Few months after his appointment in 2012 as the 16th indigenous Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Dahiru Abubakar’s brain was already brewing many ideas that he would leave as legacy for the police.
Part of his vision for the Nigeria Police was to prepare and leave a police organisation that was not lacking in any sector of modern technology.
He believed that if the police were well fortified and trained, with modern gadgets and technology, fighting any insurrection and criminal activity would be as simple as A-B-C.
Among the steps he took, was the introduction of drone technology, which was alien to Nigeria and all its security agencies then.
From the onset, drones were associated with the military and were used for anti-aircraft target practice, and intelligence gathering.
Today, according to Wikipedia, “they are used in a wide range of civilian roles, ranging from search and rescue, surveillance, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring and firefighting to personal drones and business drone-based photography, as well as videography, agriculture and even delivery services.”
At the time Abubakar came up with the novel idea to introduce drones to police operations, no African security leader had thought of that. In fact, had the government of that time, especially the National Security Adviser, opened its doors to the idea, maybe, the issue of Boko Haram would have been a story of the past.
This writer was at Police Headquarters, Abuja, in late 2012 when, one morning, the IGP, along with some management staff of the police, were invited to the helipad. A white man was standing close to the IGP, armed with a mini helicopter that looked like a toy for kids and a laptop and a flat item that resembled what children used to play video games. Before our eyes, the white man was asked to commence his demonstration. He gently dropped the mini helicopter on the floor and opened his laptop. The drone started roving like a helicopter. He took the item like what children use to play video game and as he manipulated the joystick, the drone was lifted above the ground and above every one in amazement as it flew high above the seventh floor of the Louis Edet building into the air. It flew towards the Nyanja/Mararaba area of Abuja. We viewed its progress on the laptop as it cruised in the air collating video data of the areas it flew over. Within 15 minutes, it was the sound that made everyone to know that the little machine wonder had found its way back to the Police Headquarters.
All the while, the operator was busy turning the stick as he guided the drone. As it meandered its way back to Force Headquarters, all eyes were fixed on it.
Surprisingly, the little object navigatesd its way back to the area where it took off and landed on exactly the same spot. Instantly, excitement filled the atmosphere as resounding applause welcomed the drone back from its mission.
Months turned to years and Abubakar retired, and there was no sign of the drone was anywhere around Nigeria Police operations. Indeed, the dream was killed by the powers that be in government. As at the time the drone was being tested in the premises of the police, the country was already waging war against the Boko Haram terrorist group. At the time, the military casualty rate was at its height, same with other security personnel and the civilian populace. That was when the country was directionless concerning the war.
Today, six years after, the issue of acquiring drones has cropped up for discussion. It is now that the government realises the importance of drones in fighting Boko Haram in the North East and the importance of using drones to man our porous boarders. It is now, that government remembers the importance of drones in gathering intelligence for the military, Immigrstion and other security agencies.
When MD Abubakar initiated the idea of using drones in security operations, he was told that he is being over-ambitious. Today, he has been vindicated, like Alhaji Lateef Jakande, who, as governor of Lagos State in the late 1970s, came up with the wonderful idea of constructing a metro line for Lagos and also mooted the idea to construct a rail line from Lagos to Kano, but before he could settle down to work the military collapsed the government of the day.
It is pertinent to note that there are ideas that are dropped from heaven and such ideas are specifically for mankind. It is either they are implemented when they are mooted or the government, institutions or company would later pay dearly for their delayed implementation. Today, the country would have to pay many times over to acquire just one drone.
The new improved Nigerian Passport
At last the idea of a new passport for our ever-travelling Nigerian populace has been actualised. The new passport, compared to the former, has a lot of significant improvements that have truely identified it as an international travel document. So unique in feature, the enhanced polycarbonate booklet was initially launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 15, 2019, as part of his government’s reform policy.
That the Comptroller of Immigrstions, Mr. Muhammad Babandede, and his management team were able to fashion out such an idea by considering the economic situation in the country and were able to tackle the incessant problem of forgery, ought to attract public commendation.
It is such an improvement that it has quickly caught the attention of the international community. Among its features are its 10-year validity that reduces incidence of damage, counterfeiting and forgery.
The good news that has been coming out of the Nigeria Immigration Service tilts towards one thing, which is, having a visionary leader who is in tune with global best practices.
Call and report any BAD police officer