Boko Haram: 6 Years After, Slain DPO’s Wife Got Only N400K From Police
By Hassan Malam Yalwa, Hussaini Mohammed Baba (Potiskum) and Sunday Ogwuche, Abuja
The activities of the Boko Haram insurgents in the past eight years has been a major challenge for the country, having led to enormous loss of lives and properties, particularly in the Northern part of Nigeria, leading to the country being included among one of the terrorist countries of the world with its serious implications on national development.
In the past nine years, the so-called Boko Haram insurgents have been executing their inhuman attacks in various places including the places of worship, markets, schools and even the security bases in Northeastern Nigeria.
Countless number of army and police officers had lost their lives either through gun battles with the terrorists or ambush laid by them. Many families who lost their bread winners to the Boko Haram terrorists are in tatters as life have never been the same for them, especially in cases where there is little or no compensation for the widows of the slain officers who died fighting the battle of rescuing the country from the terrorists who are said to have been ‘technically’ defeated.
One of such widows is the wife of the late Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Potiskum, Yobe State, Deputy Superintendant of Police, Aliyu Garba.
About six years ago, the late Garba was killed during the exchange of fire between security personnel and the sect in a midnight attack they launched on Potiskum. However, despite losing his life in the fight against the insurgents, Garba’s widow, Hauwa, has said that the ill treatment and the lackadaisical attitude of the Nigerian Police to her plight and that of her children since the demise of her husband and bread winner of the family, has been disappointing and discouraging.
Narrating her ordeal, the widow lamented that all the Nigerian Police Force gave her after the unfortunate incident till date was N400, 000.
Speaking to Neptune Prime, Mrs. Hauwa Garba, who had four kids with her late husband, said she was given the money when they were arranging for his burial, and that all efforts she made thereafter to see whether the police had any other payment to make as benefits accruable to the family proved abortive.
The terrorist attack on Potiskum which led to Garba’s death was the second attempt targeted at eliminating the Emir of Fika, in Yobe State, Alhaji Muhammadu Abali Ibn Muhammadu. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the first attempt aimed at eliminating the royal father was on August 3, 2012 when a man attempted to detonate explosives close to the emir shortly after Friday prayers at the Central Mosque in Potiskum, Yobe State.
It would be recalled that on Monday, December 10, 2012 gunmen, suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect launched a midnight attack and killed DSP Aliyu Garba, the divisional police officer (DPO), in charge of Potiskum, whose name was misrepresented as ‘Mohammed Ali’, by a section of the media, after the botched attempt to attack the Emir’s palace and Potiskum Police divisional headquarters.
Unfortunately, the late DPO was killed during the exchange of fire between security personnel and the insurgents, even though there were speculations that his colleagues may have been responsible.
It was gathered that the late Garba played a pivotal role in repelling the terrorist attack as he mobilised his team of security operatives to defeat the terrorists, playing the role of commander and armourer at the same time, securing the Divisional headquarter and the Emir’s palace respectively.
Some residents commended his efforts and those of his men during the midnight attack, saying the late DPO ensured that the entire police officers in the station repelled the attack.
According to Hauwa: “After the incident, we went to Kaduna with the corpse in the company of the police who thereafter (in Kaduna) gave me N400,000.
“What I cannot say is whether that money was for burial arrangement or my husband’s entitlement as a police officer who died fighting terrorists.
“Many times I was at their office to see if they had any other financial benefit for the family but to no avail. And when I became tired I had to stop pressing on, most especially as I didn’t see the possibility of any headway from the way things were playing out,” she lamented.
She also narrated how her late husband’s pension manager, Trust Fund Pensions Ltd., frustrated all efforts made by her to access what he (Garba) had contributed. Her constant visitations yielded no fruit that she eventually got tired of going to their NSITF office in Maiduguri and resigned to fate.
“Any time l called or visited the pension office, I received the same answer – they are ‘still working on it or awaiting approval from Abuja”’.
“In 2016, I received a call from one of their customer service officers that I should bring his death certificate to their office here in Maiduguri, and I did. My last visit to the pension office was in 2017. I got tired and stopped going to the office,” she said.
Explaining her frustration, Mrs. Garba said she has been using the little earnings she gets from her job as a nurse to take care of the family which is not enough to cater for herself and her four children (three boys and one girl).
According to Garba’s widow, she has refused to remarry as she wants to have time for the upbringing of the kids, adding that the eldest of the children, a boy, is now in high school while the youngest is in primary school.
Late DSP Aliyu Garba, a Babur from Biu local government in Borno State, was born on May 17, 1967. He attended Army children school in Kaduna between 1974 and 79; Government Secondary School, Kukawa between 1981 and 1986 before proceeding to the university of Maiduguri (Unimaid) in 1988 where he graduated in 1991.
After attending the Police Academy, Kano between 1994 and 1996, he was appointed as officer same year and was posted to Niger State police command where he got a taste of policing until 2004.
In 2000, he obtained a certificate in advanced detective course and between 2004 and 2006 he served at Maiduguri police command and later in Bauchi in 2007. He returned to Maiduguri same year and was appointed Officer in Charge of a department code named Crack, which is basically an anti-robbery squad.
All the efforts made by Neptune Prime to get the response of the police on the matter failed as the PPRO who was sent an SMS is yet to reply just as several calls made to him went unanswered.