By Kingsley Omonobi, ABUJA

Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba disclosed yesterday that more Police Special Operational Units and Assets have been deployed to the South-East in the bid to strengthen the anti-secessionist operation in that part of the country through Operation Restore Peace.

Speaking during a meeting with Strategic Police managers (CPs, AIGs and DIGs) in Abuja, the IG also noted that the Police headquarters has re-invigorated the ‘Operation Safer Highway’ with the injection of more patrol vehicles and personnel across the country to tackle insecurity.

This is just as the IGP disclosed that “between January 2022 to date, the Nigeria Police arrested a total of three hundred and twenty-eight (328) Terrorists/Bandits; three hundred and twenty-five (325) Armed Robbery Suspects; three hundred and thirty-nine (339) Kidnap Offenders and two hundred and forty-seven (247) suspected cultists.

“Also, within this period, we have safely rescued three hundred and seven (307) kidnapped victims and recovered five hundred and ten (510) firearms of various descriptions, and eight thousand, nine hundred and six (8,906) ammunition of various descriptions and calibre including rocket-propelled grenades and other Improvised Explosive Devices”.

Continuing he said, “With regards to the security challenges along the Abuja-Kaduna highway, I wish to use this opportunity to re-assure Nigerians that the Nigeria Police are collaborating effectively with the Military, Department of State Services, the Ministry of Transport, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation towards evolving a resilient security architecture that will address the current threats on a sustainable basis. In the interim, aside from upscaling our patrol operations along the highway, we have deployed our air assets for aerial surveillance in support of the ground police teams.

“To enhance the attainment of our internal security mandate, I am also elated to confirm that we have secured the approval of the National Communications Commission, NCC, for the allocation of a National Police Short Code for free emergency calls and information sharing between the Police and citizens.  The acquisition of the short Code which is ‘933’, is a landmark initiative by the Force leadership to bridge the age-long emergency communication gap between the Police and members of the public. The code will soon be formally launched.

“Furthermore, as part of our police modernization vision, the Force has established an Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Unit within the Department of Operations (Airwing Section) of the Force. To aid the take-off of the new unit, we have procured five (5) Drones and Officers to man the unit. We have also been exposed to specialized training in South Africa and certified as Drones Operations specialists.

“We are currently leveraging on the expertise of the NPF-UAV Unit to support special police operations, particularly, for surveillance operations along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway and railway corridor. They were also optimally utilized in the recent Nigeria Police special anti-banditry operation in Sokoto with huge success.”

On the forthcoming governorship elections and preparation for 2023 elections, he said, “Permit me at this juncture to assure citizens of this country of the firm determination of the Force, as the lead agency in the election security process, that we shall emplace appropriate frameworks that will engender a fair, peaceful, secure, and credible electoral process in both the Ekiti and Osun States gubernatorial elections and during the upcoming 2023 general elections.

“Indeed, in furtherance of our preparation for the 2023 general elections, we are currently working on enhancing the capacity of officers of the Force in election security management. Consequently, I have approved the conduct of an Election Security Management Training for Police Officers ahead of the general elections. The training which will be delivered in partnership with a Training and Security Consultant with vast experience in election security management will hold across the six (6) geopolitical zones of the country and will commence with the North-Central Zone on 4th August 2022 here in Abuja.“

“Subsequently, other geopolitical zones will host the training which is designed as a Train-the-Trainer programme. Your absolute cooperation is mandatory for the overall success of this initiative. Aside from this, I also encourage you all to sustain your synergy with the Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, and other sister security agencies in your respective states towards ensuring effective coordination and guaranteeing the success of the entire electoral process.”

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