The Nigerian military confirmed on Wednesday that at least 150 policemen sent to fight Boko Haram in the country’s northeast have absconded.
The military said the 150 policemen were among 2000 cops deployed to fight Boko Haram insurgents in the North East.
Brigadier-General A. S. Ishaq, the Coordinator Nigeria Police Force for Operation Lafiya-Dole, said “some recalcitrant personnel” left their duty post without permission.
Speaking to newswire, PRNigeria, he said the special training, which should have been concluded last Friday, was extended for one week for policemen to take part in all the requisite military combat exercises before they depart the camp.
However, some policemen wanted to go for Christmas, and after their request was denied, they picked up their bags and left the camp.
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Brigadier-General Ishaq claimed leaving a military camp without permission did not amount to absconding.
To abscond, the dictionary explains, means to leave hurriedly and secretly, typically to avoid detection of or arrest for an unlawful action such as theft, and several other reasons.
“The Policemen didn’t abscond as alleged in media reports. What happened was that some of the Police officers insisted on going for the Christmas holiday. But in line with standard military operations, there was no way officers undergoing special training on a combat-operation, could leave their base when the training exercise has not rounded up.
“So, we refused to grant them permission. However, the unruly ones among them left our Special Forces School at Buni-Yudi, venue of the training. But thank God, the unruly personnel were tracked at Damaturu, the state’s capital. Right now, some of them have been brought back to the School,” he said.
General Ishaq disclosed that the counter-insurgency training’s Passing-Out-Parade for the personnel will take place this Friday.
Some news media reported that the Police Force Headquarters had ordered the arrest and prosecution of some riot policemen who had absconded from training at the Special Forces School, Buni-Yadi, Yobe State.
The media cited a Police wireless message with reference DTO:241610/12/2018 and signed by the Commissioner of Police in charge of MOPOL, directing that the errant operatives should be arrested and produced under escort.
Reacting to the media report, the Police Force Public Relations Officer (PRO), Acting DCP Jimoh Moshood, said that all the 2000 Policemen deployed by the Force to the North East have reported and are on the ground on combat operation prosecuting the war against insurgency along with the Military.
In a press release he signed, the police spokesperson added that the deployed Police personnel are in high moral and spirit for the operation.
The Force spokesperson’s statement added that: “This story (of absconding) was investigated and it was found out not to be correct, there is no reason whatsoever that Police personnel deployed for the operations in the North East would abscond.
“The Police Mobile Force (PMF) personnel have been engaged actively in the front line along with the Military in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group since the inception of the insurgency.
“These 2000 Police Officers recently deployed are in addition to several thousands of Police Personnel already engaged in the fight against the insurgency with the Military in the North East.
“The 2000 police personnel deployed are in high morale and high spirit in the operation, the Force sees the story as a deliberate attempt to promote insurgency and dapple the morale of Officers and Men of the Police and other services who on daily basis lay down their lives to protect our dear Nation, Nigeria and ensure security of all citizenry.
DCP Moshood urged members of the public to disregard the story in its entirety, saying it is pure misinformation and hearsay.