BREAKING: ‘Police Officer Must Not Fear Death’ — Meet FCT CP Who Slept Inside Gutter For Days To Track Kidnappers - 247Updates
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BREAKING: ‘Police Officer Must Not Fear Death’ — Meet FCT CP Who Slept Inside Gutter For Days To Track Kidnappers

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He walked sprightly and spoke calmly as he left his office to attend another engagement, despite the burden of insecurity just handed over to him. His face lightened up when THE WHISTLER asked him about his plan to secure Abuja.…CONTINUE READING

“The plan is in my head,” he stated without blinking an eye. “We’re going to give the criminals a hard time.”

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Commissioner, CP Benneth Igweh, is an officer familiar with the world of criminals. He seems to exist to fight crimes, and his police service trajectory confirms this.

Once, when leading a team fighting kidnappers in Imo State, he gave members of his team instructions on what each one had to do. As the leader of the operation, he chose the hardest part — To lie down inside a gutter in the bush to ambush the criminals whenever they came to pick the ransom!

But the criminals, who had probably anticipated Igweh’s ingenuity, did not show up to collect the ransom until four days later. Igweh did not budge. He stayed inside the gutter for four days until the kidnappers showed up. He engaged them in a shootout and won the firefight!

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CP Igweh may have emerged at a time when the city desperately requires solutions to the insecurity ravaging its fringes, but he may be the right man for the job. He inspires his officers from top to down. They all seem to have confidence in his capacity to lead from the front, and this must be good news for residents of the FCT who have been groaning under the pressure of insecurity.

Between January 15, 2023, and January 15, 2024, no fewer than 280 residents were reportedly abducted from the city’s satellite areas such as Bwari, Kuje, Abaji, Gwagwalada, Abuja Municipal and Kwali Area councils, a report by SMB revealed.

Besides kidnapping, the city is also tensed up due to various other crimes such as One-Chance robbery, genital organ theft, car theft, burglary and others.

However, top officers of the Nigeria Police Force in the FCT who spoke off-the-record to THE WHISTLER expressed confidence in CP Igweh’s operational prowess. Many described his appointment as “perfect timing”, given that he had successfully led similar operations across 21 states and the FCT.

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CP Igweh, a native of Akatta, Orlu-East Local Government Area of Imo State was born on October 7, 1968. He obtained a first degree in Estate Management and a second degree in Business Administration, both from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State.

Enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force in 1996 as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent, CP Igweh, in an exclusive interview with THE WHISTLER, recounted the successive operations he had executed.

FCT, Police Commissioner, Benneth Igweh
Between 1999 and 2000, Igweh led an operation against child kidnappers in Imo State who were demanding huge ransoms. Speaking about the operation, he recalled:

“I took a lot of risk by trailing the perpetrators with the ransom they demanded from their victims. On that day, I slept in the gutter for four days just to trap the syndicate. All I did was use the ransom they demanded against them, and the rest was history,” he revealed.

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Igweh’s daring ability to coordinate operations and garner intelligence remains a huge strength of his work. Between 2018 and 2019, the CP led the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Unit to identify and destroy kidnappers’ hideouts, rescue captives and clampdown on armed robbery in Rivers State and neighbouring areas.

As an Officer-in-Charge (OC) of the disbanded SARS in the FCT, Igweh, as he is popularly addressed, recounted how he clamped down on robbery while putting his life on the line between 2007 and 2015.

He said, “I was the one who stopped a bank robbery in Abuja between 2007 and 2009, and that was how I got shot in 2008. They were robbing a Fidelity bank in Ceddi Plaza here in Abuja, and I innocently drove there, going by the intelligence of an informant.

“When we arrived at the scene, the armed robbers had started the operation, and the informant pointed at one of the vehicles and disappeared. All I did to stop the robbery was to shoot. You know unexpected gunshot destabilises any armed robber.

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“However, they shot me in my stomach,” Igweh said, showing his bullet wound. “I have been shot about five times on this job.

“The next time I was shot at was in Damaturu, Yobe State in 2011, where I was fighting terrorists as an Operating Officer of a Joint Military Task Force comprising the police and Army under the codename: Operation Restore Order II.

