The police have dismissed 121 of at least 167 police officers who absconded after being deployed to fight Boko Haram insurgents last week,Premium Times reports.
The 121 officers of the police rank-and-file were accused of committing mutiny and desertion, prompting Inspector-General Ibrahim Idris to order their dismissal with immediate effect.
A directive has gone out for several police units where the dismissed officers were attached to immediately retrieve all police equipment in their possession and remove them from payrolls, according to a December 26 signal.
The 167 police officers were amongst the 2,000 sent on a counter-insurgency training at the Nigerian Army Special Forces Training School in Buni Yadi, Yobe State.
Scores of them disappeared after learning that they would be deployed in active combat against Boko Haram in communities where the insurgents are still virulent, as against relatively peaceful settlements like Maiduguri metro area.
They were then declared wanted, amidst fears that they could be harmful because they did not submit the arms, ammunition and other police equipment in their possession before fleeing.
The police had in their first reaction on Wednesday night strongly denied that the officers absconded, with their spokesperson Jimoh Moshood saying from the Force Headquarters that the 2,000 officers were still in the training centre ready for deployment against Boko Haram thugs.
The signals detailing the mass dismissal, which were authenticated by police chiefs at the top command, surfaced while the Nigerian Army contradicted the police’s claim that officers did not abscond.
The army said the police officers fled the training centre without permission, but added that many of them had been summarily caught and returned to the facility.
It was not immediately clear whether any disciplinary measures had been taken against the remaining officers who absconded.