By Augustine Ehikioya
Worried by the increasing security threats in the country, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), IGP Usman Alkali Baba, convened a meeting with Strategic Police Managers at the Force Headquarters, Abuja on Wednesday.
The meeting is to brainstorm, reevaluate and review strategies towards tackling the various security challenges in the country.
During his opening remark at the meeting covered by Security Watch Africa (SWA), IGP said “This is with a view to re-evaluate our strategies towards enhancing our operational response and stabilizing the security order.
“An evaluation of the security situation in the country in recent times shows a concerning trend of an increase in the threat posed to the nation by terror elements, bandits, kidnappers, and other highly organized, and violent criminal syndicates.’
The trend, he noted, is being compounded by the increasing rate of arms trafficking and proliferation.
He added “This has of late occasioned an attack on the Correctional Facility in Kuje during which some high-profile criminals escaped.
“While the Police in conjunction with the other security agencies have succeeded in re-arresting some of the fleeing felons and have enhanced the security of the facility, this incident, and the increasing violent campaigns by armed groups in the country have led to general apprehension among the citizens and continue to present a major threat to our national security.
“Despite this reality within the internal security space, I wish to acknowledge your resilience, sacrifice, courage, initiative, sound operational capacity, and loyalty not only to the Force leadership, but to our dear country in the discharge of your duties.”
But to tackle the security challenges squarely, he urged then to display higher level of commitment.
“I must note that in the face of the current security situation, the citizens of this country and Mr. President demand of us a higher level of commitment to duty towards addressing the prevailing fear of crime among the populace and mitigating the current security threats.
“This is our mandate, and we must commit to achieving it. The pathways for this will form the key object of our deliberation today,” he stated.
The meeting, he said, is also to review the extent of compliance of the Police liaising with the Nigerian Correctional Service Authorities across the country, towards complementing them to prevent any further security breach.
He went on “In addition, the pathways to giving effect to the National Security Council’s resolution on the documentation and streamlining of the operations of commercial motorcycle and tricycle riders across the country as part of the national initiatives that are directed at addressing current and evolving national security threats will also be discussed.
“In this regard as part of major operational initiative to stabilize the internal security order, you are all directed to immediately commence a special visibility policing operation across your Commands.
“This initiative will encompass the crime mapping of your Areas of Jurisdiction, identification of vulnerable points and massive deployment of personnel on motorized and foot patrols of the cities. The initiative also involves the utilization of intelligence to undertake targeted raids on criminal cells.”
The Inspector General of Police also commended them for their exceptional level of professionalism displayed during the recently concluded Ekiti State and Osun State gubernatorial elections.
He charged them to draw on the successes of the two elections in preparation for the 2023 General Elections.
He warned that any police personnel still involved in pervasive acts that compromise professional ethics and violate the fundamental rights of citizens would be held accountable.
He said “I must, therefore, sound out this warning loud and clear that under my watch, any Police Officer that betrays his or her Service oath and tramples on the rights of citizens he or she has sworn to serve and protect, will be identified, isolated and dealt with promptly, firmly, transparently, and in a manner that will leave neither the citizens nor the police personnel in doubt about my determination to separate the bad officers from the professional ones in the interest of the Force.
“It is in furtherance to this that approval was given some days ago for the dismissal and de-kitting of ex-Inspector Richard Gelle who was caught in a viral video dignifying and justifying extortion of members of the public.
“Some other of such viral videos including that of a Police operative that was physically and violently assaulting a citizen with cutlass in Cross River State are being reviewed and I can assure that similar prompt disciplinary action will be initiated against the erring officers and the outcome made public in due course,” he said.
He reassured Nigerians of the unwavering commitment of the Nigeria Police to sustain the synergy with the Military and other security agencies to reverse the current internal security slide.
The IGP added “We, however, cannot achieve this goal all alone. It is only by working in partnership that we can defeat the criminals who are our common enemies that are bent on altering our values for communal peace and security.
“I, therefore, solicit the understanding and continued support of all Nigerians, particularly, in volunteering critical pieces of criminal information which are vital to our mission of securing the public space in the most pro-active manner,” he stated.