By Olumuyiwa Adejobi.
The appointment of Acting Inspector-General of Police, Ag. IGP Olukayode Adeolu Egbetokun, PhD, NPM, has definitely changed the rhythm of Police tradition most especially on certain administrative and operational engagements which will surely trigger a paradigm shift for the betterment of our internal security architecture. In his maiden speech, Egbetokun has christened himself a lion and tiger ready to devour criminals in Nigeria, and he matched his words with actions by rolling out his strategic action plans including the establishment of a Special Intervention Squad that will be deployed to the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and other areas prone to terrorists attacks.
It has however become pertinent to critically analyze the recent developments regarding the proposed withdrawal of Police Mobile Force (PMF) personnel from Very Important Persons (VIPs) to form the Special Intervention Squad announced by the Acting Inspector General of Police. One will ordinarily think Egbetokun’s pronouncement is as usual, like preceding announcements by previous IGP’s, which never saw the light of the day, or were never complied with by officers and men on the field. It is imperative to state categorically that this policy is not a regular procedure as the Ag. IGP’s approach includes the setting up of a committee to guide the process and the exploration of the use of supernumerary officers, in line with the provisions of Sections 23 to 25 of the Police Act 2020.
The incessant abuse of police officers attached to certain individuals and companies on guard or escort duty has become worrisome and detestable, particularly by the present leadership. This necessitates the drive to not only deploy these officers for strategic police assignments, but to also sanitize the police, review the process and deployment of men on VIP guards, in order to restore the dignity of the personnel in particular, and the NPF in general.
The decision to withdraw PMF personnel from VIPs and establish a Special Intervention Squad is aimed at ensuring a more inclusive and effective security framework that caters to the needs of all Nigerians rather than a select few. This strategic shift in approach recognizes the importance of equal access to security services for all citizens and seeks to enhance the overall safety and well-being of the Nigerian populace. The current leadership possesses the requisite zeal to enforce the directive and monitor the withdrawal process, ensuring it is seamless while gradually moving away from individual protection to collective general social safety
By establishing a committee to guide the process headed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of operations, the IGP is demonstrating a commitment to transparency, accountability, and actualization of the policy for improved public safety. This committee will oversee the implementation of the withdrawal process and ensure a smooth transition while addressing any concerns or challenges that may arise. It will work in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including VIPs, to ensure that the interests and security requirements of all concerned are duly considered.
Furthermore, the exploration of the use of supernumerary officers aligns with the provisions of Sections 23 to 25 of the Police Act 2020. This legal framework allows VIPs to employ individuals for their security and have them trained by the police as supernumerary officers. This approach not only provides an opportunity for VIPs to have dedicated security personnel but also ensures that these individuals receive proper training and adhere to professional standards set by the police.
The introduction of a Special Intervention Squad will further enhance the capacity of the Police Force to respond swiftly and effectively to emerging security challenges across the country. This specialized unit will be adequately equipped and trained to handle critical situations and provide rapid assistance where needed. The focus on establishing this squad demonstrates the IGP’s commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all Nigerians.
In conclusion, the proposed withdrawal of PMF personnel from VIPs and the establishment of a Special Intervention Squad by the IGP represent a significant departure from previous approaches. The involvement of a guiding committee and the exploration of supernumerary officers under the provisions of the Police Act 2020 ensure that the process will be inclusive, transparent, and effective. This strategic shift aims to create a security framework that caters to the needs of all Nigerians, promoting equal access to protection and fostering a safer environment for the entire nation.
CSP OLUMUYIWA ADEJOBI is the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO)
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