Police authorities have endorsed a signal to strip Ministers, National Assembly members, federal appointees and other Very Important Personalities (VIPs) from the Southeast and Southsouth of police escort when travelling home due to rising attacks on security agents.
The signal, which emanated from the Delta State Police Command, advised officers and men not to accompany their principals to Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, and Rivers states until the security situation improves.
Many police stations have come under attacks and many policemen killed.
Last weekend, gunmen killed no fewer than 12 policemen in five attacks across Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.
Also last week, gunmen killed two police inspectors in Obosi police station, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, and a policeman in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi.
There have been other attacks on security operatives and formations in the Southeast and parts of Southsouth zones by gunmen.
The wireless message, with the reference CB: 0900/DTS/DOPS/VOL.47/812X, is entitled: “Attack on policemen, snatching of rifles by IPOB”.
The police copied the Chief Security Officer, Government House; Chief Superintendent of Police, Department of Operations, Delta Oil Producing Areas Development Commission; Delta House of Assembly; Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) annexe, among others.
The wireless message read: “Sequel to the incessant attacks on policemen and snatching of arms and ammunition by the proscribed IPOB/ESN (Eastern Security Network) elements in the Eastern states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo States and Rivers State, COMPOL DOPS directs you warn personnel that escort of their principals to the six eastern states is suspended forthwith until the security situation improves. Ensure strict compliance, please.”
Force Public Relation Officer, Frank Mba, told our correspondent that the step was taken to save the lives of the officers and their principals from the gunmen.
He said the signal originated from Delta State Command and was issued on the authority of the Commissioner of Police in Delta.
He said the signal is clear, adding: “That signal did not come from Force Headquarters, so it is not a nationwide directive.
“Any reasonable person will understand that this is a very good directive.
“The Commissioner of Police acted within his powers and he gave the directives to cure certain mischief.”
The police had accused the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of being behind the April 5 attack on the Imo Police Command.
Mba had said in a statement after the attack: “Preliminary investigations have revealed that the attackers, who came in their numbers with sophisticated weapons such as general-purpose machine guns (GPMGs), sub-machine guns (SMGs), AK49 rifles, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), improvised explosive devices (IEDs), are members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN).”
IPOB had always denied killing security agents, saying it remained committed to the non-violent actualisation of Biafra.