Welcome you all to this Conference which was convened to brainstorm on the state of security in the country. This is with a view to re-evaluate our strategies towards enhancing our operational response and stabilizing the security order.
An evaluation of the security situation in the country in recent times shows a concerning trend of an increase in the threat posed to the nation by terror elements, bandits, kidnappers, and other highly organized, and violent criminal syndicates. The trend is being compounded by the increasing rate of arms trafficking and proliferation. This has of late occasioned an attack on the Correctional Facility in Kuje during which some high-profile criminals escaped.
While the Police in conjunction with the other security agencies have succeeded in re-arresting some of the fleeing felons and have enhanced the security of the facility, this incident, and the increasing violent campaigns by armed groups in the country have led to general apprehension among the citizens and continue to present a major threat to our national security.
Despite this reality within the internal security space, I wish to acknowledge your resilience, sacrifice, courage, initiative, sound operational capacity, and loyalty not only to the Force leadership, but to our dear country in the discharge of your duties. This is the spirit that we set out to advance in the policing agenda which I laid out following my assumption of duty as Inspector General of Police and I am delighted that you have keyed into this our new policing Mission.
However, I must note that in the face of the current security situation, the citizens of this country and Mr. President demand of us a higher level of commitment to duty towards addressing the prevailing fear of crime among the populace and mitigating the current security threats. This is our mandate, and we must commit to achieving it. The pathways for this will form the key object of our deliberation today.
Also, to be reviewed during this Conference is the extent of compliance with my directives that you all liaise with the Nigerian Correctional Service Authorities in your Areas of Responsibility, jointly review the existing security architecture with a view to identifying vulnerabilities at the Custodial Facilities and complement the Service in upscaling security in and around such Facilities to prevent any further security breaches in line with the directives of Mr. President.
In addition, the pathways to giving effect to the National Security Council’s resolution on the documentation and streamlining of the operations of commercial motorcycle and tricycle riders across the country as part of the national initiatives that are directed at addressing current and evolving national security threats will also be discussed.
In this regard as part of major operational initiative to stabilize the internal security order, you are all directed to immediately commence a special visibility policing operation across your Commands. This initiative will encompass the crime mapping of your Areas of Jurisdiction, identification of vulnerable points and massive deployment of personnel on motorized and foot patrols of the cities. The initiative also involves the utilization of intelligence to undertake targeted raids on criminal cells.
I wish to commend you all for the exceptional level of professionalism which was displayed during the recently concluded Ekiti State and Osun State gubernatorial elections and which engendered a largely peaceful electoral process and credible outcome of the elections. As we prepare for the 2023 General Elections, I charge you to draw on this success towards enhancing our election security management operations during the exercise.
In aid of this process, I can confirm that arrangements have been perfected for the commencement of the Election Security Management Workshop which is being organized by the Nigeria Police in conjunction with Solar Security and Consult Company Ltd. The Opening Ceremony and national flag-off of the programme will hold tomorrow Thursday, 4th August 2022 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. The Workshop which will hold across the six geopolitical Zones, targets the training of about four hundred police officers with slots allocated to the Military, Department of State Services and all other sister security agencies that complement the Nigeria Police in the election security management framework.
The Workshop is designed to broaden the knowledge and sharpen the operational competence of strategic officers on election security management as well as build professional network that could be deployed to change the narratives on election security governance during the 2023 General Elections. This phase of the exercise will be delivered as a train-the-trainers initiative in which all participants will be expected and supported to return to their Commands and Formations and transfer the knowledge to be acquired to a wider group of officers.
In view of the strategic importance of this Workshop, it is hereby directed that the AIG Federal Operations, AIG Police Mobile Force, AIG Counterterrorism Unit, AIG Border Patrol, AIG Airwing, CP Special Protection Unit, CP Force Intelligence Bureau, CP Special Tactical Squad, and DC Intelligence Response Team should, by virtue of their critical roles in election security planning and operation, remain behind after the opening ceremony of tomorrow and attend Workshop at the Abuja Training Centre. All the Commissioners of Police in the States that will be hosting the Workshops are also directed to physically attend the training, while all other AIGs and CPs are to ensure that they make adequate logistics arrangement to support the attendance of personnel nominated from their commands.
Let me at this juncture, once again remind you that my policing vision is built on the virtues of professionalism, and respect for rule of law and citizens’ rights. However, recent developments shows that some intransigent and incorrigible personnel under your commands are still involved in pervasive acts that compromise professional ethics and violate the fundamental rights of citizens.
For the avoidance of doubts, much as the law has bestowed on us certain powers and authorities to aid in the attainment of our law enforcement mandate, the exercise of these powers and authority is not absolute and you shall at every point of the misuse of such, be held accountable. My covenant with Nigerians and our service oath is to uphold the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which is built on the projection and protection of the rights and well-being of all citizens.
I must, therefore, sound out this warning loud and clear that under my watch, any police officer that betrays his or her Service oath and tramples on the rights of citizens he or she has sworn to serve and protect, will be identified, isolated and dealt with promptly, firmly, transparently, and in a manner that will leave neither the citizens nor the police personnel in doubt about my determination to separate the bad officers from the professional ones in the interest of the Force.
It is in furtherance to this that approval was given some days ago for the dismissal and de-kitting of ex-Inspector Richard Gelle who was caught in a viral video dignifying and justifying extortion of members of the public. Some other of such viral videos including that of a police operative that was physically and violently assaulting a citizen with cutlass in Cross River State are being reviewed and I can assure that similar prompt disciplinary action will be initiated against the erring officers and the outcome made public in due course.
Indeed, the review of these viral videos on abuse of police professional standards and the rights of citizens will be undertaken as part of this strategic meeting. This is with a view to holistically evaluating the root causes of such intolerable misconducts and evolve sets of actions that will prevent such occurrences in future. I once again, charge you to continue to provide strategic leadership that will remain sensitive to issues of rights violations, and excessive and unjustifiable use of authority by police personnel in your Commands while being conscious of the fact that such, if unchecked, will deepen the trust gap between the citizens and the Police and make the attainment of our mandate difficult.
To aid this process, I have directed that the recently enacted Nigeria Police Act, 2020 and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act which are key legal policing instruments be printed and widely circulated across all Commands and Formations. This is with the expectation that the initiative will broaden the professional knowledge of officers, particularly, in relation to their mandate, limits of their powers, and their obligations within the criminal justice administration system in Nigeria.
I wish to conclude this remark by re-assuring all citizens of the unwavering commitment of the Nigeria Police to sustain the synergy with the Military and other security agencies to reverse the current internal security slide. We, however, cannot achieve this goal all alone. It is only by working in partnership that we can defeat the criminals who are our common enemies that are bent on altering our values for communal peace and security. I, therefore, solicit the understanding and continued support of all Nigerians, particularly, in volunteering critical pieces of criminal information which are vital to our mission of securing the public space in the most pro-active manner.
On this note, I welcome you all to this Conference and look forward to a frank professional engagement and an outcome that will strengthen our current strategies towards stabilizing the current challenging internal security situation and restore ethical standard in our line of duty.
I thank you all for your attention.