By Adama Tine
Famara Jallow, the former police commissioner for Upper River Region (URR) on Monday told the National Assembly Public Petition Committee that he declined a request by the late former Inspector General of Police Mamour Jobe to transfer him back to the region when cattle rustling and other ruminants continued to surge in the area.
The committee is currently probing allegations by the people of Wuli East who petitioned the National Assembly to investigate police reluctance to stop animal theft in their area.
They lamented in their petition that the inaction of the police after several complaints and apprehension of suspected criminals from Senegal and other parts of the country has led to the formation of a vigilante group consisting hundreds of youth to fend off the menace.
Commissioner Jallow who served as URR police commissioner until his redeployment to West Coast Region in 2018, disclosure this in reference to claims by the current URR commissioner Omar Darboe that cattle theft in the area was perennial and none of his predecessors was able to fully resolve it.
“If Commissioner Darboe is saying such, I think he has made a mistake because recently there have been so many delegations coming to police headquarters asking for my return to Basse because the criminal activities are getting too much,” Jallow stated.
He said a delegation led by a minister visited the office of the late IGP, but when he was called, he insisted that He was not going. “I informed him that if he [IGP] forced me to accept the request I was going to resign. And that is what I was going to do! I am the most senior police commissioner in the country. There are junior commissioners to be sent far in the provinces,” Jallow said.
He added that during his time as the regional police chief, he strived to bring an end to a myriad of criminal activities in the Basse region, making him the “most feared.”
“I know how to deal with a criminal. The last time it was announced that I was returning to Basse, all the criminals ran to the border to wait for confirmation,” he claimed.
Commissioner Jallow further told the probing lawmakers that he believes a good leader ought to be feared even at the family level. “If that fear is not there it means you are meaningless in the compound”.
The petitioners also claimed that one Amadou Gajigo, a businessman from Sare Bugu and Alhagie Ceesay a butcher from Basse, are the principal masterminds in orchestrating cattle theft in the region, alleging that they also supply meat to the police officers in the region. They further alleged that Mr Gajigo had been living in a high fenced compound where he slaughters stolen animals during the night, but each time his cases are reported, the police will do nothing about it since he “continually bribes” them with meat.
Responding to these claims Commissioner Jallow said he does not know any butcher in Basse. “I have nothing to do with them because if they give you meat they will go and rob people and expect you to pardon them. There are some people putting on the uniform but accidently do not like the job. They are only waiting for salary, dragging their feet. But if that was not the case at the level of a Station Officer, you should be able to investigate and do the right thing,” he stated.