The Federal Government says it had recruited 40,000 police officers in the past four years, in an effort to re-energize and improve the personnel of the force to tackle increasing security challenges in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this in his remarks while declaring open a-two-day retreat for Senior Police Officers in Uyo, on Tuesday.
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Police Affairs, Dr Maigari Dingyadi, said the federal government also granted assent to the Nigerian Police Trust Fund Act and carried out an upward review of salaries and allowances of the rank and file, in a bid to boost the morale of the Force.
He said that other efforts aimed at improving service delivery in the force initiated by the Federal Government included; establishment of a Task Force on need assessment of the Nigeria Police headed by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
He added that the FG also assented to the Nigerian Police Regulatory Bill 2020 as part of measures to reposition the police force.
“This administration has prioritised the reform, re-equipment and re-engineering the Nigerian Police, being the lead and most critical agency in the nation’s internal security architecture.
“Indeed, since the commencement of the current democratic journey in 1999, no government had shown so much commitment to the welfare and institutional advancement of the Nigerian Police than the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“This is evidenced by the Presidential assent that has been granted to the Nigerian Police Trust Fund bill and the promptness with which the Board of Trustees was inaugurated.
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“Furthermore, the Federal Government also approved the recruitment of 40, 000 police personnel over a period of four years, as a pathway towards addressing the huge manpower gap in policing the nation,” Buhari said.
The President also commended the National Assembly and the Nigerian Governors Forum, for their support to the Police Force. He assured that the federal government would continue to accord priority to efforts aimed at re-engineering and re-equipping the force to tackle increasing and complex security challenges of the country.
Earlier, in his address of welcome, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, said the second Conference and Retreat for Senior Police Officers was borne out of the focus of the leadership to emphasize capacity building as a pathway to re-invigorating the Force’s strategic leadership capacity to optimal enhancement of service delivery.
Baba said the senior police officers would utilize the forum to review the vision, mission and strategies of policing, as laid out following his appointment as the 21st indigenous IGP, as well as to assess the police reform initiatives of the Federal Government and the Force leadership. According to him, any organisation without a vision was bound to fail, so the retreat would align the officers with the current and evolving policing and internal security realities.
The IGP said the conference would also avail the senior police officers the opportunity to broaden their knowledge on the cutting-edge technology on new policing strategies.
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“The Retreat and Conference for strategic police managers was borne out of our leadership focus which emphasizes capacity building as a pathway to re-invigorating our strategic leadership capacity towards the enhancement of optimal police service delivery.
“In cognizance of this reality, upon my assumption of the leadership of the Force, I undertook a comprehensive evaluation of our mandate, pattern and trend of crime, capabilities and gaps, expectations of the citizens and the Federal Government, our potentials, and existing strategies.
“The outcome of this exercise convinced me of the need to commence a Police reform initiative that would be driven by a new policing theme, mission, vision, and strategies.
“Hence, I redefined our Policing theme as to ‘Protect with courage and serve with Compassion’, while our new leadership vision is ‘to restore police primacy in the internal security architecture of Nigeria.”
Just as we shall deliver to the nation a modernised, citizen-led, rule of law-guided, professional Police Force that Nigerians can truly trust and depend on to achieve the Policing mandate enshrined in Sections 4 and 5 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.
“To achieve this vision, we are focusing on the following missions; Integration of cutting-edge technology and intelligence-led policing model to our operational and investigation functions.”
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This is with a view to strengthening our capacity to stabilise the internal security order, discourage pre-trial detention, and restore public confidence in the Force,” Baba said.
The IGP said the police would continue to explore all available strategies in guaranteeing security and safety of Nigeria, according to its mandate. In his remarks, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, urged the security agencies to do away with rivalry, collaborate and synergize, so as to ensure an effective and efficient security architecture.
Fayemi, who doubles as the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, advocated for what he described as a multi-level policing to ensure efficiency. He gave the assurance that the governors were ready at all times to support the police, to enable them accomplish the task of securing the country.
“I want to assure you that the Nigerian governors are ready at all times to support you to enable you to accomplish a safe and secure environment for all Nigerians. I believe that we can achieve this with concerted efforts,” he said.
Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, in his remarks, urged the participants to evolve more proactive ways of addressing the security challenges in the country, especially as the nation prepared for the general elections next year. Emmanuel also urged the participants to look into reasons why more young people in the country were involved in criminality now than before, so as to firmly address the menace in order to save the future generation.
“As we move towards the election year, this Retreat cannot be more timely than now, therefore, it is my belief that the conference will bring out proper solutions, through ideas generation, to address the challenges of the time and for better policing of the country,” Emmanuel said.
He pledged the state government’s continued support and cooperation to the police and other security agencies in state, in view of their salient roles in states and national security.