As violent crimes worsen across Nigeria, the police have come under increasing pressure to devise modern means of tackling the challenges in Africa’s most-populous nation.
Kidnapping, armed robbery, terrorism and clashes over resources have all taken a paralysing toll on the nation’s economic prospects, hindering opportunities for the nearly 200 milion population.
Police approach has been criticised by rights activists as crude and outmodelled. In 2017, hundreds of Nigerians took part in a citizen-led drive to demand an end to police brutality, which often turns fatal.
Activists have suggested a fundamental reform for the police as Nigeria’s main law enforcement institution, but others agreed there are administrative measures that could be taken to mitigate controversial methods of the police in the meantime.
On Monday 28, Inspector-General Muhammad Adamu opened a summit of top police chiefs in Lagos. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the event, which drew experts from across the world that were invited to train the senior officers on modern law enforcement techniques.
Segun Awosanya, the convener of #EndSARS campaign, and Charles Omole, a London-based Nigerian national security analyst, were amongst the experts invited to make suggestions on how the Nigerian police could catch up with the fast-changing dynamics of combating crimes.
Mr Adamu’s opening speech at the event was circulated by the police and reproduced in full below:
REMARKS BY IGP MOHAMMED A. ADAMU, NPM, mni, AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF A 3-DAY CONFERENCE AND RETREAT FOR SENIOR POLICE OFFICERS AT EKO HOTELS AND SUITES, LAGOS STATE ON 28th OCTOBER, 2019.
I am particularly elated by the honour of the presence of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as ably represented by the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo at this gathering of senior officers of the Nigeria Police Force. The attendance of Your Excellency is a clear statement on the commitment to the re-engineering of the Nigeria Police and the prioritization of security by the Federal Government.
2. Your Excellency, there is a strong correlation between personnel capacity and organizational performance. This fact is even more evident in the Nigeria Police Force, given the increasingly complex and dynamic nature of crime that we, as the primary law enforcement agency, grapples with routinely, the risks we are regularly exposed to, and our obligation to perform our duties within the dictates of the law.
3. The inter-mix of these requires the constant acquisition of professional knowledge by all police personnel, particularly, those at strategic management level. This is with a view to acquiring the capacity to dissect threats, appreciate complex security and crime situations, and take decisions, at times in split seconds, towards neutralising such threats or resolving identified crimes.
4. The idea of this Retreat is, therefore, in furtherance to our policing vision which emphasizes capacity building as a pathway to enhancing effective police service delivery in the country. We firmly believe that with the constant engagement of strategic managers and consistent training and retraining of personnel of the Force across all ranks, the expectation of the Federal Government and indeed, the nation at large for a Police Force that is knowledge-driven, rule of law-guided, community-oriented, technology-compliant, and intelligence-led shall be achieved.
5. Through a professional forum of this nature, the personnel of the Nigeria Police shall be expected to acquire a high-level of professionalism and competence required to neutralize any threat to our national security and give meaning to the Constitutional provision that ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’.
6. Your Excellency, gathered here today for this 3-day Retreat and Conference are a collection of all officers occupying strategic leadership positions in the Nigeria Police Force. This comprises of all Commissioners of Police, Assistant Inspectors General of Police, and Deputy Inspectors General of Police, and our mission is twofold.
7. Firstly, we intend to utilize this forum to undertake a holistic evaluation of the current internal security threats and crime dynamics in the country, identify factors engendering crimes, and project into the future. This is with a view to identifying human capacity requirements for addressing current and emerging threats to our internal security and evolving pathways towards addressing such.
8. Secondly, this programme is expected to avail participating Police Officers of the opportunity to draw on the expertise of seasoned facilitators and the rich professional knowledge of the array of police officers here gathered. We shall also leverage on the network to be established towards enhancing peer-review towards engendering a broader understanding of our mandate and enhance our operational capacity.
9. With these anticipated outcomes in mind, I charge all participants to take advantage of this unique opportunity, give their utmost attention, and ensure that the purposes of this engagement are achieved. As you all know, the security threats being faced in our dear nation require urgent and well-thought out solutions. Let us, therefore, roll up our sleeves and rededicate ourselves to our statutory duties in order to provide security that will not only place us above the criminal elements, but guarantee that we deliver our services in the most professional, civil, and lawful manner.
10. Permit me to at this juncture, immensely appreciate His Excellency, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Executive Governor of Lagos State for hosting this program as well as our other partners for their invaluable support which made this Conference and Retreat possible.
11. May I also seize this opportunity to again re-assure the entire citizens of this great country of our firm determination and clear vision to evolve a new Police Force for the nation, and to explore all available strategies in guaranteeing their security and safety. This is our Mandate. It is, therefore, our obligation to attain it. We, however, solicit the continued support of the citizens in the process.
12. Your Excellency, I thank you and other guests most sincerely for gracing the opening ceremony of this event and pray that Almighty Allah (SWT) grants you all journey mercies back to your respective destinations.
13. I thank you all for your attention.