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Edo CP to kidnappers, gangsters: I値l show them what Okiro taught me

Posted by By Ben Okezie on 2008/08/17 | Views: 92 |

Edo CP to kidnappers, gangsters: I値l show them what Okiro taught me


Commissioner of Police Chris Deger is one officer that wears both simplicity and agility as the second skin. Notwithstanding, he could sting like a bee if you step on his toes.

Commissioner of Police Chris Deger is one officer that wears both simplicity and agility as the second skin. Notwithstanding, he could sting like a bee if you step on his toes.

He is a remnant of the fabled chip off the old police block that is not only purposeful but also disciplined and forthright. Once described as a policeman痴 police and a no-nonsense officer, Deger believes in complete service. He, however, sees the new bunch of policemen as the complete opposite of what the force used to be.

Now policing Edo State as that command痴 Commissioner, Deger spoke with BEN OKEZIE on security issues, particularly the spate of kidnappings, which has suddenly become a lucrative business for the perpetrators.

How did you come into the police?
I found myself so active, almost more active than could be properly integrated in civil line and therefore I thought some other place that is more active and more challenging could be a more suited place for me.

You mean nobody was a role model or an inspiration to you?
No role model per se, but I know that my father was an ex-service man and my uncle, the one that is next to my father, was an ex-police officer and I saw the life around them active. Maybe that was where I derived my own active life from and I therefore thought I could just follow the same line (the active line). That is how I found myself in the Nigeria Police Force.

Will you want any of your children to enlist into the police force?
Nowadays you don稚 determine where people will go to; the direction people will go to. You just look at every individual and evaluate their potential and then look at their disposition, and then you guide them towards the area. You think they would do well, not necessarily sticking to a particular field because it was once your own field. I don稚 think I want to insist on pushing my children to go into the police. It痴 a free world, so they can think widely and broadly and apply themselves to any field of their choice, and actually the field they are good at or have passion for, that is what I think should be the case.

Have your ever had cause to regret joining the police?
Not at all! It has always been new development, new experience: pleasant, unpleasant, challenging, and also unchallenging. On the whole, it痴 a very exciting experience. I don稚 think I have in mind any other field that can be more exciting than policing. It痴 all embracing. One thing I hold very seriously is the saying that: 選f you have everything but you don稚 have security know that you have nothing at the end of it. Those of us in the area of security, I take myself (laughs) as having everything at least by the standard and the application of that phrase, so no regrets whatsoever

Can you attempt a comparison of nowadays police force and when you joined?
Ah! There has to be a comparison. I want to say that the police as at the time I joined in 1981 were more articulate and more serious particularly among the senior ranks. What I mean is that the junior ranks rather than junior ranks of nowadays don稚 seem to have come into the police with seriousness or purpose. I think I saw more seriousness of purpose in the police of the days I joined than most of the people joining the police of nowadays. I think that it is the reason we seem to have so much to do nowadays by the level of management whereby you have to always prevail/compel/constrain people to do their jobs, even showing traits of the fact that they are not too prepared in themselves thereby making the work more difficult and harder for the management of today痴 police.

In the past, people were more serious and more duty-conscious, especially at the senior level and even the junior level than it is today at the junior level. Nowadays you find people coming into the force, sometimes with different motives other than pursuing a successful career as it were, and as it is expected career-wise.

You mentioned some flaws; can you list the few that you致e noticed among the present day junior cops?
What I figured out is that, because of certain policies, specifically where recruitment had been put on hold sometime in the past thereby leading to inadequate manpower, gross inadequate manpower at that. Sometimes in an attempt to remedy the situation, at a time so much recruitment was done almost at the same time and it looked like the process wasn稚 too properly embarked upon. In that instance, the force ended up with some reasonable number of policemen and the junior level of that recruitment that seemed not to be too properly grounded as per the training.

They had to include the general outlook to what is expected of them, and that is why nowadays, the present day Inspector General has decided to come up with a refocus as to the training and needs of the police with the aim of not only brushing up the ones that are in there, that are not too sound, as well as preparing ground for those who will come in henceforth to be the exact material that is expected. That will make the police proud and give fewer problems than what we had been seeing. That is one aspect of the flaws that I pointed out earlier.

In your days at the Ahmadu Bello University, what type of student were you?
During our days, our parents sent us to school to go and study not only to have the knowledge and also be able to come out and work as good citizens but also protect the family痴 image and name. You know that this family has produced a graduate. When we were on campus, we aimed at studying hard to make our grades and eventually pass well and maintain some dignity around us. Making sure that the family name doesn稚 get dented or tainted, unlike nowadays where you don稚 know what really has become of the system and students don稚 seem to be serious with their studies anymore. They don稚 seem to want to protect any name and so they engage in all sorts of things from social deviance to outright criminality and all these.

