IGP

IGP Egbetokun

By Kayode Egbetokun

 I am delighted to accompany the Honourable Minister of State, Hajia Iman Sulaiman-Ibrahim in hosting this Townhall Security Meeting. This Meeting is, indeed, another innovative and highly strategic initiative of the Honourable Minister in her quest to bequeath to the nation, a Police Force that is founded on citizens’ confidence. The initiative is, therefore, critical to my policing mission for various reasons.

Firstly, as the theme projects, the Townhall Security Meeting will aid us in leveraging Community Policing principles and practices towards building partnerships that will strengthen our policing strategies in a manner that will guarantee a safer Nigeria in line with Mr. President’s Internal Security Agenda and as envisioned by the Honourable Minister.

Secondly, this forum has the potentials of advancing the virtues of police – public accountability on one hand, while on the other hand, it provides a unique opportunity for the Force leadership to engage the citizens, feel their pulse on security and safety concerns, and integrate them into the process of evolving pathways towards addressing their security and community safety concerns. This is with the long-term objective of strengthening internal security on a sustainable basis.

Furthermore, as often said, the citizens remain the most important asset in law enforcement and the more accountable we are to them, the more the trust engendered, partnership strengthened, and community safety guaranteed.

In convening this meeting, I hold the firm professional conviction that the Honourable Minister recognizes that the best policing strategy is one that is founded on the principle of inclusivity, trust, public consent, collaboration and bridging of the gap between the Police and the citizens for optimal and cost-effective law enforcement service delivery.

Indeed, by involving the communities and citizens at large in the policing decision making process, the Honourable Minister is merely giving effect to Robert Peels Principles of Policing which emphasise that ‘the people are the police, and the police are the people’. The import of this is that the option of crime management through meaningful communal engagement remains the most potent policing model and my policing vision, strategies and leadership actions are fundamentally entrenched on this firm and time-tested foundation.

By convening this hall meeting, the Honourable Minister is giving the requisite Ministerial leadership towards perfecting this model of policing and aiding my leadership in the process. In cognizance of this, I wish to acknowledge and most sincerely commend the foresight, thoughtfulness, and zeal of the Hon. Minister in appreciating the strategic importance of engaging constantly with the citizens towards the perfection of our community safety and internal security mandate.

While acknowledging that the purpose of a Townhall Meeting of this nature is best served in an interactive, question-and-answer format, I consider it expedient to offer a brief on recent operational and reform activities of the Nigeria Police under my leadership.

 

This, by my reasoning, would give insight into my leadership strides and focus, while laying the foundation for our subsequent citizens’ interaction and inputs in furtherance to the vision of the Honourable Minister, the convener of this strategic meeting.

 

The Honourable Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, following my appointment as the 22nd indigenous Inspector General of Police, I have, under the guidance of the Ministry of Police Affairs, and in close collaboration with the Police Reform Team in the Presidency, emplaced sets of actions that are targeted at giving effect to the reform agenda of the Federal Government.

 

In this regard, the reform actions focus principally on some key areas which I believe will interrelate to form the catalyst that will engender a new police Force, that will meet the aspirations of the citizens, align with global best practices and meet the expectations of the Federal Government.

 

These reform focus of my leadership includes the enhancement of the institutional capacity of the Force; bridging the manpower gap, both in terms of personnel shortfalls and human resource quality; boosting the operational capability of the Force through procurement and distribution of critical operational assets and logistics; and strengthening trust and partnership between the Police and the Citizens through a refocused community policing implementation plan. Others include exploring transnational partnerships and collaborating with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and relevant government agencies towards projecting a new policing doctrine for the Force in line with the agenda of Mr. President and enhancing the professional knowledge of officers through enhanced local and international training opportunities.

 

In specific terms, the following initiatives are being pursued within the context of the Nigeria Police reform and operational efficiency agenda:

  1. Establishment of Special Intervention Squad (SIS).

Upon my assumption as Inspector General of Police, I undertook a holistic evaluation of the internal security dynamics of the country and concluded that as currently constituted, the Nigeria Police Force lacks the capacity to deploy critical cognitive tools towards professionally projecting possible security threats and breaches, as well as respond to them most promptly and professionally.

