The recently held fourth Annual Conference and Retreat of the Nigeria Police Force for Senior Police Officers might have come and gone, Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that the lessons learnt are still germane to everyday policing. Themed Fostering Economic Prosperity, Social Integration, and Political Development through Enhanced Internal Security Mechanism, the three-day conference was a no-hold barred summit where the police reiterated its commitment to the reform project, security of the nation and the strategic policy directive of the 22nd indigenous Inspector General of Police, IGP Olukayode Egbetokun
Fostering Economic Prosperity, Social Integration, and Political Development through Enhanced Internal Security
Mechanism was the theme of the recently held 4th Annual Conference and Retreat of the Nigeria Police
Force for Senior Police Officers, tastefully put together by Mr. Shina Philips of Matchmakers Consult International.
With 151 Senior Police Officers, including the Inspector-General of Police, eight Deputy Inspectors-General of Police, 37 Assistant Inspectors-General of Police, and 105 Commissioners of Police, representing various echelons within the Force, including the Force Headquarters, Police Formations, Training Institutions, Zonal and State Commands across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, it was an opportunity for the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to examine and propose sustainable reforms for the force.
It was a gathering of distinguished guests like Senator Hope Uzodimma, Governor of Imo State, with those of Abia, Ebonyi, and Enugu States, represented by their deputies, Ikechukwu Emetu, Dr. Eric Igwe and Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai, respectively.
Also at the conference were President of INTERPOL and UAE Inspector General of Police, Major General Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi, who served as the keynote speaker; the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, His Excellency, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi;
Chairman Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Ahmed Abdulhamid Madori; and Vice Chairman
House of Representatives’ Committee on Police Affairs, Hon. Adewale Waheed Hammed.
Other notable attendees included the National Security Adviser
represented by Major General A. M. Dikko (Rtd); the Chief of
Defence Staff, General Christopher G. Musa; representative of of the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Commodore M. A. Manga; and the representative of the Chairman of Police Service
Commission (PSC), Barr. Onyemauche Nnamani.
At the conference, presentations were made Prof. Etannibi Alemika, Dean of the Faculty and Conference Director; CP Ifeanyi Uche Henry of the Nigeria Police Force, who spoke on Emerging Cybercrime Trend in the New World: The Role of NPF-NCCC; Wale Olaoye of Halogen Security , who spoke on Optimising New Technologies for Nigeria’s Policing Systems and Operations; Dr. Monday Michaels Ashibogwu-Strategic who addressed Communication and Social Media Skills for Senior Police Officers; Ross Alabo-George who spoke on Understanding the Dynamics of Nigeria’s Security Environment and their Implications for
National Development; Dr. Lanre Olusegun Ikuteyijo, who lectured on Implementing Community Policing as a Security Strategy in Nigeria; and Mr. Peter Mancha, who took Developing a Gender-Responsive Strategy and Implementation Mechanism in the Nigeria Police Force.
Eliminate Corruption, Uphold Accountability and Transparency, Tinubu Charges Police Hierarchy
Held at Landmark Event
Centre, Owerri, Imo State, the opening ceremony was presided over by
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was represented by the Minister
of Police Affairs, Sen. Ibrahim Gaidam.
In his speech, he charged police hierarchy to eliminate corruption and uphold accountability as well as transparency in order to gain the trust and confidence of Nigerians.
While urging the Inspector General of Police, IG Kayode Egbetokun and the senior officers to set the highest standard of conduct and lead by example, he also 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 other’s experiences. Let us seize this opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made so far and identify areas where we can further improve.
“We must address issues such as capacity building, professional ethics, community engagement, and the use of technology to enhance our policing methods. In this era of rapid technological advancements, we must embrace innovation and leverage digital tools to enhance our effectiveness.
“Technology can assist us in crime prevention, intelligence gathering, and the investigation of complex cases. Therefore, I urge you all to explore and adopt cutting-edge technologies that can support our mission of maintaining law and order.
“Furthermore, community engagement is crucial in bridging the gap between the police and the public. We must strive to build trust, foster positive relationships, and actively involve local communities in our efforts to fight crime. By working hand in hand with the people we serve, we can create a safer environment and promote a sense of ownership and responsibility for security.”
Police IG Harps on Cardinal Focus of Administration
In his speech, IG Egbetokun said the cardinal focus of his police administration is improving the capability of officers, standardising service delivery viz-a-viz driving transformative agenda, embracing the principles of transparency, accountability, and professionalism while upholding the rights of citizens and attending to the welfare of officers.
He said: “Upon assumption of office as the Inspector-General of Police 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.
“The Squad will be deployed in each command to deal with the state’s salient security challenges. Concrete steps have already been taken to facilitate the smooth take-off of the SIS in 10 pilot states, already identified based on the recent violent crime assessment carried out in all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, while the other 27 states will immediately follow.
“I wish to express gratitude to Mr. President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for his kind approval for the specialised training (starting next month) of the initial team of instructors for the SIS. Thank you, Mr President.
“The Force recognises that good attitudinal and professional conduct of our officers are central to attaining the ideals we have chosen to embrace as the lead agency in Nigeria’s internal security. The Nigeria Police Force is conscious of the fact that in our duty to secure society and restore peace and public order, are our indispensable partners.
“The Force is determined to further refine the perception of our officers to the essential concepts of human rights, the rule of law, and citizen-focused policing. Consequently, a specially packaged reorientation programme for officers has commenced.
” Furthermore, it has been directed that a renewed emphasis should be placed on psychological and attitudinal training for all new recruits at police training schools and colleges.”
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.
