A social analyst, Mr Shina Philips, has said President Muhammadu Buhari needs to complement his strategy of retaining his service chiefs to ensure stability in police leadership, and guarantee a holistic approach in the fight against criminality.
Philips, the Founder and President of Nigeria Pitch Award analysing recent developments in the Nigeria Police, said on Tuesday in Lagos, that the incumbent Inspector-General of Police and the entire Police Force were central to the success of the battle against criminals.
“Unfortunately, the Police has not enjoyed the same stability in leadership that has repositioned the military to sustain the fight against criminals.
“Between 2015 and January 2021, Nigeria has had three Inspectors-General of Police, each signalling a shift in strategy,’’ the International Assessor on Security to Security Watch Africa said.
Philips noted that the current Police Chief, Mohammed Adamu had demonstrated his capability in leading Africa’s largest Police Force and exemplified his adaptability to cooperate and collaborate with the military in combat situations.
“I-G Adamu’s tenure has already championed a few security innovations which are bound to change our perception of the force and adequately reposition it to better serve the populace.
“The Community Policing Initiative which Adamu is championing across the nation is the 21st-century solution to insecurity in many modern societies.
“The initiative, currently at an advanced stage of implementation, is poised to bridge the gap between the force and the populace.’’
He recalled that in November 2020, the first set of recruits trained as Special Constabulary passed out in different states across the nation.
“The import of their operations is that they will ease some pressure on the Police and provide useful intelligence to aid the Police and the Military in the fight against criminality.
“As this set of security officers join the fight against crime, their continued success depends on stability in the hierarchy of the force.
“The 2020 #EndSARS protests is the clearest example of an I-G that is set and determined to sustain the force’s friendship and cooperation with the civilian populace.
“The protest against police brutality triggered a wave of violence which culminated in the burning of 205 police stations and formations and the death of 22 police officers,’’ he added.
According to him, the I-G ordered his men to use minimal force while dealing with protesters. This perhaps is responsible for the high casualty figures the police suffered.
“In a recent release, the police authorities announced that in 2020, 21,296 suspects were arrested for crimes ranging from homicide, robberies, kidnapping, unlawful possession of firearms and cultism.
“In several operations, the Police recovered 133,496 rounds of live ammunition, 960 vehicles and rescued over 1,000 victims of kidnapping.
“This year is poised to be the tipping point in Nigeria’s fight against insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements.
“To sustain this fight, the president should keep the current Police leadership in place and continue to foster inter-agency collaboration.
“The president is the only person empowered by law to appoint the Inspector-General of Police. Notwithstanding what has been said and written, the president reserves the right to either extend the tenure of the I-G or appoint another competent officer as he deems fit and appropriate.
He noted that there were well trained, experienced, visionary and well-focused police officers who with I-G Adamu. They have worked with this I-G and can tap into his wealth of experience to continue to fight criminality.
“If another visionary senior police officer is brought in to head the force, the president should work towards accomplishing the medium and long term plans of the Nigeria Police,’’ the analyst said.
He added that such medium and long term plans as police reforms, renovation of police barracks and formations across the nation and Police training and retraining were motivation that would engender success in the fight against criminality.
He said that re-introduction of the now rested Exchange Programme with countries with more advanced Police Force would further enlighten and expose our officers to modern policing strategies and tactics.
He also listed upgrading of the Police Computer and Information Centre to combat cyber-terrorism and crime, massive improvement in the welfare of police officers across the rank and file and senior cadre as part of the solutions.
Others are rejigging and reviving all police training facilities spread across the country and re-equipping, re-tooling and re-arming police machines, vehicles and armoury.
“These are patently among the immediate needs of the Nigeria Police and the I-G and his management team would generally need more than a year or two in office to accomplish these, giving that the Federal Government has consistently demonstrated its readiness to rebrand the force.
“The Police authorities’ need a lot time and support from the president. It is gladdening that the president recently accented to the Police Act (Amended) 2020 which has introduced sweeping reforms and stipulated a fixed tenure for the I-G.
“These fundamental changes and reforms will visibly boost police morale and improve citizens’ confidence in the force while improving relations between the civilian populace and the force.
“President Buhari has demonstrated his support for reforming the Police Force. On 24 June 2019, Mr President signed the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (Establishment Act) 2019 and on 6 May 2020, and he appointed the Board of the Trust Fund, signalling its take-off.
“The president also approved the take-off of Community Policing in the
country and in December 2019, he inaugurated the newly acquired Police operational vehicles and equipment at the Force Headquarters.
“These signalled the president’s commitment to Police welfare. We will expect this presidential support to continue as the president makes this momentous decision of who leads the Nigeria Police Force in the coming years,’’ he said.
He said that an improved Police Force was the joy of any society and the collective legacy of the people.
“It makes governance relatively easy and allows economic, social and political activities to thrive. The time to do it is now, not later.