Mohammed Baba Busu
Even though two years in the life of any administration, especially the Nigeria Police Force, may not be significant enough to make meaningful impact because of the complexity of Nigeria’s security sitution, the case is, however, different this time around.
Since his assumption of office on June 22, 2016, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris, did not hide his intention to make remarkable impact and change the face of the Nigeria Police Force.
At a start, he promised to reposition the Force to be more accountable, responsive, responsible reliable and highly mobile.
To achieve this, Idris and his management team fashionioned out what they christened a Creed.
The concept is aimed at policing the country based on International Best Practices and with integrity in line with the Rule of Law.
This has impacted positively on the behavior of both men and officers of the Force.
It did not come to many as a surprise because, Idris rode on the shoulder of integrity and God-fearing disposition to become the IGP.
In an effort to attract the support of all sections of Nigeria, including the rich, the poor, the highly placed and others to support the Nigeria Police Force in combating crime and criminality in all nooks and crannies of the country, IGP Idris introduced the Eminent Persons Forum.
It was subsequently re-launched in all commands of the country.
Also, the successful conduct of peaceful and hitch-free elections in places like Edo, Ondo, Imo, Kogi, Rivers and Anambra states is no mean achievement considering the way and manner elections are seen as do-or die in Nigeria.
On the other hand, to prove his dislike for corruption and its tendencies, the IGP, for the first time, prosecuted those alleged to have compromised during the December 10, 2016 election in Rivers State.
Six police officers who were found to have violated the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) were dismissed from the Force while 23 INEC staff were arraigned in court and undergoing prosecution.
To show transparency, the 114 million that was recovered from the INEC Staff was deposited in Federal Government Treasury as exhibit.
Concerned about the endless crisis between herdsmen and farmers in some parts of the country, the IGP, in order to be part of the solution to the challenge, initiated the National Security Summit in partnership with Leadership Newspapers.
The outcomes of the summit, as attested by many, were far reaching and when implemented to the latter, will go a long way in providing lasting solutions to herdsmen/farmers clashes as well as kidnapping and other violent crimes in the country.
As part of his promise to ensure that police officers get the needed training for them to perform optimally, IGP Idris, within the past two years, organized over 50 training programmes for the men and officers of the Force within and outside the country.
This has never been done in the history of the Force.
Some of the foreign programmes include AMISOM Media & Communications Training of Trainer course for AU-UN; Crime Scene and Kidnapping Management by the Carabinieri Corps in Italy; specialized course on Police Intelligence and Financial Investigation; ILEA Gaborone-Seeking Nominations for CVE-LAW Enforcement Techniques to Combat Terrorism, and many others.
To provide the enabling environment for men and officers of the force for frequent training and retraining within the country, the IGP reactivated the Police Training Colleges across the country that were neglected and made moribund over the years. They are now in good condition.
Eighty-Nine Police Area Commands in the 37 Police State Commands were also created to ease the concept of Community Policing in Nigeria.
There is no doubt, IGP Idris inherited a Force that was understaffed by all standards. This is because the last recruitment of constables into the Force was done in 2010
This led to the escalation of crimes in different parts of the country because the police were incapacitated due to insufficient officers to man sensitive spots of the country.
As part of his agenda, the IGP quickly made several appeals to President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to increase the police manpower.
This led to the approval of the President for the recruitment of 10,000 Police officers which comprised of Cadet ASPs, Cadet Inspectors and recruit constables. This batch has since completed the training at various Police training institutions across the country and had been posted to Police Commands and other formations.
With the approval by the President, additional 6,000 young and energetic Nigerians were, few weeks ago, recruited into the Force.
Apart from that, findings revealed that the IGP is currently seeking the Federal Government’s approval to recruit at least 31,000 Police officers per year for a period of 5 years.
This is to augment the manpower of the Force and meet the UN standard of 1 Policeman to 400 people.
On welfare, it is on record that it is during the tenure of the IGP Idris that the highest number of police officers and rank and file were promoted.
Over 4,959 senior police officers from the rank of Inspector to DIG were promoted since the past two years.
On the other hand,95,570 rank and file were promoted during the same period.
Meanwhile, few days ago, 3,625 police officers were newly promoted. This brings the total number of officers and men of the force promoted within the last two years to 104,154. This the first of its kind in the history of the Force.
It is also on record that it is only during this tenure in the history of the Nigeria Police Force that men and officers get their promotions when due without any struggle.
Idris has also created special units aimed at improving and enhancing the capacity of the officers. Some of them include Police Public Relations School, Establishment of the Nigeria Police Broadcasting Service (NPBS), Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU).
Previous CRU was changed and broadened to PCRRU to make it more efficient and effective and many others.
In the area of housing, since his assumption of office, the IGP has commissioned 500-Units Police Housing Estate in Badagry, Lagos State, Police Housing Estate in Mbora, FCT Abuja named after President Muhammadu Buhari and many others.
Combating armed robbers, kidnappers, cattle rustlers has formed important focus of crime bursting in the new era.
To say that it was in the time of IGP Idris that the war against notorious armed robbers, kidnappers and other related crimes was intense, is to say the obvious.
This is because during the previous IGPs, notorious criminals like the popular Evans were terrorising and kidnapping Nigerians without anyone confronting them.
However, when IGP Idris came on board, the game changed and the reign of terror by notorious criminals like Henry Chibueze a.k.a. ‘Vampire’ was brought to an end on March 2, 2017.
Vampire died in a gun battle with the operatives of the Force. Eight victims in his captivity were rescued while 6 members of his gang were arrested.
Evans, the popular billionaire kidnapper, was also picked up during the period under review.
Hundreds of kidnappers who kidnapped high profile Nigerians, especially in the Abuja-Kaduna highway, cattle rustlers and armed robbers were also arrested within the last two years in different parts of the country.
The fight against cultism was also intensified in the last two years, leading to arrest of many cultists while many others discovered that the environment was dangerous for their operation and renounced their membership.
For example, 68 cultists recently renounced their membership in Kogi State and abandoned crime.
As part of efforts by the police to end the recent upsurge in crisis, armed robbery, cattle rustling and endless killings in some states of the country, the IGP redeployed special forces to Kafanchan, Abuja-Kaduna highway, Osun, Benue, Abia, Maiduguri, Taraba, Zamfara, Birnin Gwari and many others.
It is therefore, pertinent to say here that, even though the IGP has not solved all the country’s security challenges, however, he has done creditably well.
Observers believe that this uncommon feat warrants the commendation and applause of well-meaning Nigerians.
Busu wrote in from Abuja.