Commending the NPF for making Nigeria safer and more secure for everyone, he said the NPF play a key role in tackling regional and international crimes, given that Nigeria, being in a strategic location, attracts organised crimes. However, through joint operations with other West African countries, he said the network was able to arrest over 1000 criminals worldwide on human trafficking and smuggling.
“We were able to identify criminal networks that led to financial losses 40 suspects were arrested and40,000 suspicious cyber networks were identified,” he revealed.
CDS Reaffirms Commitment to Nigeria’s Security
Earlier, General 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.”
He congratulated the Governor on what he said is the remarkable improvement in the development of the state, adding that “most causes of restiveness and crime and other vices stem from lack of good governance.”
While thanking the governor for giving Imo people good governance, the CDS also appreciated Governor Hope for his numerous assistance to the Army and other security agencies, noting that “democracy can only thrive in the sphere of good governance”.
Further speaking, he said “the Army will never tolerate any attempt at truncating the democracy in Nigeria,” adding that the establishment of the “Operation Udoka’ will help flush out the activities of bandits and stop the sit-at-home menace in the South-east.
He assured of professionalism among the security agencies, saying that “the security leadership will not tolerate any infractions by any of their men because their men are expected to be part of the solution and not of the problems.”
He further expressed gratitude and appreciation President Ahmed Bola Tinubu for his assistance to all the security agencies.
As Uzodimma Seeks Improved Funding for Police
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.
Also same day, Governor Uzodimma 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 this to the CDS 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.
Governor Uzodimma told the CDS that “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 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.
On the part of the state government, the Governor assured of getting the buy in of the citizens to cooperate with the security to restore peace.
He requested the army to continue to work hard to reduce the spate of Crude oil theft to the barest minimum, “bring back the crude oil production to its highest,” saying that “this is possible through the combined efforts of Armed Forces and the police working together.”
While commending the Army for their efforts in containing banditry, violence, kidnapping and other vices in Imo State and other South-east States in general, the Governor regretted that some of their men have had to pay the supreme price while carrying out their duties.
He lauded the synergy between all the security agencies in Imo State, which he said has yielded a lot of positive results in their operation.
At the end of the three-day conference, the NPF came up with some resolutions that they will bring to bear in their everyday policing.
First acknowledging the President’s commitment to support security agencies and critical stakeholders providing a secure and safe civil space to facilitate economic growth and development, the IGP said the force has identified cyber-related crimes as the prevailing trend in the country, thus the necessity of high-tech tools, such
as Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, to combat these crimes effectively.
He also noted that the conference has encouraged the NPF to expand its use
of enhanced technology tools, including the expansion of the NPF National Cybercrime Centre to FCID Annexes and State Commands’ CIDs across the country.
He also emphasised on the significance of personnel remuneration
and training in enabling the Force to carry out its duties effectively
and efficiently, adding that there was need to educate officers at all levels about Social Media tools and skills to enhance strategic communications and
engagement with the nation’s youth.
IGP Egbetokun also called for special funding of the NPF by Federal and State Governments, private and corporate bodies, with the
National Assembly urged to facilitate a bill to review the existing Police Trust Fund for adequacy and judicious use.
Also important is the recognition of the importance of collaboration among security agencies and the appeal for continued professionalism and
cooperation, he said, just as he stressed that they need encouragement for the FG to support and equip the NPF to enhance operational capabilities.
Internationally, he said there was need to acknowledge and sustain the increasing role of the NPF in INTERPOL affairs. He further said recommendation should be made to consider including Heads of security agencies, particularly the IGP, in the National Economic Council to integrate security perspectives into the nation’s strategic economic policies
It further appreciated the IGP’s leadership in advancing Community Policing and the call for special funding to implement this strategy, while recognising the need and effort to mainstream gender equality in the affairs of the NPF.
Also, the IGP’s Special Committee, under the leadership of the DIG Department of Finance and Administration was charged to conclude the review of the draft Harmonised Condition of Service for the NPF by the end of fourth quarter 2023 while acquisition of electronic case management system to ensure
digitisation of all casefiles and other legacy documents at the Force Criminal Investigations Department for posterity and enduring institutional memory is sacrosanct, was advocated.
Also, the communique urged the FG to provide adequate funding for the training of police personnel to improve their
capacity for effective crime prevention, enhanced public safety and quality service delivery to Nigerians, and on the same note, it called for collaboration of the NPF with the PSC to ensure resuscitation of Development,
Refresher, and Promotion Courses for the Inspectorate and Rank/File cadres.
The resolution also posited that the Police Pension Scheme Board should be constituted in such a way to fully involve competent Police Officers in the running
of the Pension Scheme, while the Board is to be administratively overseen by the IGP on behalf and of the government.
Also, there was recommendation of the exit of the NPF from the Contributory Pension Scheme and revert to the amended Defined Benefit Scheme. Meanwhile, they also noted that it is sacrosanct that the NPF set in place a
technology and digital transformation strategy document, just as it is imperative for the NPF to set in place
cybersecurity management strategy document.
About Matchmakers Consult International
Although the conference might have come and gone, one of the notable highlights is how Matchmakers Consult International has sustained the tempo for four consecutive years. From the tasteful aesthetics to the carefully picked resource persons and the distinguished invitees to the different entertainment offering, the agency has lived up to its billing.
Led by Mr. Shina Philips, who also is the President of the Nigeria Pitch Awards (NPA), Matchmakers Consult International is a knowledge-based consulting firm with nearly two decades of experience, providing strategic services and support to organisations and individuals in key areas of sports, events, awards, training, media relations and other key sectors.
Meanwhile, when the curtains finally closed on the conference, the senior officers were brimming with zeal to carry out the reform project targeted at boosting the security of the nation, thus marking a significant milestone in their collective effort to enhance internal security and contribute to the nation’s development.