IGP vows to make community policing work
Newly appointed Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun has vowed to make community policing work as he assumed office at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
He stated this on Wednesday when he officially took over the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force from retired IGP Usman Baba.
IGP Egbetokun warned police officers that he won’t tolerate abuse of office, corruption and misconduct, saying commensurate stiff punishment await erring officers.
The new police boss also said he will, in the coming days and months, unveil his strategies and tactics to secure the country and protect Nigerians from all forms of security challenges including banditry and gunmen attacks.
IGP Egbetokun said the salaries of constables recruited sometimes ago are already being looked into and the salaries, arrears and allowances will be paid by month end.
According to him, every law-abiding citizen will be brought on board in the fight against crime under his watch.
The new police chief stressed that human intelligence garnered from communities would be used alongside technical gathering of information to curb crimes.
“Apart from technical intelligence, we are also going to rely so much on human intelligence available in our communities. We are going to be proactive in our approach to solving our community problems,” he said.
Quest For Community Policing
As banditry, vicious herdsmen attacks, killings and abductions increase in Nigeria in the last couple of years, some state government and socio-political groups like the Afenifere and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo had clamoured for community policing to tackle peculiar security challenges in the localities. Prior to the 2023 elections, the groups also called for constitutional review to allow devolution of powers and decentralised policing system.
In 2020, six states in the South-West geopolitical zone jointly formed a regional security operation code-named Operation Amotekun, which has since been backed by law and operational in Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun and Osun states. Also, in 2021, five South-East state governments formed Ebube Agu and the regional security outfit has since been operationalised just as the Benue State Government in 2022 launched the Benue Guards.
However, lack of arms licence for the men of these state-owned security have been said to hamper their effectiveness even as calls grow for the police to let them bear assault rifles like AK-47.
As part of its efforts to make community policing work, the administration of then President Muhammadu Buhari in August 2020 approved the sum of N13.3bn for the take-off of community policing initiative across the country but some challenges have encumbered the implementation of the initiative.
‘Challenges Will Be Addressed’
Acknowledging the challenges in the implementation of the initiative, the new IGP said they would be resolved and community policing is going to work.
IGP Egbetokun said, “On community policing, there is a lot that we are going to do differently in the implementation of the community policing strategies that we are operating presently.
“I discussed that with the retiring IG, my predecessor just before we came here and he told me all the problems we are facing with the implementation of the community policing strategies. We are not going to set it aside, we are going to continue with it but we are going to review a lot of things. We are going to make it work.”
‘Why I Said There Is A Tiger In Me’
On his comment about a tiger and a lion in him ready to devour the internal enemies of Nigeria, the new police boss said, “I said that just to express how very anxious I am to start working and to also convey the message that I am aware that there are enemies that we need to fight together.
“We all need to collaborate together to be able to surmount the security challenges facing our country today. It is going to a collective responsibility. All of us will be involved; everybody will be a policeman. We are going to partner with every group, every law-abiding individual.”
Meanwhile, in his inaugural speech, Egbetokun also promised to uphold the rule of law.
He said: “Today, I am before you with great honour and a profound sense of responsibility as the newly appointed Inspector General of Police. I am most humbled by this opportunity to serve our great nation, and I am fully committed to upholding the ideals of justice, security, and the rule of law.”
“I want to thank Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, for the confidence reposed in me by appointing me to this position. Being appointed as the Inspector General of Police is not just a title for me; it is a commitment and a calling to make a difference.
“I am here not as an individual, but as a representative of a dedicated team united in our shared mission to safeguard the lives and well-being of everyone that lives in our great country. Together, we will strive to build a police force that reflects the values and aspirations of the people we serve.
“Nigeria, our beloved country, is at a critical juncture in its history. We face numerous challenges that require the concerted efforts of every citizen to overcome. As the Inspector General of Police, I firmly believe that our path to a brighter future lies in collaboration, transparency and the reformation of our law enforcement delivery system.”