Photo: Nigerian Police Force
The Nigerian Police Force have dismissed one hundred and twenty one of the almost two hundred police officers who absconded from a counter terrorism training facility to avoid deployment against Boko Haram insurgents last week.
The nearly two hundred officers of the police rank-and-file were accused of committing mutiny and desertion, prompting Inspector-General Ibrahim Idris to order their dismissal with immediate effect.
A directive has gone out for several police units where the dismissed officers were attached to immediately retrieve all police equipment in their possession and remove them from payrolls, according to a December 26 signal sent by the police.
The mass dismissal comes a day after the news of the large-scale desertion was leaked, eliciting renewed nationwide concerns about Nigeria’s progress in the Boko Haram war, which is now entering its tenth year.
The nearly two hundred police officers who absconded were among the two thousand sent on a counter-insurgency training at the Nigerian Army Special Forces Training School in Buni Yadi, Yobe State.
Scores of them disappeared after learning that they would be deployed in active combat against Boko Haram in communities where the insurgents are still virulent, as against relatively peaceful settlements like Maiduguri metro area.
They were then declared wanted, amidst fears that they could be harmful because they did not submit the arms, ammunition and other police equipment in their possession before fleeing.
The police had in their first reaction on Wednesday night strongly denied that the officers absconded as reported, with their spokesperson Jimoh Moshood saying from the Force Headquarters that the 2,000 officers were still in the training center ready for deployment against Boko Haram thugs.
The signals detailing the mass dismissal, which were authenticated by police chiefs at the top command, surfaced while the Nigerian Army contradicted the police’s claim that officers did not abscond.