A Tribute to SP Bako Angbashim, an uncommon and brave police officer who was gruesomely killed by cultists and terrorists

The brutal killing of super-brave SP Bako Angbashim of the Nigeria police allegedly by the Icelanders cult terrorist group of kidnappers on 8th September 2023 in Ahoada, Rivers state brought back memories of the killing of the soldier-beyond-bravery, Sarkin Yaki 1, Col Muhammad Abu-Ali by the Boko haram terrorists on 4th November 2016. Both fallen heroes SP Bako and Col Abu-Ali were failed by the state they laid their lives to protect. The brave duo are now in the nation’s hall of fame for gallantry in the fight against terrorism.

After the gruesome killing of Sarkin Yaki 1 Col Muhammad Abu-Ali, the CO of 272 tank battalion killed by Boko haram terrorists in Mallam Fatori, Borno state almost 7 years ago at a relatively young age of 36, many Nigerians were fascinated by the uncommon bravery of the young military officer who had many years of service ahead of him. In fact, many Nigerians thought there was no replacement or even anybody worth a compare to Sarkin Yaki 1 Col Abu-Ali. Little did we know that there was another Sarkin Yaki in the Nigeria police, equally and uncommonly brave with a high-pitch morale and determination to secure our country from terrorists. That man is SP Bako Angbashim, the DPO extraordinaire of the Ahoada division.

Like SP Bako like the Sarkin Yaki 1 Abu-Ali. Both fallen heroes obviously served in different security agencies but share quite a few similarities: Both were killed by terrorists while fighting to secure our communities. They were both killed through ambush during clearance operations.

The late gallant officers both gave terrorists sleepless nights and served as thorns in the flesh of cultists, kidnappers, secessionists, insurrectionists and other criminals.

SP Bako and Col Abu-Ali were fearless. They both led from the front. They inspired their men and recorded several victories against  the terrorists. They won many battles against the terrorists and saved many lives.

One thing that separates Sarkin Yaki 1 Col Abu-Ali and SP Bako is that while the former goes to the battlefield fully knitted with his shoes on, the latter is known to go to battle shoeless, without his shoe on but this doesn’t in any way hinder his focus against the terrorists. Going shoeless and barefooted with his rifle firmly hanging on his shoulder actually seem to bolster SP Bako’s confidence and enhance his flexibility in battles against the terrorists.

Another thing worth noting is that the gallant heroes SP Bako and Col Abu-Ali were failed by the state to which they laid down their lives. Indeed, it is worrisome that the late SP Bako is reported to have ran out of ammunition hence he was captured by the cultists, dragged and gruesomely killed. With sufficient ammunition, SP Bako would have been able to ward off the terrorists, leave the scene to join his team and restrategise.

It is incomprehensible that a senior police officer on the battlefield ran out of ammunition. If it is because there isn’t enough in the armoury, then this should call for a serious concern. Nigeria with all its resources cannot guarantee the right arms and ammunition for our gallant security operatives?

You then wonder where Nigeria’s resources are channeled into if operatives should be left at the mercy of terrorists for lack of enough ammunition. Remember that the first and most important function of government is the provision of security to life sbd property. This is clearly spelt out in section 14(2)(b) of the constitution , Federal Republic of Nigeria CFRN 1999 (as amended) which is clear, explicit and unambiguous that ‘the provision of security to life and property shall be the primary purpose of government.

May be, just may be, if Nigeria was using technology in the war against terror, the story could have been different. The separate ambush that claimed the lives of SP Bako and Col Abu-Ali could have been avoided through the use of technology. As men edge forward in battle, technology should be used as back-up in the monitoring and control centres so that any ambush against troops could be detected in real time and dealt with. Air support can play a pivotal role in assisting the ground  troops and to ward off any ambush by the terrorists. This makes it expedient that Nigeria should prioritise the use of technology in the fight against terrorists. Drones, satellites and other digital equipment should be deployed to monitor terrorists movement in real time and deal with it.

In fact, many brave men in the mould of SP Bako and Col Abu-Ali abound in the military and the police so you wonder why our dear country is literally held hostage by a group of rag tag bandits, secessionists and terrorists. The government should as a matter of urgency, establish a strong FOREST RANGERS comprising of our gallant military, the police, NCSDC, Road safety and other security operatives backed by local vigilante to comb and clear all the forests across the country occupied by bandits, kidnappers, secessionists and other terrorists once and for all.

The gruesome murders of SP Bako who was tortured and beheaded and Sarkin Yaki 1 Col Abu-Ali should serve as a wake up call to the authorities on the need to use technology in the fight against terrorism. It is utterly unacceptable that a senior officer, the commander of the team that faced the cultists should ran out of ammunition on the battlefield. What explanation could suffice for his wife and children? What is the government going to tell his family?

For God’s sake, the forests where all these criminals, terrorists, cultists and kidnappers take refuge are known by almost everybody including the security agencies. So what stops the security agencies from carrying out a final clearance operation and getting rid of all these criminal kidnappers, cultists and terrorists? It is reassuring that a number of arrests have been made in connection with the killing of SP Bako. These suspects should be charged to court and prosecuted even if to serve as a deterrent to other criminals and terrorists. A situation whereby people commit crimes and go unpunished will only serve as a morale booster to other criminals.

These terrorists, kidnappers, cultists and secessionists are in Nigeria. They are not in another country or in another planet. Why can’t our security agents take the fight to them, smoke these terrorists out and clear all the forests? Just why? Where is the huge annual budgetary allocation to security running into trillions of Naira going to? For how long will the nation keep losing gallant officers like SP Bako and Sarkin Yaki 1 Col Abu-Ali? The questions are numerous.

We must all condole with the family of SP Bako and that of all the servicemen and women who lost their lives to keep us safe. SP Bako is gone because the system failed him. The government failed him. His county failed him. We all failed him.

The government must not transfer its failure to SP Bako’s family particularly his children. The children of the late SP Bako must be placed on a special scholarship to pursue their education. The family should be gifted a befitting house as an appreciation for all the sacrifice that their bread winner has made to Nigeria. Without doubt, SP Bako deserves a post-humous promotion to the next rank of chief superintendent of police (CSP) even if to serve as an encouragement to other officers who are ready to take on the terrorists.

The usual long delay in the payment of entitlements to the families of fallen officers must not apply to late SP Bako’s family. SP Bako’s entitlements should be paid to his family pronto.

This is a death too many and all measures must be taken to avert another occurance. The terrorists must never win. Nigeria will win eventually.

RIP SP Bako, the policeman extraordinaire