•IG pledges to confront menace of violent crimes
•Uzodimma seeks improved funding
Chiemelie Ezeobi and Tony Icheku in Owerri
President Bola Tinubu yesterday charged the Nigeria police hierarchy to eliminate corruption and uphold accountability as well as transparency in order to gain the trust and confidence of Nigerians.
The president gave the charge at the opening ceremony of the Conference and Retreat for Commissioners of Police , Assistant Inspectors General of Police and Deputy Inspectors General of Police in Owerri, Imo State.
While urging the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun and the senior officers to set the highest standard of conduct and lead by example, the president, who was represented by the Minister of Police Affairs, Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, reiterated the importance of professional ethics and integrity.
He said: “As senior officers and leaders, you must set the highest standards of conduct and lead by example. Upholding the principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability is paramount to winning the trust and confidence of the Nigerian people.
“Let us work together to eliminate corruption and misconduct within our ranks and build a police force that is respected and admired.”
On the retreat he said: “This retreat marks a significant milestone in our collective efforts to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our nation’s police force. It provides us with a valuable opportunity to reflect on our achievements, discuss the challenges we face, and chart a course for the future.
“As leaders within the Nigerian Police Force, your dedication, commitment, and unwavering service to our great nation deserve our utmost appreciation.
“Law enforcement is an essential pillar of any society, and your responsibility as police officers is to ensure the safety, security, and well-being of our citizens.
“We face numerous challenges in carrying out this noble task, ranging from organised crime and terrorism to cyber threats and communal conflicts.
“However, I firmly believe that with the right strategies, resources, and determination, we can overcome these challenges and build a safer Nigeria for all.
“This retreat serves as a platform for us to engage in meaningful discussions, exchange ideas, and learn from each others’ experiences. Let us seize this opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made so far and identify areas where we can further improve.”
In his speech, Egbetokun said the cardinal focus of his police administration is improving the capability of officers, standardising service delivery vis-à-vis driving transformative agenda.
He said: “Upon assumption of office as the IG of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I immediately outlined strategic and pragmatic measures to be taken to reposition the force in line with Mr. President’s determination to reform and strengthen the nation’s security architecture.
“The police force under my watch is poised to confront head on the menace of violent crimes in our country, restore calm to troubled areas and engender an atmosphere of peace, safety and security which will promote national economic growth and prosperity.
“The establishment of a Special Intervention Squad (SIS), a standby team of specially trained officers to rapidly intervene in major incidents which was immediately announced on my assumption of office is considered immediate priority in this effort,” he said.
In his keynote address, President of INTERPOL, Ahmed Nasir Al Raisi, canvassed for a Nigerian police that would be relevant in the global scheme of things as regards contemporary crimes and criminality.
Also speaking, Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma, made a strong case for improved funding of the police in Nigeria, proposing that a bill should emanate from the National Assembly on how to go about it.
He further proposed increased participation of state governments, multinational companies and private sector operators in the funding of the police for better effect.
Meanwhile, Uzodimma has said that the concept of “Operation Udoka” by the military to rid the South-East of crimes and criminality is a welcome idea as long as those who will drive it should be properly educated, equipped and guided to operate within rules of international engagement.
He told the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Christopher Musa and his entourage, who were on a courtesy call on him at the Government House Owerri, that the sustainability of members of the proposed “Operation Udoka’ requires that they must be sincere and honest in discharging their duties.
The CDS was accompanied by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division, Enugu and other top ranking officers in the military.
“Sit-at-home is not the major problem now in South East, but what the people are suffering from is fear of the unknown resulting from experiences of what happened at the beginning of the banditry, violence and mayhem in the State,” he said.
He appealed to the army and other security agencies to do all within their reach to eradicate banditry, vandalism and kidnapping and help to restore peace in Imo State and South-east in general.
Earlier, Musa said he came to Imo to see the troops in the state to ensure they do their duties by “observing the rules of engagement,” and “to be part and support the ongoing Police Conference in Imo State and to reaffirm that we are one in the fight and security of Nigeria.”
He said he was aware of the activities of the criminal elements in Imo State and Southeast in general and assured the governor that the military is “tackling them to achieve total peace and preserve unity of Nigeria.”