Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
There is now palpable anxiety, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, over the sudden withdrawal from major streets patrol vans and operatives of the state security outfit, Operation Doo Akpo.
Operation Doo Akpo, a creation of Governor Henry Seriake Dickson in his bid to fight crime and criminality in the state, has been a subject of speculation over moves to proscribe it due to allegations of being a willing political tool in the hands of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
While many supporters of the Dickson government had cautioned the Inspector General of Police over moves to ban it noting that its operations have been effective in the fight against crime sympathisers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had backed moves to ban it claiming that operatives of the security outfit assist chieftains of PDP to rig elections.
However, just days after it had carried out several stop and search operations along major roads, the operatives and their vans disappear from the roads fuelling anxiety they might have been withdrawn to avoid being banned.
Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Joseph Mukan, speaking at the Force Headquarters during the parade of suspected cultists and armed robbers also expressed surprised over the withdrawal of the Operation Doo Akpo noting that even though operatives of the security outfit are drawn from the Police, they report directly to the governor.
According to him, all efforts to get the reasons why the security outfit was withdrawn had met brick wall as there is nobody willing to provide answers.
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Mukan, however, maintained with or without Operation Doo Akpo men of the Bayelsa State Police command are equal to the task to tackle crime and criminality in the state.
“We are seeing it just like you; we also don’t know why Operation Doo Akpo was removed from the roads.
“They (Operation Doo Akpo) are independent of the Bayelsa state Police Command. They report directly to the Governor.
“Though it is commanded by a senior Police officer, their activities are not reported to the Bayelsa state Police command.
“So, when we noticed the withdrawal, we tried to ask questions and nobody is coming up with clear answers for the withdrawal,” he said.
On political activities ahead the 2019 elections, the police boss assured all political parties and players of adequate security and warned political thugs and criminal elements to steer clear as the Police would deal with anybody or group that wants to foment trouble.