During our days, we aimed at study; we aimed at maintaining some decency around us and aimed at being what you called 斗eaders of tomorrow. You don稚 expect the kind of things that students do on campus to lead them to anywhere. Well, to every rule there is an exception, you still have one or two (students) who are conducting themselves very well but generally, students of those years were significantly different from those of nowadays in the areas of decoying, in the areas of level-headedness and academics; in the areas of serious pursuit and attention to study, which is what brought us to the university in the first instance. These students just want to be part of the university system, they aren稚 prepared.

Who were your contemporaries?
My contemporaries? I wouldn稚 want to mention them here, but I left the university in 1979 and then you can figure out those that were my contemporaries in the same university and elsewhere
These days, everybody seems to give the impression that they understand security issues even more than the police. You find instances when politicians interfere, even civilians interfere in promotions, interfere in transfers, do you think that all this is right?

You see, these things are not correct but well, to some extent. It tells me that the society is developing positively and negatively. The interference, I think, is just about people wanting to have their way, they must not have their way, that is why there are laid down regulations and guidelines, so when they interfere they do because they wish for certain things and it isn稚 compulsory that their request or wishes would be met.

On the issue of interference of non-security personnel in security matters, in my opinion, you have to be trained in the field of security to be able to know the nature of security. Security covers very wide areas. You have social security, security of lives and properties, which has so many dimensions also; providing certain basic things which make people feel contented and happy and be law abiding.

You worked at Alagbon before you were moved to the position of Commissioner in charge of Mobile Police, how did you switch?
There was no 壮uddenly in this. If I have come a long way in the police, having been in the job for upward of 20 years getting to 26, 27 and then one has by providence, privilege to work in all areas of the force and then the PMF just happened to be a good ambassador of such areas otherwise one had to be the low level, the admin officer, some operation officer, some DPO, some detectives, investigators, at one point some staff visa in the headquarters, practical policemen in the force one even got to the PMF, one has seen it almost all. The PMF is just one of them and of course if one has seen it all and have been on ground for years. Thank God the PMF is such an area where you are expected to be physically strong and by the grace of God, one finds oneself being in the position to carry out such functions. I thought someone said also I did my best and gave an unfailing account of myself while in the PMF and then one finds oneself in the command as the overall that. One is trying one痴 best and again I fear one is not doing too badly.

Of all the Commissioners that leaded the PMF, you池e still being ranked as one of the best. What is the magic?
If I must point out what has been responsible, it means that there is no single factor that is responsible for this. One understands what the force wants what the force standard capacity to do in my several years in the force even before I became CP, by the time I now got into that place I simply put in practice what I know is expected of the officers on duty.

Now you are the commissioner in charge of Edo State, which used to be haven for armed robbers, when the likes of Anini held sway. What are the challenges?
Let me say that this is not the first time one is exposed to serious crime situation and therefore one is not new to these things. You already know that I served in Lagos for a couple of years and I am proud to say that I am one of the officers groomed by the present IG, Sir Mike Mbama Okiro when I served under him in the Lagos state command as well as at the Lagos state police headquarters. So one has been privileged to work under civilized officers. And having worked in Lagos successfully for a number of years, it naturally prepared me for the present Edo challenge.

Kidnapping has been on the increase, what is the situation in Edo State?
Like I said, some violent crimes exist here. Kidnapping has not been very prominent but I know that since my assumption or resumption in Edo state, a few cases here and there have been reported and have been taken care of.

What痴 your candid advice to youths who are members of cult and militant groups?
My advice is that, being involved in all these things, by whatever name they are called, is criminal. And don稚 forget that crime is crime. Therefore they stand to face the wrath of the law. I would advice that people should get things right: crime is bad; crime is disastrous for the individual and the society. Crime is grievous and it could lead to so many things. Therefore, I advice those in crime to come off it while those that are out of it should remain out of it and never contemplate to do it again. Those who call themselves cultists, area people, youths in groups or whatever, that engage in anything crime in Edo state should better have a rethink because my concentration as CP of Edo state is to fight crime, especially the more violent ones, the type perpetrated by those who call themselves cultists, those who call themselves robbers, violent criminals. I have chosen to concentrate on them because it seems to me that because of the effect on the society where people are maimed, they lose their properties and also end up with traumatic experience with psychological feelings that take time to erode.

Any advice to the people in respect of kidnappings?
Well, everybody should be on the watch-out because kidnappers are not spirits and they don稚 drop from heaven. And even if they do, they drop down to meet us on earth here where we all are, so we should look out for them and try to fish them out in their criminal hide-outs. They live with us, therefore we should be able to see, observe and know what they are doing and should be able to provide information to the police so that we can together fight this crime.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.