The Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade, has issued a query to the police chief Hafiz Ringim, asking him to explain within 24 hours the circumstances surrounding the escape of a suspected mastermind of the Christmas Day bombing in Madalla, Niger State.
The query also asked Ringim to show why he should not be punished for negligence since the ultimate responsibility to keep the escapee was his.
The Presidency is believed to be considering his removal over the escape of a suspected mastermind of the Christmas Day bombing in Madalla, Niger State.
The suspected Boko Haram member, Kabiru Sokoto, was arrested last Saturday at the Borno Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja in company of an Air Force officer.
The suspect, who was in handcuffs, escaped on Monday from a team of policemen who took him to his home in Abaji, near Abuja, for a search.
Report says the policemen decided to take the suspect to the traditional ruler of the town (the Ona of Abaji) in a Toyota Hilux Van after the search.
A group of irate youths allegedly waylaid the police team. In the ensuing pandemonium, the suspect escaped.
Ringim ordered the suspension of a Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Zakari Biu, who faced a disciplinary panel yesterday.
Speaking with reporters at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, Police Affairs Minister Navy Capt Caleb Olubolade (rtd), who issued Ringim a query, described the incident as “unfortunate”. He promised that adequate measures would be put in place to ensure that such an incident does not happen again.
He said: “From the ministry, I have directed the IG to carry out full investigation and even at higher level, above that one, there will be another investigation to ascertain what led to the suspect’s escape. I have also directed that the officers involved and the personnel involved should be detained immediately.”
“The commissioner of police has been suspended. In fact, beyond that, I have advised that they should be placed under ‘close’ arrest.”
“He is the field officer; he has the responsibility to ensure all operations regarding arrest and all that are conducted in the usual manner. If he is found to have had complicity in that, he himself will have to account for his mistake.”
Asked if Sokoto’s escape was not a confirmation of the President’s claim that Boko Haram has infiltrated the government, the minister said: “I cannot confirm that statement. What is important is all steps must be taken to re arrest the suspect.”
Meanwhile, there have been several reactions on the escape of the suspect on Wednesday with the Northern socio-political group, Arewa Consultative Forum, saying that the police should find the escapee immediately.
The President of the Civil Rights Congress, Mallam Sheu Sani, also said, “The Federal Government and security agents should explain how such a drama took place. They should stop playing on our intelligence and insulting our conscience.”
At a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, the Action Congress of Nigeria described the suspect’s escape as “a deal packaged at the high level by individuals who hate the country.”
A national leader of the party, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who spoke at the press conference, wondered how a government that deployed troops to occupy Lagos, could not safeguard a single suspect.
Rights activist Femi Falana have also said Ringim should be punished for Sokoto’s escape.