Genuine and comprehensive reforms and reorganisation of the Nigeria Police Force, including an overhaul of police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the disbandment of some special units have already commenced, acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu has said.
Outlining plans for immediate capacity building training on democratic policing and election security management, he also said the police will work very closely with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to tackle thuggery and other electoral offences as part of strategies to ensure highly credible elections.
At his inaugural conference with the top echelon of the NPF, including states’ Commissioners of Police at Force Headquarters in Abuja on Monday, the acting IGP emphasized that police professionalism and operational tremendous competence affects the credibility of elections.
“All states’ Commissioners of Police are to “galvanize their personnel and mobilize logistics towards ensuring a peaceful and credible outcome of the general elections,” he said, adding that all law-abiding political actors must be secured and offenders must be punished.
“Indeed, in order to ensure that such offenders are conclusively brought to justice, the DIG FCIID has been directed to set up Special Election Investigation Teams (SEIT) that will be tasked with the exclusive functions of taking in custody and undertake detailed investigation of all arrested electoral offenders across the country.
“The Teams shall also liaise with the Independent National Electoral Commission towards the prompt processing of the case files of the offenders for prosecution, Adamu stated.
Speaking further, he presented details of the comprehensive reforms that he planned, stressing that its effects would be felt from the Force Headquarters down to the zonal and state commands across the nation.
“As promised during the handing and taking over ceremony between the immediate past Inspector General of Police and myself, a number of well-thought-out reform initiatives directed at restoring the traditional policing standards of the Force shall be vigorously pursued in all aspects of policing functions, particularly in the operations; intelligence; investigation; training; science, technology and innovation (STD; and monitoring and evaluation within the Force.
“This is in cognisance of the fact that our responsibility as a Police Force is to operate within extant rules and best international policing practices. It also imposes on us the obligation of respecting, protecting and advancing the rights of all citizens of this country regardless of their socioeconomic status.
“Furthermore, public acceptance of the Police under a democratic setting is not influenced exclusively by the number of crimes that are solved but by the manner such are attained: since no Police Force ever succeeds by alienating its citizens, we have firmly resolved that, under my watch, policing will be citizens-centred, rules-driven, and accountability-guided.
“Towards this end, a comprehensive reform both in terms of ethics, Mode of Operation, nomenclature and orientation, function delineation, Command and Control, weaponry, and accountability mechanism will be undertaken in SARS.
“This is with a view to giving full, clear, measurable and accountable intervention to the Presidential Directives on reform and reorientation of the Unit as recently handed down to the Force leadership.
“A reorganisation proposal to this effect is being currently studied, preparatory to its being implemented.
“At the end, a Protocol that will document the outcome of the reform shall be developed; the Protocol shall become the Standard Operating Procedure of the Unit which will be engaged for performance evaluation in aid of accountability process and disciplinary concerns.
“It shall also act as a guide for the review of specific operations involving the Unit with a view to drawing lessons and identifying gaps which can be bridged in order to strengthen the operational engagements of the Unit across all commands
“This initiative will be undertaken in close collaboration, with the Presidency, Office of the National Security Adviser, Ministry of Interior, Police Service Commission and Human Rights Groups, Development Partners and other strategic stakeholders.
“The proposed re-organisation will produce a new Special Anti-Robbery
Unit which will be professional enough to protect the citizens in their line of duty, but uniquely potent enough to respond to any major weapon-related organised crimes in the swiftest and most ethical manner.
“While this initiative is being perfected, the operations of SARS With is currently centralised at the Force Headquarters is hereby decentralised: consequently, with immediate effect, the Commissioner of Police in each of the 36 Police Commands and the FCT is to assume full Command and Control authority on all SARS in their Commands, while the FHQ Unit is, henceforth, subsumed under the command of the DIG FCIID.
“The import of this is that the DIG FCIID and Command CPS shall from this date, not only assume administrative and operational control of SARS in their respective Commands, they shall also be directly held liable for any professional misconducts resulting from the operations of the Units in their Commands.
“Consequently, they are to immediately undertake a detailed evaluation of the Units in their Commands and submit a report to my Ollice within the next two weeks.
“Similarly, all quasi-investigation and operations outfits including the Special Investigation Panel (SIP) and Special Tactical Squad (STS) or any other such Teams under whatever name are hereby disbanded.
“The DIG FCIID is to take over and review all cases that such Teams are currently handling as well as official assets and submit a detailed report to my Office within two weeks.
“Similar comprehensive reorganisation will be undertaken in the investigative, intelligence and special operations arms of the Force comprising of the Police Mobile Force, Counterterrorism Unit and the Special Protection Unit.
“This re-positioning process will eventually cascade down to the Zonal and State Command levels; the essence is to restore order and apply a break to the current slide in policing standards, discourage the proliferation of multiplicity of outfits competing for operational space in the most unprofessional manner.
“We shall enhance the capacity of the Force towards situating our operations within the principles and practice of Intelligence-led policing and human rights standards and align our operations to modern dynamics.
“To the officers attending this conference, I charge you to remain dedicated to your professional calling, exhibit the highest possible level of leadership and the strongest possible quality of character towards advancing our common mandate of ensuring internal security and guaranteeing a peaceful and credible electoral process,” Adamu stated.
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