Nigeria To Experience World-Class Security In 2024 Under IGP Egbetokun

By Adewole Kehinde

“Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”Coco Chanel

I have been following IGP Egbetokun’s outstanding track record and transformative leadership qualities since he was appointed as the Acting Inspector-General of Police on June 19, 2023, by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and I must confess, he is the true example of a round peg in a round hole.

One of the priorities of his administration is to combat the country’s threat of violent crime, hence the establishment of the Special Intervention Squad.

The Special Intervention Squad (SIS) is a specialised unit within the Nigerian Police Force that is tasked with handling high-risk operations, crisis intervention, and rapid response to emergencies. The primary objective of the SIS is to provide swift and effective law enforcement support in situations that require specialised skills and tactics.

Key responsibilities of the Special Intervention Squad include:

Counter-Terrorism Operations: The SIS will be deployed to respond to and prevent acts of terrorism, including hostage situations, bomb threats, and other terrorist activities.

High-Risk Arrests: The unit will be involved in apprehending high-profile criminals, fugitives, and individuals involved in serious offences.

Crisis Response: The unit will provide support during civil unrest, riots, or other critical incidents that require a swift and coordinated law enforcement response.

Specialised Training: Members of the Special Intervention Squad undergo rigorous training in areas such as tactical operations, marksmanship, crisis negotiation, and handling of hazardous materials.

Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT): The SIS will operate as a specialised SWAT team, equipped with advanced weaponry, precision firearms, and protective gear for handling high-risk situations.

It’s important to note that the unit will typically be composed of highly trained and skilled officers who are capable of handling complex and dangerous situations with professionalism and precision.

To achieve the set objectives, the United States Government’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigeria Police Force concerning the operationalization of the Special Intervention Squad.

Formalising the agreement at the Force Headquarters a few weeks ago, the Inspector General of Police noted that it was a joint initiative aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Nigeria Police Force to address emerging security challenges.

“We express our gratitude for the collaboration with the US government. International partnerships are no doubt important in addressing transnational crime and ensuring the overall safety and security of our dear country,” Egbetokun said.

Information at my disposal revealed that the deployment of 40,000 operatives of the Special Intervention Squad, who are currently undergoing training, would begin with Katsina and nine other states.

I am also aware that the proposed commanders that will oversee the squad will be trained in Mexico, while noting that the deployment to the 10 carefully selected states is to pilot the activities of the Special Intervention Squad.

I recalled that in June, when IGP Egbetokun announced the establishment of the 40,000-man Special Intervention Squad, during a meeting with squadron leaders and tactical commanders at the Force Headquarters, some Nigerians kicked against the idea, especially the plans to withdraw Police Mobile Force personnel from VIP escort and guard duties.

To me, the idea was okay, as that would allow the police to take back its place in the internal security architecture of the country.

The Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, later came up with further clarification on the planned withdrawal of Police Mobile Force personnel from VIP escort and guard duties.

He said, “Get the message right: We understand that there has been some misunderstanding regarding the directive of IG Olukayode Egbetokun about withdrawing members of the Police Mobile Force Unit from Specialised Escort and Services for VIPs. It’s crucial to provide clarifications to address this.

“First and foremost, let us be clear: at no point did the Force intend to strip VIPs (who are legally and statutorily entitled to police escorts) of their security details. Doing so would be unsafe and counterproductive. Instead, the objective is to reassign the withdrawn PMF personnel to the recently established Special Intervention Squad.

“For those who genuinely require specialised police escorts, this vital service will continue to be provided by other units of the Force, such as the Special Protection Unit. However, individuals who do not fall within and enjoy the legal framework for such security details would be strictly screened and their applications thoroughly assessed for consideration, if necessary.

“To eliminate any misunderstandings, it’s crucial to clarify that the withdrawal of Police Mobile Force (PMF) personnel does not equate to a blanket ban on all police officers from providing VIP escort services. This withdrawal pertains specifically to PMF personnel, who are just one unit within the broader Police Force.

“We encourage everyone to read the full contents of our press statements rather than giving headlines whimsical meanings and spreading distorted information. For a comprehensive understanding of this matter, we strongly recommend referring to our press releases dated June 29, 2023, July 10, 2023, and July 24, 2023. These statements provide a clear and accurate perspective on this directive.”

As we approach the new year in less than 4 days, the agenda put forth by IGP Kayode Egbetokun for ensuring world-class policing in Nigeria by 2024 will require a multifaceted approach involving various aspects of law enforcement, infrastructure, training, and community engagement.

I will discuss some of the agenda below:

Investment in Training: The IGP is ready to implement comprehensive training programmes for police officers, focusing on modern policing techniques, conflict resolution, community engagement, and respect for human rights. I hope that funds will be released on time for the IGP to achieve this.

Use of Technology: The IGP is also ready to equip the police force with modern technology for crime prevention, detection, and investigation. This includes the use of CCTV cameras, forensic equipment, and digital database systems for efficient information management.

Community Policing: I am optimistic that the IGP will strengthen community policing initiatives to build trust and cooperation between law enforcement and the communities they serve in 2024. This will involve engaging with community leaders, organising town hall meetings, and establishing collaborative partnerships to address local crime issues.

Anti-Corruption Measures: The IGP will continue to implement strong anti-corruption measures within the police force to ensure integrity and accountability. This will involve regular integrity checks, transparent disciplinary procedures, and incentives for ethical behaviour.

Adequate Resources: I hope that the Federal Government will provide adequate funding and resources for the police force, including modern equipment, vehicles, communication systems, and well-maintained facilities.

International Collaboration: The IGP is ready to foster more international collaboration and exchange programmes with reputable law enforcement agencies in 2024 to learn from global best practices and enhance capacity building.

Public Awareness Campaigns: The Force Public Relations Department under the purview of the IGP should launch public awareness campaigns to educate citizens about their rights and responsibilities, as well as the role of law enforcement in maintaining public safety and security.

By implementing these measures in 2024, Nigeria will head towards achieving world-class policing standards. All it requires is sustained commitment, collaboration across different sectors, and a focus on continuous improvement.

I call on all relevant stakeholders and citizens to collaborate with the police in 2024 to shape a future where justice triumphs, the vulnerable find solace, citizens go about their lawful businesses without fear of insecurity or molestation, and every citizen can truly believe in the power of law enforcement.

 

Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached at 08166240846. E-mail: kennyadewole@gmail.com