TIMELINE: 10 bizarre occasions Nigerian security guards shot dead fellow officers

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A police officer simply identified as Sergeant Bello on Friday killed six colleagues at the police headquarters in Maiduguri, Borno State, adding to the disturbing number of security officers who have carried out such a murderous and shocking act. questions about the mental health of officers.

Along with the latest incident, Daily Trust examines 10 bizarre occasions when police and soldiers shot their colleagues and how to tackle the underlying factors responsible for the act.

An inspector killed a colleague in Kano

In September 2021, a police inspector, Ya’u Yakubu, allegedly shot a co-cop, Sergeant Basharu Alhassan, at Warawa Divisional Police Headquarters in Kano for a misunderstanding.

State Police Spokesman Abdullahi Kiyawa while confirming the incident said Police Commissioner Sama’ila Dikko ordered the suspect to undergo tests to verify his mental health. .

“During our preliminary investigation, the inspector said he did not even know how he shot his colleague, but he remembered that the deceased was laughing at him. So he was out of his mind and committed this act,” Kiyawa said.

A cop killed in Bayelsa

Two months after the Kano incident, a police sergeant, Governor Akpos, allegedly stabbed to death in November 2021 his cousin sergeant, Yerins Sapele, over a minor disagreement in the Edepie area of ​​the state of Bayelsa.

The duo reportedly attended a wedding at a hotel along the INEC road in Yenagoa, where they joked.

It was understood that the jokes were not well received by Akpos, who was described as short-tempered. Akpos allegedly dragged Yerins to a secluded location and stabbed him to death.

The inspector shot a teammate

In May 2020, an inspector Monday Gabriel went mad in the Ikoyi neighborhood of Lagos and opened fire on his colleagues. He killed a Sergeant Felix Okago, while others were shot and wounded.

Gabriel, who was attached to Mobile Police Squadron 21, Abuja, was on special duty at the Federal Inland Revenue Service in Ikoyi with others.

He allegedly got into a fight with his co-workers over a problem and suddenly shot them. He then hijacked the team’s escort van and drove away.

Confirming the incident, then-police public relations officer DSP Bala Elkana said, “He was intercepted alongside Akoka, disarmed and handcuffed. The rifle and vehicle were recovered. The corpse of the deceased sergeant is deposited at the morgue for autopsy while the inspector is taken to the police hospital for a medical examination as he showed signs of mental breakdown.

A sergeant stabbed an inspector to death in Lagos

A month later, in June 2020, a drunken police sergeant in Lagos lunged at his superior, Inspector Francis Adekunle, with a machete, inflicting multiple cuts. Adekunle therefore died in a hospital.

The sergeant reportedly went haywire after drinking alcohol at a nearby joint and returned to his compound in the Oke-Odo area of ​​the state.

It was learned that he got into a fight with one of his neighbors and was chasing him with a cutlass when Adekunle, believed to be attached to Special Protection Unit (SPU) 2 Ikeja, intervened.

Crowd dispersing officer killed friend

In November 2019, a mobile policeman shot and killed his colleague attached to Igando Police Division, Lagos, during a free-for-all along the Lasu-Igando road.

The suspect allegedly fired into the air to disperse a crowd, but killed his colleague and injured a motorcyclist who was accompanying in the process.

“One of these people pushed the mobile policeman and he cocked his gun. Unfortunately, he killed his colleague and injured a motorcyclist. We have opened an investigation into the matter,” Elkana said.

A policeman killed his superior himself in Ondo

A policeman, Abraham Arowogun, attached to Kajola Divisional Police Station, Ondo State, in August 2017, committed suicide by jumping into a well at the police station after shooting the Divisional Crime Officer , an inspector Timothy Aruehi, because of a disagreement.

“The command is very saddened by the incident and our hearts are very heavy, we are doing everything we can to dig deeper into the matter and also to speak to our officers and men about the need to avoid a similar occurrence,” said the state PPRO at the time, Mr. Femi Joseph, had said.

The army corporal killed four colleagues, himself

In February 2020, the Nigerian Army confirmed that a corporal serving in Theater Command Operation Lafiya Dole, Army Super Camp 15, lost his temper and shot four of his colleagues before shooting himself. .

“Two of his colleagues were also injured in the incident and are currently in stable condition at our hospital in Maiduguri. Efforts are underway to contact the families of our valiant colleagues who paid the ultimate price in the exercise. of their functions.

“In the meantime, an investigation into the matter has since been initiated to determine the circumstances that led to this unfortunate incident,” said the army’s acting director of public relations, Colonel Sagir Musa.

A soldier shot his teammate and killed himself

In September 2018, two Nigerian army staff sergeants, identified as Adegor Okpako and Saka, were killed and four others injured during in-theatre training at the 192 Battalion in the Gwoza area of ​​Nigeria. Borno State.

While some people claimed that Okpako deliberately killed Saka and injured four others before committing suicide, the Nigerian military said it was a case of accidental discharge.

Another soldier killed a colleague, himself

A few days after the Borno incident, another soldier, Markus Yusuf, allegedly opened fire on a military installation in Abuja, killing a colleague and injuring another before shooting himself dead.

Yusuf, said to be inebriated, was with his colleagues in an open area when he allegedly started shooting, forcing most of them to flee.

A soldier murdered a comrade in Borno

In December 2020, a soldier allegedly shot and killed his colleague at a popular spot along Baga Road in Maiduguri, Borno State, where drugs were being sold.

An outlet operator near the scene, Iliya Mshelia, told the Daily Trust that the incident shocked many people.

“The soldier was firing bullets in the air when the deceased approached him and asked him to stop shooting. The soldier then pointed his gun at his colleague and shot him,” an eyewitness revealed.

Mental health problems

These and other killings have raised concerns about the mental health of security guards. During a post-traumatic seminar organized in November 2021 by the Department of Transformation and Innovation at Army Headquarters, the Nigerian Army expressed concerns about PTSD among its personnel.

The army’s transformation and innovation chief, Major General Charles Ofoche, said there was a need to raise awareness of the disease, which he admitted was on the rise.

He said, “The Nigerian Army intends to sensitize commanders on stress syndrome to reduce operational risk, increase efficiency and improve operational effectiveness.”

A senior psychiatric nurse at Yaba Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos, Ms Ife Adegoke, said there was a need for any security guard carrying a gun to undergo a mental assessment.

She said officers should undergo psychiatric and psychological assessments to determine their level of emotional stability.

A consultant psychiatrist, Professor Adeoye Oyewole, has urged police authorities to train their men in emotional intelligence and improve their well-being, including the provision of life insurance, reduced working hours and stress management.

“They need psychological monitoring from time to time. They also need to be trained in communication skills, emotional intelligence and how to remain calm in the face of provocation,” he added.

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