the signing of the peace accord, I observed that we have not less than 64 security outfits that have been created by different state governors with names for different purposes.
“But most importantly, the crime prevention and space is so wide, that we are encouraging everybody to come in. And that is why we said policing is something that requires the contribution of everybody.
“So, while these outfits have been created to checkmate crime and criminality, we have also told them that they are not to be used for politicking or to be used for political reasons.”
He confirmed that some aspects of police duties had been commercialised to generate more revenue through the Police Specialised Automated Services (POSSAB) portal but added that the service had been abused.
Baba, however, dismissed the suggestion that unscrupulous persons could use the portal to gain protection from the police.
He said he was against the withdrawal of security personnel attached to VIPs, saying some of them may be exposed to dangers.
According to him, “On the issue of security personnel being attached to VIPs to be withdrawn, for every rule there are exemptions, these people need to be protected, but we try to do it with all sense of humility. VIPs need to be protected, because some people, if left unattended to, can be easy target and we will make too much noise.
“So, we’re not withdrawing personnel, or I am not of the view of completely withdrawing security aides from VIPs. But that we will manage what we have and also checkmate crime and criminality without actually leaving them bare.”