Zakari Biu risks jail over Escape of Boko Haram Kingpin– Police

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ABUJA—The fate of suspended CP Zakari Biu, the Commissioner of Police in charge Special Investigations at Zone 7 headquarters over the escape of Boko Haram kingpin, Kabiru Sokoto on January 14, 2012, was, yesterday, sealed by the Police Service Commission which dismissed him after deliberating on the report of the Force Disciplinary Committee that sat over the matter and the recommendations of the Federal Government Panel set up by the office of the National Security Adviser.

In a statement, the PSC said: “The Police Service Commission, after due consideration of the role played by the Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Hassan Zakari Biu, in the escape of the Boko Haram suspect, Kabiru Sokoto, today 22nd February, 2012 approved the dismissal of Mr. Hassan Zakari Biu from the Nigeria Police Force with effect from February 22, 2012”.

The implication of his dismissal according to Police sources is that the senior officer who is currently in detention, will soon be charged to court for conspiracy and negligence of duty, for allowing a prime suspect of the state put under his care, to escape. He, therefore, faces a possible jail term if found guilty of the allegations by the court.

It would be recalled that the Force Disciplinary Committee (FDC) made up of the former Deputy Inspectors General, DIGs, under former IGP, Hafiz Ringim, sat, tried him and made their recommendations to the Police Service Commission (PSC) before they were asked to go with Ringim by President Goodluck Jonathan last month.

Alhaji Zakari Biu appeared before the FDC on January 24, 2012 with five other Policemen, in whose custody Sokoto escaped, and charged with conspiracy and negligence of duty leading to Sokoto’s escape. The FDC sat behind closed doors at the Force Headquarters conference hall for over six hours.

Zakari Biu had in 2001 appeared before the Oputa panel set up by the then President Obasanjo in 1999 to defend himself over allegations that he was behind several high profile bombings that took place during General Abacha’s regime and which, in one instance, led to the killing of a journalist, Bagauda Kalto.

Biu, a former Squad leader of the dreaded Abacha Strike force was recalled into the Police force by the Police Service Commission after about 10 years of being rendered redundant by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo who said he could not work with someone with so many petitions about his human right records.

As the head of the anti-terrorism and explosives squad in the villa during Abacha’s tenure, it was suggested that the several bombing attacks during the period had the imprints of the officer, and his recall therefore pitched the Police hierarchy then against the PSC.

The Police hierarchy had believed that the recall of Zakari Biu will cast doubt on the sincerity of the Police on its rule of law posture, while the PSC based his recall on the fact that before 1999, Zakari Biu had no query in his file.

In recommending his recall, the Police Service Commission directed the Police authorities to pay Zakari Biu, all his outstanding allowances and salaries dating back to 1999 when he was eased out of the force.

At the Police College Kano, where he was subsequently posted to, he had told his colleagues that his coming back to the force was to enable him clear his name for posterity sake because so many stories about him were false, and that if he was able to rise to the position of a Deputy Commissioner of Police before retirement, it would be a bonus for him.

However, when Hafiz Abubakar Ringim, his bosom friend and course mate became the Inspector General of Police, and was confronted with the menace of Boko Haram, and knowing that Zakari Biu is one of the earliest and few Police officers trained abroad in Counter Terrorism tactics and investigations, saddled him with the task of investigating issues associated with the sect’s atrocities immediately after the Force headquarters bombing last June.

Zakiru Biu who was charged with the responsibility of investigating Kabiru Sokoto’s case, reportedly detailed four policemen to take Sokoto to his Abaji residence for a search, from where he escaped.

As part of Police investigations into Kabiru Sokoto’s escape, Todays Nigeria had reported on 20th January 2012, that a team of detectives sent to his house for further investigations, arrested the Ona of Abaji, Alhaji Adamu Yinusa, at his palace in Abaji and moved him to the headquarters of SARS, following revelations that one of his sons was a friend of the wanted Kabiru Sokoto and may have been the brain behind the mobilization of the miscreants that attacked the Police pick-up carrying the suspect, leading to his escape.

Though he was later released, Police sources said the arrest of the Ona of Abaji who is believed to be influential in the corridors of power, in a way facilitated the re-arrest of Sokoto.

Kabiru Sokoto who has since been re-arrested by SSS, is believed to be the mastermind of the Christmas day bombing of St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madala in Niger State. He was arrested at the Borno Governor’s Lodge in Abuja and handed over to Police Commissioner, Zakari Biu to investigate before his escape.

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