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By Yusuf AKINPELU
THE agitation was rife. It was a protest for women right, and more importantly, human rights. Women, who were arrested in a raid on an Abuja nightclub, were allegedly raped by policemen using pure water sachet as condom.
The raid, which occurred in April, was carried out by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Joint Task Team, comprising of the Department of Development Control, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and the Social Development Secretariat.
For that, Nigerians— men and women alike— took to the roads of Abuja to vent their anger at the manner the raid was done, and women molested. With the tension high, and rage fierce, it was not the easiest of job to douse the running emotions in such situations. But one police chief, Usman Umar, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) did this with tact and finesse.
May this year, a Twitter user who tweets @aloinett shared a video of him pacifying the agitated protesters. Speaking in the video, DCP Umar was seen swarmed by the protesters, some of whom placed him on record.
“They should be paraded,” a section of his interlocutor demanded, referring to the policemen found culpable of the rape allegations. To that, he responded: “This will be done as soon as possible.”
With the assurance well received, Umar tabled his own demand: “I’m also urging you… yes, so far so good, you have been very very law abiding. I will urge you to continue this way: being law abiding. Don’t take the laws into your hands. We are here to serve you. After all, we are paid with your taxes.”
“What’s the assurance that it won’t happen again?” came the question he was to deal with this time around.
“There’s no more assurance better than this one. We are telling you that those that did what has happened, if at all, we are able to prove it, will be punished. And (inaudible) we’ll not allow others to do it. This we assure you, please.”
Those words did the magic. So much that the Twitter user who shared the video hoped everyone else in the police force was like him.
“This is the moment when the DCP addressed us. He appeared to be a very gentle, patient, and soft-spoken man. He listened to us and responded respectfully. If only everyone else in the Nigerian Police was like him. #SayHerNameNigeria #AbujaPoliceRaidonWomen,” the tweet reads.
However, this was not to be in July when another protest broke out between the Nigerian Police and members of Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN). The latter agitate the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who has been in confinement for four years.
The police boss was reportedly on the scene to, as usual, pacify the protesters before horror struck through his head. Pictures of him available on Twitter is gory, to say the least. It shows a man whose head was ruptured, from the rare to the fore.
On learning about this, one of the protesters who was impressed by the tact he used in handling the May protest and tweets @ibrahimu14, tweeted: “During our last protest regarding the arrest of some women by environmental task force in Abuja, DCP Umar was the one that received us at the command, gentleman to the core and a professional officer. Rest In Peace DCP Usman Umar.”
“The death of DCP Usman Umar really a sad one for me. He was a personal friend. He served as DPO Utako Division. Principal Staff Officer to the former Inspector General of Police, Head of Operations, FCT Command,” was how another described.
The late DCP Usman Umar has since been buried Tuesday, but Nigerians have not stopped wondering why the crisis is yet to be nipped in the bud.