The Acting Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr Olukayode Egbetokun, says plans are underway to set up a standby special intervention squad to be deployed to any crisis zone in Nigeria.
Egbetokun made this known on Tuesday in Ibadan during the opening ceremony of a two-day retreat for retired I-Gs.
He explained that the idea of setting up the squad was to restore the Police Mobile Force (PMF) back to its original concept.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the retreat has as its theme: “Intervention of former I-Gs for strategic contribution to effective policing in Nigeria”.
Egbetokun said some officers of the PMF would be mobilised, retrained, kitted and enumerated specially to make them function like the PMF of those days.
He added that they would not be deployed to guard duties or as escorts of Very Important Personalities (VIPs) as obtainable now.
The Acting I-G said officers of the squad would be housed and prepared for deployment at short notice to any crisis zone in Nigeria.
“We intend to have this squad in every state of the federation, but we realised that we might not be able to do it simultaneously.
“So, we have identified some states that we are going to use as pilot states for the scheme. But the whole idea is just to have the PMF that we really need,” he explained.
Egbetokun added that the Police management had also taken steps to address the shortage of manpower in the Force.
He added that the Police was getting good support from the Federal Government to make sure that it increased its yearly recruitment.
The Acting I-G further said the Police had put in place a lot of measures to mitigate the challenges of physical security and policing generally.
He explained that these were carried out with the aim of improving service delivery and reducing crime to the barest minimum.
“Our new policing vision is to have in place a professionally-competent, service- driven, rule of law-compliant, people-friendly Police Force.
”It is one that will support government’s agenda of economic recovery and growth, as well as social and political development of Nigeria.
“We are looking forward to a Police Force that will be well positioned to respond appropriately and adequately to the dynamics of crime and criminality in Nigeria.
“It is difficult to have such a Police Force without understanding the multi-faceted nature of the challenges that we have.
“The challenges today are numerous and multi-faceted and require a multi-faceted approach to tackle,” Egbetokun said.
The Acting I-G noted that one cannot be talking of just human security without considering economic and environmental security, because they are all inter-connected.
He said there was the need to understand the connection of these challenges, because attending to human security and neglecting the others would not solve the problem.
“Fortunately, we have a government in place led by President Bola Tinubu, who has pledged to improve the security agenda for the nation, to look at all these problems and tackle them holistically.”
Egbetokun said attention was now being given not only to human security but challenges of the environment, while economic and other challenges were now being addressed.
“The former I-Gs are the conscience and soul of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and custodians of police institutional memories.
”Their forum will give me the opportunity to tap from their wealth of experience.
“The guidance of these former police bosses is very important and critical to the success of my tenure, and I will regularly engage with them as part of my action plan,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of the Committee of Retired I-Gs, Alhaji Aliyu Attah, said the retreat was “to reflect on their collective journey in the NPF”.
Attah said it would also enable them to share experiences and chart a path towards repositioning their committee for greater impact.
“This event will reposition us for relevance and strategic interventions within the ever-evolving and competitive national security landscape.”
He also noted that the security challenges facing the country had become increasingly complex and multi-faceted.
“The dynamics of criminality are being exacerbated by the 21st century technological advancements, which birthed an information superhighway, daily employed and exploited by criminal elements in the society for their nefarious activities.
“The changing security needs and safety aspirations of our citizenry, therefore, demand that the NPF, as the agency statutorily entrusted with primacy of internal security management, must remain focused, innovative and proactive in our pursuit of a secure and prosperous Nigeria,” Attah said.
The committee chairman further explained that there was no doubt that the internal security management in the country by the police had been fraught with challenges and issues.
He decried the consequential effects of the continuous decline in the belief of the people in the ability of the police to guarantee adequate internal security in Nigeria.
“The seemingly ever-stretching parallel lines between the performance of the NPF and the expectations of the people, have been further compounded by the creation of other security agencies, which has negatively affected the adequate funding of the NPF.
“And on the other hand, this has deepened inter-agency turf war due to over-lapping responsibilities and duties.
“It is no news that police primacy in internal security management has been eroded, as other organisations that ordinarily ought to be invited to aid in the maintenance of internal security are now taking lead positions in issues of internal security in Nigeria,” Attah stated.
Attah expressed optimism that the retreat would provide the former I-Gs with a platform to harness their collective wisdom and expertise.
He said this could be achieved by reinvigorating the committee and its role in shaping the present and the future of the police towards an enhanced and virile national security architecture.
Seven retired I-Gs attended the opening ceremony of the two-day retreat, namely Ogbonnaya Onovo, Hafiz Ringim, Solomon Arase, Mike Okiro, Sunday Ehindero, Ibrahim Idris and Aliyu Attah.
Also in attendance were the General Secretary of the Association of Retired Police Officers, Mr Sunday Chukwura, and the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) South-West, Abiodun Alabi.
There was also the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Adebola Hamzat.
The Acting I-G later paid a courtesy visit to the office of the Oyo State Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, where the Deputy Governor, Mr Bayo Lawal, received him on behalf of the governor.
Egbetokun appreciated the state government for the support being given to police personnel in the state, saying the Police would not have recorded so much success without this.
He urged the state government to continue supporting the Police so that it would continue to serve the public effectively.
In his remarks, Lawal appealed to the Police authorities to bring more personnel to the state, noting that police personnel in the state were over-stretched.
He also requested that the PMF Squadron 72 at Ago-Aare needed to be fortified to enable it perform optimally.
“I can assure you of the commitment of Gov Makinde’s administration to continue supporting the Police,” Lawal said.(NAN)