Akiolu accuses Buhari of killing Police as military dictator
State Police Best For Effective Community Policing, Says Ambode
The Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of killing the efficiency of the Nigeria Police during his era as a military dictator in 1984.
Akiolu made this accusation yesterday at a public lecture on security organised by the Police High Command, held at the Grand Ballroom of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, with the theme, ‘Providing Strategic Solutions To Emergent Security Challenges: The Essentials of Synergy Among Security Agencies and the Civil Populace.’
He alleged that the problem of the present day Police began with Buhari when he seized all the vehicles under the then Inspector General of Police (IGP), the late Sunday Adewusi, on the suspicion that Adewusi wanted to take over the government then.
While wishing the President a speedy recovery, Akiolu, however, urged him to correct all that he had done in the past now that he is back as a democratic leader. He urged Buhari to aggressively fund the Police, adding: “The military in this country killed the efficiency of the Nigeria Police. The only thing saving us right now is that only a serving a policeman can become an IGP. If not, a retired army officer would have become an IGP.
“We all need to support the Police as the issue of security is not only a problem of the police.”While commending the efforts of the present IGP, Ibrahim Idris, in looking after the welfare of his men, Akiolu charged him to be open-minded and always tell his officers the truth and not what they want to hear.
On the issue of insecurity, especially on highways, he called on the Federal Government and the IGP to establish 10 Police stations within one kilometre on the highways to aid speedy response.
Earlier in his speech, Idris said he was entreating the Federal Government for special courts to facilitate speedy trial of suspected kidnappers currently in Police custody nationwide.
He said: “We are building more area commands to bring us closer to the people. We are building more Police Mobile Squadron units in various parts of the country to take care of violent crimes and we believe with the support of the National Assembly in passing the Police Trust Fund Bill, the Police will be well positioned to tackle whatever challenges we are going to have any time in the country.
“Like I suggested at various fora, what we need to address in this issue of kidnapping is to have a change in legislation, probably creating a special court for kidnapping.“Another thing is limiting the period of trial for suspects, which should be shortened, so that within one or two months, the accused persons are sentenced, because I believe with those changes, things would take their normal shape.
“As I speak now, we have over 1,000 kidnappers in Police stations nationwide. So, if we can have this innovation attached to the issue of kidnapping, I believe it will come to an end very soon.”
Reeling out statistics, the IGP said over 1,000 kidnappers and armed robbery suspects have been arrested since he assumed office, with over 270 last month alone, noting: “Most heinous crimes, especially kidnappings and armed robbery, are being detected with great success.
“I must state with some amount of confidence that our crime prevention and detection strategies have worked, based on the number of kidnappers or armed robbery suspects arrested and even killed during exchange of fire with the Police.
On the arrest of notorious billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudi Onwuamadike, alias Evans, Idris said he would soon be charged to court, adding: “Efforts are daily made to arrest other suspected kidnappers and bandits in various parts of the country.”
The IGP called for synergy among the military, other security agencies and the civilian populace to effectively deal with the challenges of security in the country, noting: “It is in the realisation of this that we have regularly collaborated with the military and other security forces in organising joint patrol.“The civilian populace is also very vital in the fight against crime and criminality in the country. The Police need the collaboration and synergy of the community where they police to effectively deal with crime in the policing space.
“We need the populace to give us information, intelligence and other supports in this crime fighting efforts. It is in this regards that we introduced the concept of community policing strategy.” Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode noted that the nature and sophistication of crime and criminal activities is ever changing.
Represented by his deputy, Dr. Idiat Adebule, the governor said: “In recent times, Nigerians have been faced with security challenges on multiple fronts, which I believe are not insurmountable if we adopt the right strategies and also strengthen the synergy between security agencies and members of the public, especially on intelligence sharing.
“Developing effective solution to emerging security challenges must, therefore, take into consideration the deployment of appropriate technology and strengthening the bond with the people through community policing. “Although the issue of State Police has not gained the desired consensus, I believe strongly that it is the panacea for effective policing that is community based.
“It is a common knowledge that the numerical strength of the Nigerian Police as at today falls short of the minimum requirement relative to our population. “For instance, Lagos State, with a population of over 22 million, has less than 30,000 officers and men.
“While this shortfall can be bridged, to some extent, with the deployment of appropriate technology, the need for a close relationship between the people and the Police, hinged on mutual respect and trust, cannot be over emphasisied.”
Guest lecturer and Professor of Criminology at the University of Jos, Etannibi Alemika, said blamed the government for rivalry among security agencies, saying security agencies should be given specific duties.
“Security agencies, especially the Police, should be well funded. It is when government is funding one security agency at the expense of another that it leads to rivalry.“There is a junkyard of security agencies in Nigeria and instead of creating more security agencies, the ones we have should be well funded and sustained.”
He advised that since the Police are reactive, government should spend money on sectors that can create more jobs and help curb crime, such as education.He lamented the fact that for a period of six years, there was no recruitment in the Nigeria Police until the recent recruitment of 10,000 by Idris, wondered:
“Does this mean that nobody had been analysing the operations of the Police to note the ills?On intelligence-driven policing, Alemika said Police operations without intelligence is like sending the Police to go and die.
Also speaking, a former IGP, Musiliu Smith advised Idris to do something about the accommodation of policemen, so that they don’t become tenants to criminals, as that would also make it easy for them to function well.
“Senior police officers are advised to make use of their best men and not be partial in deployment of personnel to get the best result.“Training is also important for personnel, as the colleges and training schools for the Police are down. The problem of crime coming from the riverine areas and creeks becoming danger zones need to be checked,” he said.
Another former IGP, Sunday Ehindero, added that road networks need to be improved, as ghettos that are not easily accessed by the police are now havens of criminals.