The Nigeria Police have disclosed that mines and explosives buried in the Northeast by terrorist group, Boko Haram exceeded those buried by forces during the Nigerian Civil War.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris stated this Monday in Lagos, during the training of 60 policemen on anti-bomb and mines detection, detonation.
Idris, who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Operations, Joshak Habila stated that plans were on to deploy trained policemen to Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to sweep the communities before the returned of displaced persons.
He said the four-week training was part of efforts to equip the police to finally take over from the military, areas reclaimed from the terrorists, adding that some of the personnel would also be deployed to the Niger Delta and other troubled areas where criminals use IEDs.
The IGP said the trained personnel are to ensure the communities are cleared of all explosives for the safe return of displaced persons to their lands.
He said: “It is on record that mines buried by Boko Haram in the Northeast is far above the one buried during the Nigerian Civil War. So, we are fortunate to have US anti-bomb experts train us on how to detect buried mines.
“We are about going into another phase in the operation in the northeast. Our responsibility is to assure displaced persons of their safe return to their communities. It is incumbent on the police to restore peace within reclaimed communities.
“Our duty is to identify remnants of these explosives and take them for safe keeping for analysis, with a view to detect where they were manufactured and who manufactured them.
“We would also enlighten and train the civil populace on bomb detection so that whenever they see unfamiliar items, they would not touch.
“Nigeria Police have given a good account of itself in the past, particularly in detecting and detonating IEDs. So, we must take advantage of this training because we would soon deploy those trained to affected areas on post-blast investigation.
“For the trainees, they should also bother about chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, which are the new threats globally. Before now, people didn’t believe we could have suicide bombers in Nigeria. So, the trainees should not take any information for granted.”
The facilitators, Jon Demarthino and Rick Hahn both from the US Anti-Terrorism Assistance Group, commended the trainees for their gallantry.
Demarthino, who said the training would be hard and tasking, urged the participants to give it their all in order to achieve desired results.
Expressing optimism that the training would positively impact the force and the country, Demarthino urged the participants to extend the knowledge gained to their colleagues.
“There’s no way we would train all Nigeria Police personnel at a time. But with this 60 we have, we believe it would spread round to a greater percentage of the force.”
Earlier, the Commissioner of Police Explosives Ordinance Department (EOD) Chika Maidama praised the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris and the Americans for the project, adding that it would increase his personnel’s knowledge.
Noting that the participants were officers between Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and Superintendent of Police (SP) ranks, Maidama said the idea was to train unit leaders who would go back and train their subordinates.
Also the event was the Lagos Police Commissioner Fatai Owoseni.