The confirmation of Mohammed Adamu as the substantive Inspector General of Police (IGP) by the Nigeria Police Council at its recent meeting presided over President Muhammadu Buhari is laudable. With the confirmation, Adamu who was appointed in an acting capacity on January 15, 2019, becomes the 20th indigenous IGP in the country. We congratulate him on the well-deserved elevation and wish him a successful tenure.
The work of policing the country, especially at a time the country is grappling with many security challenges, is not likely to be easy. Therefore, Adamu must ensure that he reorganised the Police Force and make it effective in tackling the country’s current security challenges as he promised. Adamu would need the total commitment of his officers and men as well as the support of the citizens and other stakeholders in the security architecture of the country to succeed.
The security challenges of the country at this time are enormous. From the problems of armed robbery, the challenges have expanded to include militancy in the Niger Delta, violent kidnapping for ransom to banditry, herders/farmers crises, the intractable terrorism in the North-east and sundry crimes across the country. Unfortunately, the police have not been able to rise to the occasion due to poor funding. The police do not have adequate manpower. However, our police personnel excel when they serve in United Nations’ peacekeeping engagements. They probably excel abroad because of adequate equipment and enhanced welfare.
It is quite commendable that the IGP has vowed to improve the welfare of police personnel and enhance professionalism in the force. The police should be well paid and equipped in order to perform their security duties. In doing this, the IGP must avoid some of the pitfalls and controversies that dogged the tenures of his predecessors. Adamu’s recent collaboration with the National Assembly, which led to the passage of the Police Trust Fund is welcome. We enjoin him to sustain such relationship with the lawmakers and other stakeholders. Perhaps, the much-needed funds for police operations can be easily approved if there is collaboration between the leadership of the force and the National Assembly.
Adamu needs, perhaps more than ever before, the cooperation of other security agencies to decisively confront the rising insecurity in the country. The banditry presently ravaging the North-west and sundry criminalities in other parts of the country might have gone beyond the capacity of the police. The IGP would need the support of the armed forces as well as the paramilitary forces of the country to weather the storm.
Apart from the urgent need to rapidly increase the personnel of the police force to meet the United Nations’ recommended police-to-civilian ratio of 1:400 from the present 1:6,000, the police should work assiduously to get the cooperation of the civilian population in intelligence gathering and sharing. The police must work with people in the community to rein in the criminals that are now tormenting Nigerians across the country.The citizens should see the police as partners in progress and assist them to secure the country. The duty of policing ought to be the duty of every citizen. This is the time to experiment with community policing as well as state policing. The current centralised policing cannot be said to be working. Let it be discarded in favour of community and state policing.
IGP Adamu must withdraw the policemen on ‘VIP’ duties and post them where their services are mostly needed. There is no way a depleted police force can secure the lives and property of Nigerians. Above all, all police personnel must show great commitment to their duties. We advise Adamu to work with the judiciary to reduce the number of Awaiting Trial Inmates in the country. Doing so will, to a large extent, assist in decongesting the nation’s prisons.