Zakari Biu: His many controversies, exploits and inglotious exit

2012-02-23
VANGUARD Newspaper

To embattled Commissioner of Police, Zakari Biu, it is twilight time. To a man whose second name is controversy, it is an inglorious end to a checkered history of unpopularity. His own controversy was embedded in terrorism. Unfortunately, even when he even personally suffered the same fate, he ended up paying dearly for it with the profession he loved most.

His tribulations started in the early days of the late Head of State, General Sani Abachi, when he headed his anti-terrorism squad. He was alleged to have unleashed terror on perceived opponents of the regime. He was also fingered in the bomb blast that snuffed life out of The News reporter, Bagauda Kaltho and former Chief Security Officer of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMA, Dr. Sola Omotsola. They were accused of being agents of anti-Abacha National Democratic Coalition, NADECO.

Many Nigerians that had issues with the Abacha regime accused him of torture, harassment and intimidation when they were being hounded by the government in power. In fact, as an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, heading police investigations at the Force Criminal Investigations Department annex, FCID, Alagbon, Lagos then, he was also heading a task force on sale of petroleum products which was being hoarded.

Exit Abacha, enter retired General Olusegun Obasanjo, under the toga of a civilian President. It was reported that he (Obasanjo) derisively questioned the then Inspector-General of Police, Musiliu Smith, what Zakari Biu was still doing in the Force. That singular admonition sent Zakari Biu to the coolers as he was secretly relieved of all official responsibilities. In fact, he was unofficially booted out of the Police Force.

Went into business

He then reportedly went into auto business and ended up establishing a flourishing auto company in Kano. During the era of Mike Okiro, as the Inspector-General of Police, he started making moves to return to the Force.

This was after his friends and admirers in the Force advised that he should go back to his base as he was not officially dismissed from the force. He, therefore, petitioned the Police Service Commission, appealing for reinstatement. The commission had no other option than to bring him back into the force after a thorough investigation revealed that there was no official letter dismissing him.

He was quickly reinstated and sent to Police College where he traditionally spent sometime before being fully re-integrated into the police hierarchy as a Commissioner.

Reinstatement

Being an anti terrorism expert, the then Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, sent him to the Criminal Investigations Department, CID, Zone 7, Abuja where he was overseeing all terrorist activities in the force. Soon after his reinstatement, he suffered a big blow as his beloved son, Tahir, a senior official of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, was brutally killed by the bomb blast that rocked Abuja in October 1, 2010 at the Eagle Square. This ugly incident reportedly affected him greatly.

The coming of Boko haram

He was still nursing his wound when the issue of Boko Haram reared its ugly head and he was said to be amongst the first team of policemen that stormed Borno State in the early days of terrorism by the insurgents. Police sources alleged he carried out a massacre of suspected members of the sect to the extent that even the force had to fight to suppress the story from being leaked to members of the press. Perhaps, that was what emboldened the IGP to entrust the responsibility of fishing out the insurgents, on him.

The Madalla blast

Unfortunately, after the arrest of the notorious bomber of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla in Suleja, Niger State, Umar Kabir a.k.a Kabir Sokoto, Zakari Biu was again fingered in his mysterious escape as the man heading the investigating team.

That, again, sent him back to square one as he was placed under house arrest while investigations into the escape continued. This was happening just when he had barely a month to retire officially from the Nigeria Police Force.

Based on the mistrust against the police, both the military and State Security Service, SSS, took up the investigation and that led to the re-arrest of the escaped suspected terrorist. While this was going on, the Police Disciplinary Committee, PDC, was also questioning Zakari Biu and other accomplices over the escape of Kabir Sokoto.

Kabir’s revelations

Fortunately, after the re-arrest of Kabir, he reportedly made startling revelations about his escape which allegedly indicted Commissioner of Police, Zakari Biu as a major accomplice leading to his dismissal from the force.

Now that he has been officially dismissed with ignominy by the same Police Service Commission that re-instated him secretly, much remains to be said on whether he is a sinner or a saint. Like he told Vanguard exclusively few days before his dismissal that his ‘life was fraught with controversy and that he would tell his story in no distant time, Nigerians are waiting eagerly for the judgment day.

 

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