•PTF calls for five-year action plan
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
As the training of selected officers for the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team begins today, the Inspector-General of Police, (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, has listed the requirements of officers to be trained in the new police tactical team to replace the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The IG reassured Nigerians that no ex-SARS operatives have been shortlisted in the SWAT team.
Adamu explained: “The officers selected for the training are young, smart and energetic officers who have acquired not less than seven years working experience with clean service records – no pending disciplinary matters, no record of violation of rights of citizens or misuse of firearms – and are physically fit to withstand the rigour of SWAT training and operations.
A statement issued by Force Headquarters said Adamu reaffirmed that the new police tactical team would operate within high professional and ethical standards, obey the rule of law and dictates of best international policing practices.
It said in pursuant of the above objectives, the police would partner the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other development partners to train the tactical team at the Police Mobile Force (PMF) Training School, Ila Orangun, Osun State and the PMF Training School, Ende Hills, Nasarawa State.
The IG added that no personnel of the defunct SARS would be a member of the new tactical team.
“The selected officers shall be subjected to the physical fitness test, medical and toxicology screening among others and those found to be unsuitable shall be discharged,” the statement added.
The statement, signed by Force PRO and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Mr. Frank Mba, said the ICRC, independent international human rights and humanitarian support organisation with over 71 years’ experience in humanitarian services and institutional support and development would provide resource persons and materials to handle the human rights components of the training programme.
“Specifically, they will handle topics touching on humanitarian laws, police conduct in conflict situation, human rights standard, especially in the use of force and firearms, arrest and detention amongst others.
“Other areas of the training programme will include modern-day police ethics and values, intelligence-led policing, operation planning/tactical decision making processes, hostage rescue tactics and operation, weapon handling, first aid/basic life-saving skills, stress/fear management, police-citizens relations and emotional intelligence etc,” the statement said.
It added that the training modules would be handled by other carefully selected development partners, security experts as well as veterans from the civil society and the human rights community.
The IG charged the training coordinators to ensure a diligent and timely delivery of the tactical team.
He said the necessity for the immediate establishment of a new tactical team was in view of the need to fill voids created by the dissolution of SARS, particularly during the “EMBER months” traditionally characterised with an upsurge in armed robbery and other violent crimes in the country.
The IG, therefore, sought the cooperation of citizens in the ongoing development drive for a new and reformed Nigeria Police Force.
He urged them to be patient and to believe in the reform processes which are all directed at ensuring the security, safety and rights of all.
PTF Calls for Five-year Action Plan
Meanwhile, the Police Trust Fund (PTF) at the weekend requested the IG to present a five-year comprehensive plan of action to transform the police force.
The fund at a meeting in Abuja also approved the implementation of extensive training, provision of state-of-the-art equipment and welfare plan for the force.
The call coincides with the denial by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PTF and retired Inspector-General of the Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, of any rift between him and the Executive Secretary of the board, Mr. Ahmed Sokoto, which was said to have delayed the take-off of the fund.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Abba said: “The board considered the implementation of extensive training, provision of requisite state-of-the-art equipment as well as an appropriate welfare plan for personnel to be deployed to the new tactical team and other specialised units of the Nigeria Police Force.
“The board of trustees also requested the Inspector-General of Police to present a five-year comprehensive strategic plan of action aimed at achieving the total transformation of the Nigeria Police Force.”
While denying the purported rift between him and Sokoto, Abba said: “If there is anybody that is deliberately causing problems for the PTF, I will know what to do.”
He also flayed criticisms from stakeholders faulting some provisions of the Police Trust Fund Act 2019, with regards to deductions from states and some corporations as part of the funding for the PTF.
He said: “My own understanding is that the Police Trust Fund Establishment Act 2019 is an Act of the National Assembly and only a court of law can declare it or part of it illegal.
“So, if anyone saying there is no Act, you can take him up on what I said.
“Some of the provisions they are talking about, I find it difficult to understand. Is it that they don’t want Nigerian police to be transformed? Is it that they don’t want the security of this country?
“There are other corporations and agencies where deductions are made from the same Federation Account and they are not saying anything about it.
“Who is against the police? Who is against the security of this country? I leave Nigerians to judge.”
He also said the Nigerian police contingent to the United Nations peacekeeping operations enjoyed high-performance rating owing to the use of modern technology hence the determination of PTF to equip the force sufficiently.
“It is on record that our policemen go out there on peace mission and come out on tops because the right equipment is there so if they get this equipment, they will even do more because they are with their families, they are at home in an environment they are used to and that is what we intend to do,” Abba said.