 

A classical case is the ENDSARS violence which exposed the weak operational preparedness and capacity of the Police in managing internal security breaches. Lagos State in particular, and the nation, at large are yet to recover from the destructive outcome of this experience both in terms of security and economic development, thereby making it expedient that actions be taken towards addressing the operational gaps that occasioned such as a pathway towards preparing for the future.

Determined to address this and drawing on my experience as a Police Mobile Force Squadron Commander, and Commander of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), a highly successful violent crime response concept of Lagos State, I have established a Special Intervention Squad (SIS) which will operate as specially trained, well equipped, well-resourced, elitist and highly mobile standby Police Unit with capacity to anticipate and rapidly intervene and contain any major security breach before they could snowball into wider security threat that could shake the foundation of our national security and economic development.

 

The Squad which is projected to comprise of not less than 40,000 personnel spread in the long-term, across all the 36 States of the federation and the FCT, will be specially trained on crisis de-escalation and violent crime containment strategies, tactics, and operations. When fully operational, it will restore the loss of primacy of the Nigeria Police in internal order management.

Concrete steps have been taken to facilitate the take-off of the project in 10 Pilot States including Lagos State. It is gratifying to note that Mr President has approved the training of the initial batch of instructors for the initiative while logistics and operational requirements are being currently mobilized for a smooth takeoff. I am also elated to note that the United States is also supporting the Police both in terms of training and funding while further grounds are being explored with China in this regard.

 

  1. Safer School Project

The Nigeria Police under my watch has also launched the Safer School Project which, working in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education, is conceptualized to secure our educational institutions and protect our young generation from security breaches that could impede their desire to attain their educational potentials and inhibit educational inclusivity. This plan became expedient following recent experiences of kidnapping, cultism, banditry, terrorism, and other premeditated violent crimes which often target our educational institutions.

 

iii.    Reorganization of the Force Criminal Investigation Department

 

Consequent to widespread concerns on the dwindling investigative potentials of the Force Criminal Investigation Department, a reality that my stint in the Department as the DIG FCID before my appointment as IGP exposed me to, I have initiated actions that are directed at re-organizing, re-capacitating and refocusing the Department. Indeed, the subject of this reform formed part of our thematic focus during our recently concluded Conference and Retreat for strategic police officers in Owerri, Imo State. The far-reaching recommendations advanced during the engagement are currently being reviewed to utilize them towards perfecting the reform of the Department.

  1. Repositioning of the Intelligence Arm of the Force

Intelligence is critical to policing. As often said in police intelligence parlance,Good criminal information, good case. Bad information, bad case. No information, no case’! The intelligence arm of the Force has over the years been struggling to support operational and investigative activities of the Force, thereby limiting the potential for optimal attainment of our internal security mandate. In cognizance of this and determined to reposition the Force Intelligence Bureau on a sound footing, we have given effect to the reorganization plan of the Department. Under the latest arrangement, the Department has been granted full-fledged autonomy with directorate status under the leadership of a Deputy Inspector – General of Police at the Force Headquarters level, while Deputy Commissioners of Police and Assistant Commissioners of Police will head the Zonal and State Command detachments of the Department in fulfilment of the reform being implemented.

Additionally, a purpose-built Head Office for the department has been completed and will soon be commissioned, while specialized training is being explored for operatives. Furthermore, the operatives are being handed new sets of intelligence tasks that will in due course change the policing narratives of this country. I expect that under these initiatives, the requisite strategic leadership and a new focus that will restore the capacity of the Department in Criminal Intelligence activities will be engendered.

 

  1. Reorganization of the Special Action Units of the Force

The groundwork for the reform both in terms of personnel mobilization and demobilization, mandate, operational protocol, and orientation of the Special Action Units (SAU) of the Force comprising of the Police Mobile Force (PMF), Special Protection Unit (SPU), Counterterrorism Unit (CTU) and Special Forces (SF) is being perfected. The intent is to restore the detachments to their traditional duties in such a manner as to reclaim their lost glory and restore their lead roles within the internal security architecture of the country. This is in preparing grounds for the phased scale-down of military deployments in internal security operations, in the long term.

