Feb 15, 2012 – More troubles for Zakari Biu as panel probes his recall
How did embattled Commissioner of Police (CP) Zakari Biu get back into service after being away for 12 years?
This is the poser the panel probing him and five others over the escape of a Boko Haram chieftain, Kabiru Abubakar Dikko Umar, aka Kabiru Sokoto, from police custody on January 16, is expected to unravel before concluding its assignment. naijagists.com
Kabiru Sokoto has since been arrested.
Biu and others are being tried by the Force Disciplinary Committee (FDC).
The panel, it was learnt, has admitted in evidence the report of a committee raised by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Owoye Azazi, on Sokoto’s disappearance.
Although Biu is insisting on his innocence, the FDC may look at how he returned to the police to determine whether he ought to be given such a “sensitive assignment” by former Inspector-General of Police (IG) Hafiz Ringim.
It was learnt that after being rested for about 12 years, Biu should not have been given the assignment.
It was also gathered that because of his alleged insubordination to former President Olusegun Obasanjo during the General’s interrogation for a 1995 phantom coup, Biu should not have been re-absorbed.
A top police source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The FDC is continuing with its investigation of Biu and others but it may be a comprehensive one. There are many gaps to be filled in the ongoing probe.
“The CP has told the panel that he is innocent of all the allegations because he was not in Abaji where Kabiru Sokoto escape.
“Biu said he did his best to ask ‘tested’ policemen to take the suspect to Abaji to search his residence. But as a leader, he has to account for what happened, especially the steps he took immediately the incident happened.”
Responding to a question, the source said: “The ongoing probe is not just only about punishment, it may as well cover the procedural error committed by ex-IG Ringim in managing the arrest of Kabiru Sokoto. The police would have to learn some lessons from this incident.
“Ideally, when Kabiru Sokoto was picked up on January 14 at the Borno Governor’s Lodge, he should have been in the custody of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) instead of Zone 7 Police Command.
“The FCID has been keeping Boko Haram suspects without any history of cell or jail break. The panel will want to ascertain how Zone 7; Biu and his team got involved in the Kabiru Sokoto saga.”
Another source added that Biu’s reinstatement into the Police is a major issue that the panel may consider.
The source said: “Ordinarily when an officer is rested for 12 years whether due to court process or disciplinary matter, he or she cannot be re-integrated into the Police because he would have become rustic.
“As a police officer, he was allegedly ‘harsh’ in handling ex-President Obasanjo while interrogating him during the phantom coup of 1995. He was rude to a General.
“This antecedent did not encourage ex-Presidents Obasanjo and Umaru Yar’Adua to reabsorb Biu into the Police.
“But because he was a classmate of Ringim, the former IG decided to re-instate Biu on compassionate ground to enable him retire this month.
“But Ringim could have prevailed on the Police Service Commission to reinstate Biu and retire him accordingly. Before his reinstatement, Biu was assumed to have ‘lost touch’ with the service that was facing the task of combating terrorism.
“I think he was not equipped enough to manage the task of fighting the Boko Haram menace.”
At press time, a source in the Police Service Commission said: “I think we may receive the report of the FDC on Biu next week in the light of the re-arrest of Kabiru Sokoto.”(the nation)