By Evelyn USMAN
The Federal Government has procured a total of fifty-nine units of fully equipped security combat patrol boats worth over N15 billion, for the Marine Department of the Nigeria Police Force , with the sole aim of nipping criminal activities on the nationâ€™s waterways , particularly in the Niger Delta region of the country, in the bud.
Charging the Force to live up to its statutory expectation,President Goodluck Jonathan , while commissioning the combat boats at the Marine Police headquarters , Ikoyi , yesterday, said the gesture was a demonstration of his administrationâ€™s commitment to equip the Nigeria Police Force, with a view to transforming it into a modern institution in line with world best ranking.
Lamenting what he described as worrisome cases of insecurity and violent crimes such asÂ hostage taking and illegal bunkering on theÂ Â the nationâ€™s water ways, President Jonathan said the combat boats would not only address the situation but would also increaseÂ economic activities on the waterways.
â€œGovernment and the indigenous public are not unaware of the various challenges facing the Nigeria Police Force which entails adequate training , equipment and funding .
The Marine department of the Nigeria Police Force for instance, is constrained with the challenges of patrolling the Nigeria water ways against insecurityÂ and a lot of violent crimes.
The launching of these boats will therefore go a long way in enhancing security particularly on our water waysâ€, president Jonathan stated.
Jonathan who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, stated thatÂ the present administration was determined more than ever to adequately equip the Nigeria Police, noting that the procurement of the combat boats was a pointer to the actualisation of its dream for the Force.
The present administration he disclosed , would in the nest five years transform the Nigeria Police force with its focus mainly onÂ upgrading its equipments and welfare of men and officers .
Appreciating what he described as a significant gesture that showcased the extent of the federal government resolve to live up to its commitment to the Police,Â the Inspector_General of Police, Mr Ogbona Onovo, earlier in his welcome address, described the procurement of security combat boats as timely .
Although the Marine Police according to Onovo, began operations in 1891as the Police Night Water patrol under the then colonial police division in Lagos, he said it came to the fore following escalation of hostilities and criminal activities along the Niger Delta region, where unfortunately the Force lost some of its men.
â€œThe situation did not only place enormous demand on the unit butÂ also exposed her operational inadequacies resulting from lack of adequate equipment for modern maritime combat. This situation informed government decision to fortify the Police Marineâ€, he stated.
Stressing the need for a sustained improvement in the provision of modern hi_tech equipment for the use of the Nigeria Police, Onovo stated thatÂ â€œWhile governments effort is highly appreciated, I must use this opportunity to underscore the fact that the government alone can not be able to fully provide the needs and requirement for the provision of adequate security.Â I therefore call on all stakeholders to join hands with government in the drive to equip the Police for the betterment of the society at largeâ€.