By Andy Esiet, Calabar
In an unusual development, the Cross River State Police Command on New Year day celebrated and entertained detainees under its command.
The rare celebration was carried out under the auspices of the Anti Kidnapping and Cultism Squad (AKCS) otherwise known as”Dragon Squad” for detainees whose cases were still under investigation and those awaiting completion of paperwork for onward appearance in court .
About 54 detainees who were arrested for sundry crime and in custody due to logistics and long holiday were hosted to sumptuous meal and an elaborate party by the Dragon Squad under Mr.Abdulhameed Awodi, a Superintendent of Police and his men on New Year day.
Besides the sumptuous Jollof rice , Chicken and Salad, a Disc Jockey was brought in while they were also allowed to socialize and make merry by playing different tunes with local instruments.
The celebration started on December 25th and climaxed on New Year day with some of the detainees participating in the cooking while others led a gyration band,with drums and metal gongs to trill the visitors with different songs.
In a chat after the party, the Commissioner of Police, Aminu Alhassan said that suspects and detainees alike have rights because they were presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.
He said, “the best way to motivate your men and boost their morale is to celebrate them. We also decided to celebrate with detainees in our cells, because they are social beings from various families , they also have rights to certain level of temporary freedoms while in custody .
“As a father and humane entity, I decided to celebrate my officers and men in this tactical unit to appreciate their efforts in 2021 and charge them to do more this 2022 , while celebrating with the detainees”
On general crime in the state, he said “ensured that security was double and there was no attempt made by any detainee to escape from custody and indeed nothing like that happened ,as for security in the state we are not resting on our oars.
“We are re-jigging the security architecture of the state already we have overhauled without noise for effective policing of the city and the state at large, we know a lot of criminals have re-strategized , we are more than ready to and battle ready in a more proficient and proactive way to deal ruthlessly with them.
“I want to commend my officers and men especially this tactical unit (AKCS). They have been exceptional ,and I am urging other units in the Command to even do more in a bid to ensure that residents sleep with their two eyes closed in a professional manner and ensure that no individuals right is violated” .
Equally speaking, the Commander of Dragon Squad, Awodi warned kidnappers in the state to either stop operations ,leave the state face the consequences.
Awodi who was the brain behind the ceremony, said “detainees are human beings ,no matter what they have done , the celebration was just a way to let them know that we understand that various circumstances brought them here so at this festive season , we have to celebrate with them .
” My men and I have worked tirelessly to make sure we rid the state of all forms of criminality , we know that we cannot completely eradicate crime , but we can stem it to the barest minimum ,which is what we have done in 2021 .
“We are taking a different approach that I can’t discuss in public , but criminals in the state must understand that AKCS is out for them ,better prepared and highly motivated than ever before , it’s either you stop kidnapping , or you leave Cross River ,because we will smoke you out ,” he warned.
One of the detainees, Roland Ntoi said the command took them by surprise as a DJ, a Hype man ,a Compare, dancers amongst others were brought in to entertain them.
He stated, “I am the oldest detainee here and the judicial system has kept me here , I have learned a lot since I came here ,crime doesn’t pay at all ,one way or the other ,the hand of the law will catch up with you ,it doesn’t matter how long but ,you will be caught eventually.
“We sincerely appreciate the love and generosity of Dragon Squad , they have made us understand that there is more to life than criminality , the squad has capacity for ruthless force ,but today they showed us the hospitable side because they are human beings like us,we are happy”.