“I was also shot in Ebonyi in 2015, and along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway in 2016 where I started clearing bandits constantly terrorising the route. They ambushed me and shot at me. I have bullets on both my legs, hand and stomach.

“That is why I was telling the terrorists to come, I am now in the FCT.”

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CP Igweh said his driving passion is hate for crimes. He said, “My motivation is that there is a great difference between light and darkness. I believe I am a light, and wherever I appear, criminals are supposed to disappear, and if they refuse to disappear, it becomes a fight that I am ready to fight, all day long.

“This is why I lead all operations to avoid dampening the spirit of the boys, in the event of a power exchange. This is why I always take the lead, and I am always ready for it.

“Also, I have always known that I will fight crime because I hate criminality. I have no sympathy for criminals… I would say that we can defend ourselves because the police have the capacity.

“I have also said that If the bandits think they are strong, let them come to FCT and set camps, and see If they will last in the remotest village in the FCT.

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“Look at kidnappers rearing their heads in the FCT because Ben Igweh went to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), in Jos, Plateau State for one year.”

Resolving Insecurity In FCT
In January 2023, Igweh was selected by the police authority to receive high-level training at the NIPSS and he emerged as one of the best graduating students.

His selection followed his promotion as the FCT Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations (Ops) to CP Border Patrol in August 2022.

As DCP OPs, Igweh said he acted out all his threats to criminals in the FCT and had crimes checked before he was promoted and redeployed.

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When asked how he felt about the rising cases of insecurity while he was away at the NIPSS, he said, “I was not happy, because I had cleared the FCT as a DCP by 2022 before I was promoted to CP in August 2022. By virtue of the promotion, I was deployed as CP Border Patrol for the Nigeria Police Force.

“By January 2023 I was released to go to NIPSS in Jos. It was there that I started to read about the escalating situation of insecurity in the FCT.

“So, the IGP decided to deploy me after my training period in Jos, to head the FCT Special Intervention Squad (SIS) to clamp down on the menace.”

Since the launch of the SIS in the FCT, there have been more cases of rescued kidnap victims as well as arrests and parades of criminals.

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Since the appointment of Igweh as CP, no fewer than two kidnappers’ hideouts have been dismantled, and the syndicates arrested.

Notorious kidnap syndicate arrested in Bassa village, Abuja.
When asked if he ever gets scared of being killed during these operations, CP Igweh said, “Scared of what? I am not afraid of being hit, I am not afraid of death. It is a suicide mission and somebody must do it.

“I do not mind, and the press gets scared whenever I say it. When I was a DCP heading the FCT’s Operation unit, I acted it out and everyone saw it.”

Igweh believes that part of the FCT’s challenge in combating crime is the lack of proper mapping of residences across the city.

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“There are many factors capable of fueling insecurity. However, one of the problems we have here is that the FCT has 22 satellite towns where the residents have no address.

“Even in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), from Gishiri to Kabusa, Wasa, Nyanya, Mpape… the people living there have no address and are there in thousands. These are issues we met on the ground at the time, and it would require mass destruction to correct them.

“All these fly-in armed robbers and kidnappers invade the city from these places.”

The police commissioner also highlighted pleasure gardens as some of the places where criminals identify their victims and orchestrate their plans.

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He said, “Another thing is that Abuja has 133 relaxation and drinking gardens, and I have their list. When you have a gathering of almost 50, where people come and go to drink, and no one cares to know the identity of those patronising them, then there is a lot we are neglecting.

“If you allow someone to drink in a garden from morning till night, and the person leaves and no one comes to ask them what they are doing there, what happens is that such a person would continue to make observations. Such a person is also likely to keep returning until they gather all the information that they require for execution.

“When they successfully execute their mission, they will also return to the same garden and continue drinking because no one questions them. So, there are a lot of plans to do in the FCT to restore calm and security.”

CP Igweh’s last words to criminals were that there would be “too much trouble” for them. “It is either they live or face the consequences, especially those that call themselves one-chance,” he said.

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He therefore called on FCT residents to always report any suspicious movement around them saying, “When you see something, you say something, and when you say something, I must do something”.

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