Nigeria’s police chief Ibrahim Idris this Monday ordered the withdrawal of all police offices attached to very important persons (VIPs) including political and public officeholders nationwide.
The police boss, who announced this in Abuja during a conference with senior officers, stated that the directive also affected private businessmen, multinational companies and other corporate organizations who are enjoying special police protection.
The directive came on a day Fulani herdsmen killed 10 people, including a traditional ruler and his wife, in Omala LGA of Kogi State, in a renewed offensive. A few days ago, they murdered no fewer than 32 innocents in the state.
Eyewitnesses reported that soldiers deployed to the area refused to act on information but instead prevented a counter-attack from the villagers.
It wasn’t the first time such a directive was given. Former IGPs did the same but the order was never carried out. A third of Nigeria’s 400, 000-strong police force is guarding VIPs.
Idris explained that a task force had been constituted at the Force headquarters under the command of ACP Mohammed Dankwara to ensure compliance to the directive while state commissioners of police are to replicate same at their commands.
Announcing his plans to withdraw the policemen on private guard duty, the IG said, “In view of the current security challenges in the country, it has become expedient for the Nigeria Police Force to streamline the deployment of its personnel attached to political and public officeholders, aimed at enhancing effective and efficient policing of the country.
“To this effect, a memo will be forwarded to the President for approval which will serve as a guideline or template for deployment to VIPs, political and public officeholders in the country. Accordingly, a directive for withdrawal of all police officers deployed to VIPs, political and public officeholders with immediate effect is hereby given.”
Idris, however, explained that businessmen, corporate organisations and individuals who required special police protection and “are found worthy,” would be considered by the Special Protection Unit of the force on application for re-validation through the state commissioners of police where they are resident.
“By so doing, I am charging the commissioners of police with the responsibility of supervising such official deployment and thereby holding them accountable,” the IGP told senior police officers.
He bemoaned the abuse of police supernumerary number plates and the illegal use of siren and covering of vehicle number plates by motorists and warned the culprits to desist from doing so.
He directed the holders of the police SPY number plates to return them to the Force Transport Officer and apply for re-validation.
He also asked the state CPs to enforce the directive and arrest violators, adding that the list of task force teams that would ensure compliance to the order should be sent to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Operations, by March 31, 2018.