Insecurity in S/W Nigeria: Shape of IGP’s New Special Forces


File: Nigerian Policemen

…IGP Preempts the Governors

Ademola Adegbamigbe

The Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu, on Monday, 2 September 2019, held a security summit with representatives of the governors of South West in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital and the headquarters of the Old Western Region. The location was symbolic.

From the submissions of the IGP, it was as if he took the wind off the South West governors’ sail by launching his own special forces first. That bandits and other desperadoes made the geo-political zone a hell for all was a big embarrassment to the Police High Command. For bloody civilians to come up with a solution before the Police whose fundamental duty is to secure lives and properties, would have been a greater demystification still! One reason that shows that the governors and the IGP were not working in lock step was that they gave the meeting which took place at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan a wide berth. Governors of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti states  were represented by their deputies –  Obafemi Hamzat (Lagos), Mrs Noimot Salako-Oyedele (Ogun), Agboola Ajayi (Ondo) and Bisi Egbeyemi (Ekiti).

However, for the sake of protocol, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo was the chief host but he reiterated his government’s achievements in the area of security of citizens of the state, promised to support whatever initiative the IGP launched and touched on the resolves of his colleagues too in the zone to safety.

This is against the backdrop of the plan of the governors to come up with their own security  squad. On 2 August, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun revealed how he and his colleagues in the zone were planning to operate a joint security team to patrol the entire region. Abiodun said this in Abeokuta at the sensitisation programme on the vision and focus of his administration held in preparation of the 2020 budget. “A joint security team that will patrol major roads and provide adequate security to the people of the South-West region of the country will soon be set up,” he said.

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On 28 July, Governor Makinde, at a special thanksgiving service in honour of his mother, Madam Abigail Makinde, at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Yemetu, Ibadan, revealed  that governors in the South-West region had agreed to launch a new security architecture in August. Indeed, the governors have held two meetings, one in Ibadan and another in Akure. A statement his the Chief Press, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the governors of South-West states have been meeting to find lasting solutions to the security challenges in the region.

In his words: “I and other governors of the South-West have met on how to launch a new security architecture before the end of August 2019. The first 100 days of this government will be on the 5th of September and before the 5th of September, we will launch a new security architecture in Oyo State.”

However, IGP Adamu launched his on 2 September! His Special  forces to be called ‘Safer Highway’ Motorised Patrol Scheme as well as the ‘Safer City’ Scheme are to be commanded by a commissioner of police, to be  supported with technology, better equipment and Community Police Officers (CPOs). He told the audience: “Within this perspective and in relation to the Southwest geo-political Zone, we shall soon re-launch the ‘Safer Highway’ Motorised Patrol Scheme as well as the ‘Safer City’ Scheme. We have since purchased new fleet of patrol vans to be deployed across our highways and cities. This will also involve the deployment of cutting-edge CCTV technology for surveillance across the highways and vulnerable locations in our communities in the zone and other parts of the country.

“In addition, a special operation is underway across the Southwest geo-political zone. The operation will specifically address the threat of kidnapping and armed robbery on the highways and other locations. While for operational reasons, I would not offer the details into the operation, I am in this summit with the Commissioner of Police who will command the special operation to complement the efforts of the Police Commissioners in the states within the zone.

  • Special forces to be commanded by a Commissioner of Police

  • Serviceable and fast moving patrol vehicles to fight crime

  • Police to synergise with Obas

  • Also OPC to participate

  • Deployment of CCTV

  • Area surveillance of trouble points

  • Employment of Community Policing Officers (CPO) to perform low risk security functions

  • There will be a Committee of police, other security agencies, OPC, Miyetti Allah

 

“Furthermore, in order to give full effect to our Community Policing Vision as a pathway towards bridging security gaps, we shall soon commence the implementation of the strategy in the Southwest and other parts of the country. Hopefully, the breakdown of the Community Policing deployment plan will cover the recruitment of a total of forty thousand (40,000) Community Police Officers (CPOs) across the country.

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“The CPOs will be recruited from within the communities where the prospective applicants reside and an average of fifty (50) CPOs are to be engaged in each of the 774 Local Government Areas. In addition, one thousand (1,300) CPOs will be drawn from professional bodies like the academics, road transport unions, artisans, traders associations, religious bodies, women unions, and youth organisations among others in order to ensure diverse representation.”

“Generally-speaking, the security situation across the country has been stabilized. However, there are isolated cases of kidnapping and armed robbery in the Southwest, particularly, along Benin-Ore-Lagos Highway and across Ondo State.

“The reality is that the current concerted operations of the police and other security agencies across the country, particularly, along the Niger-Kogi-FCT-Kaduna-Katsina and Zamfara areas, have engendered a dispersal and re-location of some of the criminals to new localities including the Southwest.

Adamu added that “a more significant outcome of the initiative is the enhanced trust between the communities and the police and a renewed determination to embrace the police as ‘their police’ who are committed to serving them. In consequence, there has been a remarkable increase in the volume and quality of pieces of criminal information shared by the citizens across the Northwest geo-political zone with the local police and these are being optimally utilised to take the anti-crime war to the door steps of the criminals with resounding success.”

Apart from Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, who pledged his administration’s support for the plans, Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola urged the IGP Adamu, to consider the states’ peculiarities in the recruitment of new policemen and officers. He added: “On our part, we have been doing our best to champion the core fundamental objectives of government which is the security of lives and property of the citizens.

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“We are providing logistics to our security agencies. We have maintained the available security vehicles- 25 Armoured Personnel Carriers. We are planning to buy more. We are also planning to build a helipad to boost security surveillance in the state and ensure effective performance.

“We have approached the security chiefs to stamp out those criminals that are parading themselves as miners. It is in view of this that I commend my colleagues in the Southwest for the synergy that exists between us regardless of politics to keep our region safe”.

Many Yoruba traditional rulers at the event include: The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; the Owa Obokun of Ijesland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji; Olugbo of Ugbo land, Oba Frederick Akinruntan; Alake of Egba land Oba Adedotun Gbadebo and the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu.

The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Chief Gani Adams, also lent the OPC’s support to the new plans.



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