From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday decorated Usman Alkali Baba with the rank of Inspector-General of Police (IGP), charging him to urgently deal with the multiple threats to law, order and public safety.
He has also charged the Ag. IGP to rebuild the broken bridges of trust between the police and public in order to regain the confidence of the citizenry.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of Baba, the most senior, qualified and eligible officer, will him access to professional and experienced officers to support him in new role which is a departure from the past when the selection of the new Inspector General of Police often meant the immediate retirement of a cohort of senior police officers whose vast experience and training would no longer be available to the country.
Osinbajo said: “Your selection by Mr. President follows a rigorous process where all eligible Deputy Inspectors-General of Police and Assistant Inspectors-General of police were considered. The president then appointed you as the most senior qualified and eligible officer. This is a departure from the past when the selection of the new Inspector General of Police often meant the immediate retirement of a cohort of senior police officers whose vast experience and training would no longer be available to the country.
“This appointment, which is largely on the basis of seniority and competence, will ensure that you have access to professional and experienced officers to support you in your new role.”
The Vice President said: “IG, you are assuming office at a very turbulent time in the life of our people. There are multiple threats to law, order and public safety. The role of law enforcement and particular that of the police force as primary agency charged with maintaining law and order has never been more important. The police is our institution of first resort, the first line of defence against crime and anarchy and the first sign of the strength of the state.
“Last year, Mr. President signed the new Police Act, the first police reform legislation to be enacted in almost 50 years. The Act is the centrepiece of our commitment to reinventing the police as an institution that we can all be proud of. It articulates this administration’s vision of the modern competent police force as an institution committed to the preservation of human rights and human dignity and protection of the public against all criminal threats.
“The challenges before you are indeed onerous and will test your mettle, the organisation you are leading is one that is itself facing several challenges. Your officers work still in extremely difficult conditions. And some face the threat of physical harm by terrorists and hostile non-state actors while in the line of duty but they have lived up to expectations.
“There is no question at all that there is a lot that needs to be done. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. Under your leadership. The police must now rebuild in some ways also the broken bridges of trust to the public and regain the confidence of the citizenry. This is an ongoing challenge, is an ongoing task that the police force and all of the senior members of the police force must take on as a responsibility, that of the continual process of building trust to the Nigerian people.
“One of the ways you can do this is by implementing the community policing policy which had already taken off and reconceptualizing policing as a task carried out in partnership with local communities and by officers who are members of these localities. Under your leadership, the force must live up to all of the highest standards of professional conduct and compliance with the rule of law. It must significantly improve the welfare and working conditions of its officers. While rapidly scaling on its forensic, logistical, logistical and operational capacities.
“To meet today’s challenges, you must stamp out the excesses and abuses and the culture of impunity, demonstrated by some elements of the force which provoke public outrage against institution. In short, your mission is nothing less than the restoration of dignity and high repute of the policing professional and the continuous oiling of that machinery of the police force that enables it to be one that is respected by the populace and by the international community.
“The testimony of your pedigree and your career thus far is that you are up to the task. The administration stands ready to work with you to reposition the NPF and take it to unprecedented height of professionalism, competence and excellence.
“I therefore welcome you as a key partner to this administration’s comprehensive programme of reform aimed at repositioning the nigeria police force as a modern, responsive and citizen centred law enforcement service.
“We all expect that you will justify the confidence that Mr. President has repose to you, enable you to lead the force in these times. I congratulate you once more on behalf of Mr. President, and his cabinet. I wish you all the very best in your tenure.”
Fielding questions from State House Correspondents, Baba said Nigerians will see improvement from where his predecessor has left off.
He said: “You will see improvement from where my predecessor has left. I came in at a very challenging time. I know it. I recognise it and I will work on how to improve from where my predecessor has left. I have been a member of the management team. We have tried to do our best, but it’s not enough. There is room for improvement. “
Asked if the strategy will change, he said: “Definitely, we are going to rejig our operational strategies.”
On equipment and manpower, the Ag. IGP said: “We have the blessings of Mr. President and we are hoping to get more of what we have requested through the Police Trust Fund very quickly.
“Nigerians should expect improvement on the security situation. And Nigerians should also collaborate and cooperate with us. With all the inadequacies we have, we still require everybody to be part of policing in this country. And that is why the emphasis on community policing will continue and the emphasis of collaborating with all other sister agencies will continue and we hope to have a better situation very soon.”
Asked how he hopes to improve on community policing from where his predecessor left, Baba said: “We will continue to practicalise it. My predecessor has left at the theoretical stage, we have started practicalising it but we have not gone far and therefore all the methods of practicalising it has been put in place and we are going to continue with it in collaboration with other stakeholders.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday approved the appointment of Usman Alkali Baba as the Acting Inspector-General of Police.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, who disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that the appointment was with immediate effect.
Baba replaced Mohammed Adamu whose tenure expired February 1, 2021, but extended for three months.
Until his appointment, Mr. Usman Alkali Baba was a Deputy Inspector-General, DIG of Police and will be in acting capacity pending his confirmation by the senate.
Present at decoration ceremony were the former IGP, Mohammed Adamu, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, the Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu and his colleague in the office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande.
Also present is the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Police Affairs.