Beyond procuring critical operational assets for the Police

Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned critical infrastructure procured for the Nigeria Police for fighting and preventing crimes in the country. At the ceremony, Buhari warned the Police Management Team that he would not accept complacencies in ridding the country of crimes, stressing that security of lives and property of Nigerians is a constitutional obligation.

The president reiterated that the police being a key player in the internal security architecture of the country should not befound wanting and assured of his administration’s resolve to sustaining a well-motivated Police Force. During the commissioning, the President said he had approved the readjustment of police emoluments and the recruitment of 10,000 extra police personnel on an annual basis.

Commissioned were 139 Hilux Patrol Vehicles including 46 Police Smart Surveillance (CCTV Camera-on-the Move)Vehicles, and 11 Tactical Operations Vehicles fitted with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment. Also, nine Armoured Personnel Carriers; five Troop Carriers, and seven Anti-Riot Water Cannon Trucks were showcased. Also commissioned was the Police National Command and Control Centre (NPF-C4i) and the first phase of the Nigeria Police Crime and Incident Data Base (NPC & IDB)Centre.

At the ceremony, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, said he was poised to re-define the nation’s policing framework by ensuring that the Police achieved its internal security objective.

He said that the Police Smart Surveillance Vehicle are fitted with high-resolution, long-distance CCTV monitoring equipment with night electronic functionalities and had already been linked to the Police National Command and Control Centre (NPF-C4i). The vehicles, he said will be deployed for real-time electronic monitoring of the Abuja-Kaduna highway and other major highways and vulnerable locations across the country including the electronic surveillance of NNPC pipelines in the country.

He added that the patrol vehicles will be utilized to strengthen the Safer Highway Patrol Scheme,while the Tactical and Armoured Personnel Carriers will be used for special police operations especially, in support of the anti-banditry, anti-kidnapping and anti-robbery operations. The water cannon trucks is to contain civil disorders within the dictates of democratic values, rule of law and international best practices.

The IGP also explained that the NPF-C4i is fitted with real-time monitoring of situations via video link between the Force Headquarters, Abuja and all the 36 State Police Commands and the FCT. Similarly, the Nigeria Police Crime and Incident Data Base (NPC & IDB) Centre is to aid the Police in acquiring a credible electronic criminal data base to support criminal investigation and strategic operational and tactical planning.

It should be recalled that it was not the first time the Police were unveiling such critical security infrastructure.During previous dispensations, the Police had mounted ICT-driven security infrastructure, at same Force Headquarters. Newsmen were taken through a demonstration of the claimed efficacy the CCTV and surveillance equipment salready installed which provided real-time activities at major streets in Abuja and Lagos.

But, it is disheartening that the project ended at that demonstration stage. No sooner were those equipment installed, than they were stolen and never functioned even for one day. Similar sad incident happened with the CCTV Camera and surveillance facilities installed by the Federal Capital Territory Administration on major streets at the Abuja City Center, only the still pipes of such CCTV monitors are left behind, as thieves had long carted away the camera, batteries and installations put in place at that time.

That is why The AUTHORITY believes that itis not only enough to inaugurate equipments and claim to have deployed same without putting in place facilities to measure its operational efficacy. The theft of surveillance equipment so easily in Abuja and Lagos questions the readiness of our Police leadership to perform their constitutional responsibilities. We insist that promotions at the police should not just be a mere routine or for favouritism as has been alluded to,but should be on verifiable parameters, primary of which should be the officers proven unimpeachable track record. It is believed that the current style of just sending officers who have accusations leveled against them or had obviously failed at their duty posts, only for such officers to hit the promotion list, have not motivated the hardworking ones at all and is at the heart of rising insecurity in the country.

Also, leaving public complaints of acts of misdemeanor against Police officers to gather dust at or the usual recourse to defend the ignoble act of its officers, like the shameless acts of bribery and extortion by police officers are not helping in restoring public confidence on the Police. Those ignoble acts put shame on the citizenry and the IGP has no option than to put such to a stop and to prevaricate or dance around such shameful act.

As the IGP said in his operational order for Christmas and New Year security arrangements, where he assured of effective security of major highways, recreational centres, motor-parks,places of worship, financial institutions and government/private Infrastructures, he should walk his talk. According to DCP Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), the IGP had directed the supervisory officers to ensure that they are personally on ground to monitor and supervise the officers and men put under their watch, warning those detailed to man the high-ways to desist from all forms of misconducts especially acts bordering on unprofessionalism, including extortion and intimidation.

It is important to state that this aspect of the IGP’swarning has little or no impact at all on public perception of the police as such assurances had been given for the umpteenth time in the past without anydiscernible impact on the very notorious activities of policemen that mount road blocks, and on general crime fighting in the country.

The IGP must understand that when the public continue to make observations on violation of his instructions by policemen, members of the public would be compelled to believe that the police hierarchy are benefiting from such misconduct and this notion must be put to a halt by applying appropriate sanctions that is known and witnessed by the public. With the purchase and deployment of new sets of surveillance equipment, all the public needs to reassure that the IGP is walking his talk is reduced criminal activities in the country and prompt and successful prosecution of arrested criminals. Anything short of this will appear as if it is business as usual (unsual).

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