By Hassan Zaggi
The Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, has disclosed that the officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force are well equipped to provide security in all schools across the country.
This, he said, however, depends on the demand by the state governments.
Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, yesterday, the Minister assured that the federal government is doing everything within its powers to ensure that schools across the country are safe for learning and teaching.
“On the issue of security of schools across the country, if you go to most of the selected schools by the state governments, the police is providing security in the schools. They are there doing what they can do to protect lives and property in the schools.
“Recall that the states were mandated to select schools that will require security cover by the police.
“There are, of course, some instances where the armed bandits overpower the police and other security agencies that are there, but I want to assure you that the police are there and they are well equipped to face these challenges within the limit of what they can do.
“So, we are providing security in the schools and we will continue to do so depending on the demand of the state governments for providing of security in these secondary schools.”
Responding to a question on the current status of the Special Weapon and Tactical Team (SWAT) which was established on October 13, 2020, the Minister said that the SWAT were recruited to face the major criminal activities of arm robbers, arm bandits, disclosing that they have been posted to various states of the federation and are currently carrying out their assignment.
“The only thing is that because it is a new formation, you don’t hear about them but they are there in all states of the federation and they are performing well,” he said.
Earlier, while enumerating the achievements of the Ministry in the past one year, Dingyadi said: “The Ministry of Police Affairs through the Nigeria Police Force embarked on the reform and reorganization of the Police tactical squad including the dissolution of the Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and set up the Special Weapon and Tactical Team (SWAT) on October 13, 2020, to meet the aspiration and yearning of citizens.
“Selected officers for this outfit were trained at the new police training college in Nasarawa state. This became necessary in the wake of the EndSARS protest to reform the police tactical police outfit.”
He assured that the federal government remained, however, committed to sustainable implementation of the legitimate demands of the protesters which led to the establishment of a judicial panel of enquiry to listen to complaints, police infraction against the citizens in various states of the federation.
The Minister also revealed that: “Within the period under review, the ministry obtained approval from the Federal Executive Council for the concession of the 470 million dollars moribund National Public Security Communication Network, which has Close Circuit Television (CCTV) project as a major component
“This facilities were successfully installed in most states of the federation but due to lack of funding for its maintenance, the facilities were left to dilapidate to almost a state of total breakdown. Efforts are currently being made by the concessionaire to revive the project.
“The implementation of the Community policing initiative of the current administration being one of priority deliverables also received great attention.
“It is worthy of note that about 2000 contabularies were trained in several police colleges around the country.
“The successful officers who were trained on basic police duties, public intelligence gathering techniques, rule of law were deployed to their local government areas of origin to aid in intelligence gathering and improve police visibility in their communities,” Dingyadi stressed.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, lamented the level of decay the police formation, especially, their accommodation, popularly known as barracks have suffered in the country.
While commending the Police Affairs Ministry for its efforts so far, he, however, noted that the ministry is under pressure due to the current security challenges in the country.
“I must commend the Minister for his capacity to whether the storm. I went with him round the police formations in Lagos and I was shocked at the level decadence not just of the police facilities but their accommodation which we call the barracks for the police officers. The level of destruction that these police men have suffered in the hands of the hoodlums that hijacked the EndSARS protest last year.
“That is not all, the paucity of men and officers is something to worry about.
“As few as they are, if you now distribute them to the local governments and situate the number of police men in a local communities, you will appreciate the challenge of the ministry of police affairs and the police as an institution.
“If there is an arm of government that have faced the worst form of pressure in this dispensation, it is the police as an institution and the Ministry combine,” Aregbesola said.