The claims of Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, that two units of mobile policemen numbering about 126 have been drafted to Abraka at the expense of the state government to provide security and escort farmers to their farm lands as a way of curbing incessant Fulani herdsmen attacks in the area have been found to be untrue.
A SaharaReporters investigation revealed that the mobile policemen on the ground are not more than 48, and there is no presence of specially trained anti-terrorism policemen at all, again contrary to a claim by Mr. Okowa.
On May 30, during his quarterly press briefing in Asaba, the governor said, “A detachment of two units of mobile policemen which is about 126 policemen are being resident at Abraka.” He added, “In addition to the 126 mobile policemen, some specially trained anti-terrorism policemen are also stationed at the university community though at a high cost to the state government. The operatives are providing security there and currently escorting farmers to their farm lands.”
The policemen were being drafted to the area to tackle the menace of the Fulani herdsmen who have continuously unleashed mayhem on locals farming in the Ovre-Abraka, Ovre-Igun and Ovre-Eku areas of Ethiope East Local Government Area.
A discreet visit by a SaharaReporters correspondent to the Abraka police station revealed that contrary to Mr. Okowa’s claims, only 48 mobile policemen are stationed at Abraka to combat the herdsmen who have killed and maimed locals and ambushed a police team, leading to the death of several policemen.
The 48 mobile policemen, who were drafted from the MOPOL Base 51 in Oghara, Delta State, were found living in squalor at the Abraka Police Station Multi-Purpose Hall, lying on the bare floor on ordinary sleeping mats. They disallowed our correspondent from taking any pictures of the sad scene.
One of the policemen who spoke with SaharaReporters on condition of anonymity lamented their current situation at Abraka, and refuted the governor’s claim of 126 mobile policemen, confirming that they are only 48 mobile policemen drafted to Abraka.
“Who told you that we are 126, that person must be lying. You know these government officials must find a way to divert money into their private pockets. We are just 48 from the MOPOL Base 51, Oghara and our duty is to tackle the criminal activities of the Fulani herdsmen in Abraka and its environs. But I must confess to you that we were drafted here to suffer. As you can see, we are living in a pitiable condition here, we stay here in the Abraka Police Station Multi-Purpose Hall with our mats, without any form of comfort,” he said.
Our correspondent also observed that some of the policemen who could not stand the heat emanating from the Multi-Purpose Hall were sleeping on their sleeping mats outside the SCIB office.
On the claims by the governor that the operatives are providing security and escorting farmers to their farm lands, one of the mobile policemen said there was nothing no such thing.
“We are not here to escort farmers to their farms. We are only complementing the efforts of the policemen on the ground here in stemming the criminal activities of armed Fulani herdsmen in the area. What we do is that, of the 48 of us present here, 38 normally patrol the area where the criminal activities [are] said to occur while the remaining 10 stay back in the station and this is done routinely.”
As of the time of filing this report, all calls to the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Andrew Aniamaka for comment were rebuffed.