The authorities of the Nigerian Police Force on Tuesday announced the suspension of Zakari Biu, the Commissioner of Police in charge of CID Zone 7. Street Journal found out that the Force decided to take the action against CP Biu after he had been queried over the escape of one Kabir Sokoto, a suspect in the bombing incident that killed scores of people in Madalla last Christmas.
Street Journal’s investigations revealed that the suspect was nabbed after the police swooped on the Borno State Governor’s lodge, Kabir Sokoto and one of his friends who is said to be a serving Flight Lieutenant in the Nigerian Air Force were apprehended and subsequently detained by the police while investigations went on.
Things however took another turn when news filtered in that the suspect had escaped while he was being taken to a location in Abaji where he owns a house. Suspected members of the Boko Haram sect reportedly ambushed the vehicle in which four police officers were taking him to Abaji. The policemen were eventually overpowered in the gun battle that ensued while the suspect was taken away by his companions.
That Biu is still in the Police Force is a surprise to many, especially those who heard that he was retired by the Obasanjo administration in 1999. Many still remember him as the police officer who was accused of being culpable in a number of human rights issues during the Abacha years.
Biu was particularly fingered in the yet unresolved murder of Bagauda Kaltho, a journalist with the News Magazine then. Kaltho was killed when a bomb exploded in the bathroom of his hotel. Biu, then an Assistant Commissioner however claimed that the deceased journalist died while trying to plant the bomb in the hotel.
While appearing at the Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission headed by Justice Oputa, Biu also claimed that the late Lagos Airport Manager, Sola Omosola who died in a car explosion was a NADECO agent and that he was killed while examining a bomb he was about to plant.
Unfortunately for him however, years later, his son Tahir, who was until his death an officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was one of those killed in the October 1, 2010 bomb blasts that rocked Abuja during an Independence Anniversary parade.
Incidentally, retired ACP Zakari Biu was recalled to the Nigerian Police Force in order to give him a soft landing since he is due for retirement in February. Though most of his mates attained the Assistant Inspector General rank before they retired, Biu became a Commissioner in December.
Apart from being a case of “suspicious negligence”, the incident might end up tarnishing the Commissioner’s entire years of service. According to police procedure, he will be made to face a panel headed by the Inspector General of Police where his fate will eventually be decided. From indications, the Presidency too might be interested just as the President stated recently that Boko Haram members have found their ways into the government.
To further fuel suspicions, Biu and the escaped suspect both hail from Borno State and it is unheard of that a Commissioner of Police would detail only four officers to lead a high profile suspect to conduct a search.
While some believe Biu was just overtaken by error, some others have opined that nemesis might just be at work.