The Acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba yesterday convened a meeting of Police Strategic Commanders – Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, Commissioners of Police and Deputy Commissioners of Police (Operations) – in charge of the South-east and South-south states to brainstorm on how to tackle the security crisis in the two zones.
The meeting, held at the Force headquarters, Abuja, few days after the twin attacks on the Imo State Police Command and on the Nigerian Correctional Service in Owerri, the state capital, was part of efforts by the new police leadership to critically diagnose the security threats in the regions and evolve new policing strategies and responses towards tackling them.
On the same day, the new IG approved the appointment of AIG Hafiz Inuwa as Force Secretary, while AIG Dandaura was redeployed to Zone 7 Police Headquarters, Abuja. Baba also reappointed Frank Mba, a Commisioner of Police, as Force Public Relations Officer, while CP Idowu Omohunwa retains his position as Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to the IG.
It also emerged yesterday that units of the just introduced Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) had been deployed in police commands across the nation.
At the meeting, which the IG said was to review the “critical” security situation in the two geo-political zones, he said: “We have called this meeting to discuss issues affecting us in the South-east and South-south geo-political zones.
“We have a very critical situation in the two zones which needs immediate attention, rejigging our strategy to ensure that it is contained. It is not like we do not have problems in other geopolitical zones of the country, but we have to address them one after the other.’’
He said calling a larger meeting of all Commissioners of Police and other senior officers would not be alright at the moment because of COVID-19 protocols.
The IGP, while noting that the South-East and South-South geo-political zones of the country are very critical in the socio-economic stability and growth of Nigeria, said no intelligence, operational and administrative efforts should be spared in ensuring that the security challenges in the zones are surmounted.
He, therefore, gave marching order to the Strategic Commanders to rejig the security architecture in their areas of responsibilities and work with relevant stakeholders in restoring law and order.
The IGP further directed the Command Commissioners of Police and their supervisory Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police to return to their states and implement resolutions reached, especially on intelligence-led and community-driven operational strategies, to ensure security of lives and property in the region.
The IGP called for the support of citizens, noting that the operational strategies would be within the framework of citizens’ consent, trust and the rule of law.
Sources at the meeting told THISDAY last night that the Commissioners of Police and other senior officers presented the new IG with a long list of issues hindering their operations – largely equipment and manpower – and pleaded with him to swiftly address the problems for them to perform optimally.
The source said Baba promised to address the operational challenges listed and urged the senior officers to raise their games in their various states.
After the brainstorming session, the IG ordered all the AIGs in the zone and the DIGs inspecting the two zones to go back and implement resolutions agreed to ensure that there is a change.
Police Deploy SWAT in State Commands
Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi yesterday disclosed that units of the just introduced Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) had been deployed in police commands across the nation.
The immediate past Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, announced the establishment of SWAT as replacement for the disbanded Special Anti-robbery Squard (SARS) after the deadly #EndSARS protests, last October.
Dingyadi, who discussed the deployment of the new special unit in a television programme, said the officers of the SWAT units were sent for training by the various state commands, adding that they have been deployed to their commands having completed their training
“They have ended their training and they have been posted to the state police commands that brought them for training. They are there with them and they are performing the functions of the SWAT,” the minister said.
Also speaking on the gunmen that attacked the Imo State police headquarters in Owerri and the failure of police to repel them, the minister said they came prepared and in large numbers, with “all the arsenals at their disposal.”
He wondered why the police was singled out for blame for not taking action after the Department of State Services (DSS) intelligence report reached them, stating that other security outfits got the same report but did nothing to prevent the attack.
The minister said, “People are always pointing accusing fingers at the police. This report was not just sent to the police, it was sent to other security agencies and to the government as far as my understanding is concerned and then the police at that particular time did the best that they could but they were overpowered.
“Don’t forget that these people came prepared, they came with all the arsenals at their disposal and they came in large numbers and that is why they were able to overpower the police at the entrance of the police headquarters in Owerri.
“So, it is not just the police to be blamed, the police did their best and it was not only the police that was hit; the correctional centre in Owerri was also attacked. It is a collective responsibility. Security is the responsibility of everybody and we have a responsibility to ensure that we remain alert and focused on these issues 24 hours a day.”