Stories by Magnus Eze, Enugu, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja, Stanley Uzoaru,Owerri, Chinelo Obogo, Sunday Ani ,Chukwudi Nweje, Chinwendu Obienyi and Lukman Olabiyi
President Muhammadu Buhari has said his directive to security agencies to shoot any person or persons found illegally wielding AK-47s and other assault weapons was still in force.
The president also vowed that his administration would act firmly and decisively ‘‘against any and all persons found attacking our Police Force and other security personnel.”
Buhari spoke in Lagos, yesterday, at the handing over of security equipment by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to the Police Command.
The president declared that any nation that turned its police personnel and infrastructure into targets of violence and destruction was on the path to self-destruction.
‘‘As Commander-in-Chief, my primary responsibility remains the security of the country and the safety of all citizens. Despite the many challenges we are facing, I want Nigerians to rest assured that we will secure this country.
‘‘We will secure our infrastructure, our highways, our communities and our forests. We will secure the lives of our people,’’ it further quoted him as saying.
The president told members of the Nigeria Police Force that government would strive to improve their welfare and capacity, but added that the citizens equally had expectations from them.
‘‘First, let me commend the Inspector-General of Police and the entire Force for the recent efforts to restore peace to troubled parts of the country.
‘‘I have charged the Inspector-General to leave no stone unturned in rebuilding the morale of his officers and men, especially in the aftermath of the mindless violence associated with the EndSARS protests as well as the recent spate of attacks on Police Stations in some parts of the country.”
While commending the governor for providing the security equipment and assets, the president noted that it would go a long way in boosting the morale of the Police and further enhance the capacity to fight crime and combat criminality.
‘‘This is even more touching in the light of the unwarranted violence that ensued in the wake of the ENDSARS protests last October during which the security architecture in Lagos State was severely damaged,’’ he said.
The president added that it was commendable that Lagos State, the Centre of Excellence, had shown a truly resilient spirit in the face of the massive destruction it suffered last October.
He said: ‘‘You did not allow yourselves to be deterred by the severe setback; instead, you have bounced back and already boldly rebuilding the confidence of residents and investors in the State.
‘‘I acknowledge the initiative taken to kick-start the rebuilding process, through the establishment of the Lagos State Rebuild Trust Fund, and through this very laudable effort by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund.
“I enjoin other State Governments to emulate your bold, proactive and resourceful initiative.’’
The president also reiterated that government was taking its constitutional oath to secure the lives and properties of the Nigerian people very seriously.
He said his administration is conscious of the fact that lasting security is a necessary foundation for business, investment and true prosperity.
Buhari declared that no federal government, since 1999, had been as committed as his administration toward reforming and repositioning the Nigeria Police Force and national policing architecture.
‘‘In 2019, I signed into law the Act establishing the Nigeria Police Trust Fund, the first in the history of the Force, to provide guaranteed funding to support Police welfare, logistics and equipment.
‘‘In 2020, I assented to the Bill amending the Nigeria Police Act, which was originally enacted in 1943.
‘‘This new Act, a vast improvement over the old one, among other things, spells out the modalities for the implementation of a National Community Policing Scheme in Nigeria.
‘‘This new scheme will build confidence within our local communities and make them active stakeholders in the safety and security of their environs.
‘‘We are currently recruiting 10,000 Police officers to reinforce our personnel capacity across the country.”