June 12: IGP issues order of operation to Zonal AIGs, Command CPs
By Sunday Elom N
As June 12 Democracy Day commemoration is barely three days away, there is fear that the celebration may not be as peaceful as the federal government is projecting it. This is given that many Nigerians question the day’s relevance, especially at this time when people have been denied a lot of their rights, including freedom of expression and access to information.
The fear of what may happen on June 12 is further heightened by planned protests by some persons and groups like #RevolutionNow convened by Omoyele Sowore.
In preparation for the democracy day celebration, the inspector general of police, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, has directed zonal assistant inspectors general of police and commissioners of police in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT to deal firmly with any person or group who may wish to take advantage of the day to carry out any activity that will threaten the internal security order of the country.
However, Baba, who gave the direction during a meeting with strategic commanders of the Nigerian Police Force in Abuja, urged the zonal and command police heads to remain civil with law abiding citizens during the Democracy Day celebration.
Addressing the police bosses, the IGP said, “The June 12 Democracy Day is days away. We are currently reviewing the security situation, with a view to ensuring a hitch-free exercise.
‘’Details of this will form part of our discussion. I must, however, remind you all of the need to remain civil with law-abiding citizens, but firm with any person or group that may wish to take advantage of the event to threaten our internal security order,’’ he said.
Furthermore, Baba expressed disappointment that most command commissioners of police ‘still allow their officers to indiscriminately impound vehicles and litter them at police stations.
“Police facilities are not junk yards and must not be turned into one. Indeed, such acts create vulnerabilities which often engender attacks on our facilities.” the IGP said.
He, therefore, ordered the command commissioners to “Return to your commands and undertake a major operation to clear all such indiscriminately impounded vehicles off your stations.
“The compliance to this directive shall be confirmed in the course of my on-going tours to your command and any departmental head, zonal commander, commissioner of police or unit head that is found wanting will be dealt with.”
The IGP who said he had received reports of abuses associated with the use of SPY plate numbers and tinted glasses ordered suspension of issuance of SPY plate numbers and tinted glasses permits.
“The existing authorisations are being reviewed and a protocol to regulate the issuance of such permits will be evolved.
“An emerging trend in which some motorists cover their plate numbers has also been noticed across the country. This practice inhibits our law enforcement operations and hence, is intolerable. Consequently, commissioners of police are tasked, as part of their operations, to arrest any motorist involved in this act,” he said.
On the mounting of roadblocks by police officers, IGP Baba reiterated that the ban on mounting roadblock across the country was still effective and must be maintained by commissioners of police.
He said, “I have been receiving reports that some commissioners of police are still allowing the mounting of road blocks in their jurisdictions. For the avoidance of doubt, road blocks under any description or guise remain banned across the country and any officer found to be contravening this order will be held liable and dealt with firmly.
“The society has evolved. As law enforcement operatives, we must align our policing strategies to these societal dynamics, particularly, at this time that our policing functions are being built in the community policing model in which the citizens’ interests are prioritised.
“Road blocks, as a policing model, is becoming obsolete and unacceptable; hence we are working towards enhancing our intelligence-led and technology-driven policing capability as well as strengthening the ‘Safer Highway Motorized Patrol Scheme’ as an alternative to road blocks.
“Therefore, you are tasked to ensure that deployments within your command are reviewed and your operations aligned to this new policing approach which discourages the disposition to limiting the liberty of the citizens through road blocks which are known to be avenues for corrupt tendencies and other vices that widens the trust gap between the citizens and the police.”