SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE MOHAMMED D. ABUBAKAR FCE, FCPA. FCAI, NPM, mni AT A CONFERENCE WITH ASSISTANT COMMISSIONERS OF POLICE IN CHARGE COMMAND OPs AND CIDs ON MONDAY 13TH FEBRUARY, 2012 AT THE IGP’S CONFERENCE ROOM, FORCE HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA
It gives me pleasure to welcome you to this meeting which is one in a series of interactive sessions which I have organised with Senior Officers in the Force since my appointment as the Inspector-General of Police.
As you must be aware, in the past two weeks, I have had similar sessions with AIGs, CPsand DCPs holding Command positions at the Force Headquarters as well as Zonal and State Commands.
My meeting with you today is a strategic and deliberate attempt, partly aimed at galvanising our collective efforts towards achieving the visions of this administration, while addressing fundamental issues affecting the performance of our duties.
As I have reiterated in my earlier meetings with other Senior Officers! this Administration will focus its strength towards restoring professionalism! efficiency! commitment, integrity and patriotism in the performance of all Police duties.
You may have heard these rhetoric at the inception of every new Police Administration but I must tell you that this time! we mean to drive our visions to a logical conclusion and while I invite every willing and ready Officer to join in this crusade! I wish to assert that we will not spare anyone who prefers to be a clog in the wheel of progress for the changes we desire.
I say this with all seriousness because the Nigeria Police Force has faUen to its lowest level and has indeed become a subject of ridicule within the law enforcement community and among members of the enlarged public. Police duties have become commerciaHsed and provided at the whims and caprices of the highest bidder.
Our men are deployed to rich individuals and corporate entities such that we lack m.anpower to provide security for the common man. Our Investigations Departments cannot equitably handle matters unless those involved have money to part with. Complainants suddenly become suspects at different investigation levels following spurious petitions filed with the connivance of Police Officers.
Our Police Stations, state CID and Ops Offices have become business centres and collection points for rendering returns from all kinds of Squads and Teams set up for the benefit of Superior Officers. Our Special Anti Robbery Squads (SARS) have become killer teams, engaging in deals farland speculators and debt collection. Toll Stations in the name of check-points adorn our highways with Policemen shamefUlly collecting money from motorists in the full glare of the public.
All of these and so much more have gone ahead under the direct supervision of all of you sitted here today! Justice has been perverted, peoples’ rights denied, innocent souls committed to prison, torture and extra-judicial killings perpetrated and so many people
arbitrarily detained in our cells because they cannot afford the illegal bail monies we demand.
Illegalities thrive under your watchful eyes because you have compromised the very soul of our profession. Our respect is gone and the Nigerian public has lost even the slightest confidence in the ability of the Police to do any good thing.
That is how bad it has become and that is why we shall be adopting a very radical approach in the course of running with Administration. We must purge the system of corruption which cripples and frustrates every honest effort at reform.ing the Police as exemplified in the total failure of the multiple efforts of Government at reforming the Nigeria Police Force.
Officers, Ladies and Gentlemen! let me affirm that I am resolved and determined to turn the fortunes of the Nigeria Police Force and make it a responsive organisation that is sensitive to the public it serves. We cannot continue to shut our ears to the sufferings of the public at the hands of Officers and men serving under our Command.
I am aware that there are many problems with the service and that we may not have aU the empowerment and necessary wherewithal to optimally perform our duties. I am aware of issues relating to logistics, accoutrements, welfare and the likes.
I am fully abreast of the administrative and operational challenges we have to encounter in the conduct of Police duties and I have begun to address some of them. I am however convinced that these problems cannot justify nor serve as excuses for the myriad of uncouth and unprofessional conduct of Police Officers and men across the country. 14.
Let me categorically state that these attitudes must stop and we must collectively purge the Police system of all undesirable elements and criminal tendencies. In the course of this meeting, we shall be arriving at specific decisions which must be enforced as a stepping stone to the reforms that will follow but on your return to your various Commands, you must ensure:
• the immediate release of all persons detained In Police cells without lawful justification;
• non-detention of persons beyond the stipulated period of 24hrs except as otherwise permitted by law’
• the immediate disbandment of all Squads, Teams, or any other operational or investigating outfit operating. under whatever name and collapsing such under the original structures recognised by Police standards and
• the immediate dismantling of all intra State and highway road blocks which constitute nuisance especially in Lagos, Edo and South-Eastern States.
Henceforth I shall hold Command Ops Officers and ACCIDs personally and directly responsible for operational and investigative misdemeanours occurring within their jurisdictions.
Any observed non compliance to these directives and subsequent ones which shall be issued from time to time, will attract severe sanctions as this Administration will definitely not be frustrated by Officers’ non-committal attitude to work nor will it tolerate indiscipline, indolence, corruption, inefficiency and all the negative tendencies that have brought so much disgrace to the Force.
We must go back to the basics and fight together to restore the dignity of the Force. We must enforce discipline among our subordinates and cease to encourage patronage over and above merit in the conduct of official affairs.
You must begin to task DPOs, Deos and Divisional Ops Officers on the need to uphold Police core mandates within their respective jurisdictions. We must rid our communities of crimes and all criminal tendencies and as a Force, we must step up our actions from being reactionary to being proactive while evolving strategies that prevent crimes through community service.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I look forward to a Police Force peopled by respectable Officers and men, dignified by the selfless service they offer, respected by the public they serve and deserving of their wages; Officers who will not compromise standards, who will live by the ethics of their profession and by the oaths they swear; Officers who will perform their duties without fear of intimidation and in all fairness; Officers who will be committed to the rule of law and enthronement of justice; Officers who will not be used by anybody for the achievement of parochial interests; Officers who will go any length to get the right things done.
It is such Officers who will make the Nigeria Police Force proud again and help salvage our Nation from the grip of criminals and terrorists.
All of us can become such Officers and I urge you today to stand with me so that together we will conquer our challenges and leave for the coming generation, a Police Force that win be trustworthy and responsible as well as friendly and one which will remain a source of pride to every Nigerian.
This is possible and it is achievable and with the right attitude, dedication and focus, we can make it happen in our time, sooner than later.
Thank you and God bless.