President Bola Tinubu has directed the withdrawal of police personnel from VIP security duties, intending to utilize them in the development of a community policing strategy.
The decision was revealed by the Minister of State for Police Affairs, Imaan Suleiman-Ibrahim, during a two-day management retreat at the Ministry of Police Affairs.
While noting that the Nigeria Police Force and the Ministry of Police Affairs were at a critical juncture, and currently struggling with the consequences of decades of neglect that have hindered their ability to fulfil their constitutional mandate, she added that the ministry was committed to aligning its efforts to contribute to the realisation of Mr President’s vision for a renewed, highly effective NPF.
Suleiman-Ibrahim said, “The Police Inspectorate Department, in particular, should evolve its operations to focus on robust monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning. Reports must be factual, practical, and evidence-based, and serve as critical tools for enhancing police performance. It must champion the review of the curriculum of the training institutions to ensure they are reflective of the evolving landscape of law enforcement, incorporating contemporary practices and international standards.
“The Police Service Department has multifaceted responsibilities and must rise to the occasion by ensuring administrative optimization, making sure that relevant policies and procedures for the police are in place and up to date while also fostering the adoption of cutting-edge technology. It must be at the forefront of efforts to ensure we evolve an intelligence-led, technology-driven, inclusive, and community-based police force in Nigeria.
“The Planning, Research, and Statistics Department must position itself as a knowledge hub, providing historical insights and conducting cutting-edge research to inform policymaking. By fostering partnerships with renowned research institutions and staying current with global trends, this department will play a vital role in shaping evidence-based strategies for the Nigerian Police Force.
“As you are aware, our key mandates include developing and implementing a harmonized police reform report, amending the Police Act, executing Mr President’s directive on the withdrawal of police personnel from VIP security duties, and developing a community policing strategy, amongst others. We must not see these mandates as mere tasks but as transformative initiatives that can enhance internal security in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, in June, The PUNCH reported that following the establishment of the 40,000-man Special Intervention Squad, the Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun announced plans to withdraw Police Mobile Force personnel from VIP escort/guard duties.
Egbetokun who spoke during a meeting with Squadron leaders and Tactical Commanders at the Force Headquarters, said the development was to allow the police to take back its place in the ‘internal security architecture’ of the country.
However, while clarifying the misunderstanding in regards to the IG’s directive concerning the proposed withdrawal of the Police Mobile Force from specialised escort and services for VIPs last Wednesday, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi noted that the NPF did not intend to strip VIPs (who are legally and statutorily entitled to police escorts) of their security details, noting that doing so would be unsafe and counterproductive.
He said, “Get the message right: We understand that there has been some misunderstanding regarding the directive of IGP Olukayode Egbetokun about withdrawing members of the Police Mobile Force Unit from Specialized Escort and Services for VIPs. It’s crucial to provide clarifications to address this.
“First and foremost, let us be clear: at no point did the Force intend to strip VIPs (who are legally and statutorily entitled to Police escorts) of their security details. Doing so would be unsafe and counterproductive. Instead, the objective is to reassign the withdrawn PMF personnel to the recently established Special Intervention Squad.
“For those who genuinely require specialized police escorts, this vital service will continue to be provided by other units of the Force, such as the Special Protection Unit. However, individuals who do not fall within and enjoy the legal framework for such security details would strictly be screened and their applications thoroughly assessed for consideration, if necessary.
“To eliminate any misunderstandings, it’s crucial to clarify that the withdrawal of Police Mobile Force personnel does not equate to a blanket ban on all Police Officers from providing VIP escort services. This withdrawal pertains specifically to PMF personnel, who are just one unit within the broader Police Force.
“We encourage everyone to read the full contents of our press statements rather than giving headlines whimsical meanings and spreading distorted information. For a comprehensive understanding of this matter, we strongly recommend referring to our press releases dated June 29, 2023, July 10, 2023, and July 24, 2023. These statements provide a clear and accurate perspective on this directive.”