From Desmond Mgbo, Kano
For many people in Kano, the recent visit of Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Maigari Dikko, to the state would be remembered for long.
Besides the activities that characterised the visit, including discussions on effective policing, many police officers likened the visit to the homecoming of a long-departed father.
And, every stop of his one-day official trip was instructive. From the Emir’s Palace to Government House, Kano, and the interactive session with officers of the Kano State chapter of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), the reception was warm.
That Thursday morning, at the reception organised in his honour by the Kano State Police Command at the Bompai headquarters, the DIG had the opportunity to address his officers on sundry issues.
The session was broken into an open forum that had the media in attendance and a closed session from which the media was excluded.
According to the DIG, he was in the state to assess the extent to which the road map of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, was being implemented by the state police command.
Dikko, who spoke extempore, said his excitement at being home was further underlined by the fact that he was addressing very familiar faces and officers, over 90 per cent of whom he had worked with just about a year ago.
Dikko, the DIG in charge of Logistics and Supply, congratulated the state for its decreasing crime rate.
“You will recall that when the IGP took over, precisely on June 21 last year, he enumerated his vision as the 19th indigenous IGP.
“In that address he assured Nigerians that he would lead a force within the norms of international best practices, run an open and transparent police, obey the rule of law and commit the force to community policing,” he said.
He explained that the police boss had directed the DIGs to go to their respective supervisory zones to assess whether the commands were implementing the vision of the IGP as enumerated in the road map.
“We are here to evaluate and assess the crime preventive measures adopted by the command and see whether they were within the range of the vision,” he said.
Dikko then declared that, from his observations, the state was doing well.
He noted that he had so far visited Katsina, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states, and the problems were essentially the same. These, he said, included welfare, lack of accommodation for officers and inadequate manpower, among others.
On the issue of welfare, the DIG assured the police that the IGP had since promoted officers from the rank and file to the commissioner cadre.
“Today, in some commands, we don’t even have constables anymore,” he said.
Dikko added that the IGP was also attending to housing and insurance schemes; the current housing scheme was started by the previous police administration as a pilot scheme in four states, and the current IGP had adopted the scheme and was working on its expansion.
“We feel that it is really traumatising for an officer to serve his fatherland for 35 years only to retire and have no place to house himself and his family,” he said.
Dikko explained that the project had been expanded to accommodate more houses from the initial 100 housing units to 500 housing units, adding that the scheme was executed in partnership with a private developer on a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement.
according to the DIG, 300 units of the houses would be reserved for police officers while the remaining 200 units would be alloted to private individuals to establish the required mix.
He said so far, about 25 states across the country had shown interest in the scheme, and land has been allocated to the police management for the housing scheme.
Dikko also acknowledged the widespread nature of insufficient manpower, saying only two of the 36 states were not complaining.
“Even these two states, I cannot say that they are up to the United Nations requirements of one policeman to 400 people,” he said, but promised that the authorities would tackle this challenge.
On the 10,000 new police recruits, Dikko said they were undergoing training across the country at the various police training institutes.
Dikko said that the IG was seeking permission from the Presidency to recruit 20,000 more officers in the next three years.
In his remarks, Kano State Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Yusuf. said the command had been doing a yeoman’s job since the beginning of the year, adding that scores of robbers and other criminals had been arrested and were being investigated and prosecuted. He declared that the command had reduced cases of cattle rustling, kidnapping and armed robbery to a minimal level.
Yusuf, however, acknowledged that the state was still experiencing cases of rape, sodomy and culpable homicide. He said the command was also tackling cases of drug abuse as a way of fighting such crimes.