 

  1. Pension Scheme

Aside from these action plans, the Force leadership is working assiduously towards addressing the concerns on the lingering pension scheme of the Nigeria Police Force. The Bill as passed in this regard, is being professionally reviewed to make highlight critical observations that would ensure that the outcome is fit for purpose.

 

vii. Enhancement of the Funding Regime of the Force

On funding enhancement for the Force, my leadership has been working closely with the Ministry of Police Affairs, the National Assembly and the Presidency towards addressing the challenges which the envelope budgetary policy of the Federal Government poses to efficient funding support for police operations. This objective also extends to expanding the funding base of the Force to meet the capital-intensive requirement of policing the rapidly advancing Nigerian population and rapidly changing criminal space. I am delighted to note that this issue is receiving the priority attention of the Honourable Minister.

 

viii. Re-Engineering our Crime Management Strategies

To deepen our capacity to deal with the dynamics of crime, particularly, highly organized crimes, violent crimes, cybercrimes and sundry internal security threats, we have re-evaluated our crime management strategies and have shifted our approach to proactive, intelligence-led, community-driven and technology-guided policing models.

This new approach, I can report, is yielding the desired positive outcome as evidenced by the increasing downward slides in crime trends across the country, the enhanced capacity of the Force to prevent and apprehend criminals, disrupt their networks and recover their crime perfection assets as well as our enhanced prosecution and conviction rates, in recent months across the country. We are striving to sustain this trend.

 

In the area of cybercrime, I am elated to note that the Nigeria Police today, has completed the state-of-the-art National Cybercrime Centre which is headed and staffed by highly trained, globally certified, experienced and specialized cybercrime detectives with cutting-edge technological capacity to frustrate cybercriminals, identify them, professionally investigate them and bring them to justice.

 

  1. Enhancing the Manpower Base of the Force

I am glad to note that the Force leadership is working closely with the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Police Service Commission towards sustaining the recruitment policy as approved by the Federal Government both for the Constable and Officer cadres of the Force. As you are aware, the Constable recruitment exercise is ongoing while the interview for young cadet officers in the Police Academy is also progressing.

 

In this regard, I wish to use this forum to observe that in recent years, Lagos State has not been filling its recruitment quota as most of our youths have not been indicating interest in pursuing careers in the Nigeria Police for inexplicable reasons. I wish to, therefore, encourage the Lagos State Government to complement the Force leadership in sensitizing Lagosians on the need to encourage their children to enhance their interest in the Force towards addressing this challenge.

 

  1. Discipline

Discipline, as often said, is the bedrock of policing. Over the years, however, there have been concerns about the dwindling disciplinary profile in the Force. It is recognized that this is a challenge that requires a well-thought-out approach to mitigate. Hence, the issue of the re-orientation programme for officers of the Force was made one of the focal discourses at the recently concluded Conference and Retreat for Strategic Police Officers in Owerri, Imo State.

 

The intent was to identify critical issues that are underlying this unacceptable professional culture in the Force, project a new orientation and evolve new pathways that will entrench a new, acceptable, professional orientation in a manner that will restore discipline across all ranks in the Force. The recommendations from this initiative are currently being reviewed and will be implemented in due course.

 

This much being noted, I wish to encourage citizens to see policing, communal safety, and security as a joint mandate with the Police. In so doing, they should demonstrate more sensitivity to the issue of crime prevention and offer useful criminal information that will aid the police in keeping them safe. The wider the trust and information-sharing gap between the Police and the citizens, the more we as a people inadvertently empower criminal elements to succeed in their evil plan to threaten our value for peace and security.

 

On this note, I once again thank the Honourable Minister of State, Ministry of Police Affairs for this invaluable initiative and look forward to engaging you all in the interactive session towards engendering a truly invaluable outcome in this Town Hall Meeting.  I thank you all for your attendance and rapt attention.

Remarks By Igp Kayode Egbetokun, PhD, Npm, Inspector General Of Police At The Townhall Meeting Convened By The Ministry Of Police Affairs In Lagos State On Monday, 11th December 2023

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