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HomeBattaFilesANALYSIS: Will Police Fulfil Withdrawal Of Officers From VIPs?

ANALYSIS: Will Police Fulfil Withdrawal Of Officers From VIPs?

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have reiterated its plan to withdraw officers from very important persons (VIPs) in the country.

Recall that Olukayode Egbetokun, acting inspector-general of police (IGP), in June said personnel of the police mobile force (PMF) will no longer carry out VIPs escort and guard duties.

Egbetokun said the force will conduct an assessment of all the duties of the mobile police to ensure effective utilisation.

Reiterating this in a statement on Monday,  Muyiwa Adejobi, force spokesperson, said the policy remains valid, adding that there is “no going back”.

“The force wishes to clarify that the decision to withdraw the PMF personnel from escort and guard duties stands firm, and there will be no going back on this critical policy change. The withdrawal process has already commenced with a comprehensive report, which has been submitted by the constituted committee assigned to oversee the seamless implementation of this directive; and the IGP has activated the mobilisation process for the establishment of the police quick intervention squad which precedes the withdrawal policy.

“The decision to withdraw police mobile force personnel from VIP duties is part of ongoing efforts to optimize the allocation of resources and enhance the efficiency of the Nigeria Police Force in its core mandate of safeguarding the lives and properties of all citizens. While poised to ensure a smooth transition, the Nigeria Police Force is committed to providing adequate security arrangements for VIPs who are entitled to such protection.

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“Meanwhile, the force will carefully consider the provisions of sections 23 to 25 of the police act 2020, in recruiting more supernumerary officers, to handle VIP security responsibilities,” the statement reads.

Police as domestic servants 

In a recent video that went viral on May 16, a Nigerian singer known as Spyro shared footage on his Twitter handle of an armed policeman opening a car door for him.

The video sparked outrage among many Nigerians who condemned the policeman’s act. In reaction, Muyiwa Adejobi, Nigeria Police Force spokesperson criticised the officer’s action.

“This is indeed unprofessional and ridiculous. The video will be sent to relevant offices and units to fish him out. We will stop some deployments or attachments. You can imagine him moving with and opening the door for him,” he wrote.

But it was not the first time the police force would threaten to withdraw police escorts from VIPs. In fact, Spyro’s case is one of many such incidents that has gone viral.

Apart from opening car doors, police orderlies, armed with AK-47 rifles can often be seen slapping the bonnets of cars in traffic as they command other road users to give way to their principals. It is also common to see them carrying handbags or umbrellas for VIPs, especially politicians. 

The United Nations recommends a police officer for every 450 persons for effective policing. Based on UN data, Nigeria’s population is estimated at 206,139,589. 

So, there is a need for 458,087 policemen to adequately police the nation. However, the country has less than 400,000 policemen and women, a figure insufficient compared to the numbers recommended.

Despite low police personnel figures in the face of rising insecurity, the rich and powerful have about 150,000 police officers attached to them.

Police spokesman Adejobi has said efforts are being made by Inspector-General Usman Baba to check the practice. There have been attempts in the past to stop it, however, and they came to nothing.

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