President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, to bring insecurity ravaging the country to the barest minimum.
This followed his unanimous confirmation as the substantive IGP by a meeting of the Police Council presided over by the president at the First Lady Wing of the presidential villa, Abuja.
Briefing correspondents after the meeting, Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, said the main purpose of the session was to “get the appointment of acting IGP confirmed by the council in keeping with section 205 of the constitution.
He added: “It requires the confirmation by members of the council before he’s finally confirmed as the Inspector General of police.”
The minister said the meeting was also to X-rayed the security situation in the country with a view to finding lasting solutions.
Dingyadi added: “The meeting started with the usual presentation of tactics by the inspector General which fortunately because of his track record, was unanimously confirmed.
“Mr President used the opportunity to congratulate him on his appointment and called on him to ensure that he is worthy of the confidence reposed in him. He tasked his rise to the challenge and ensure that the insecurity that the country is facing is brought to the barest minimum.
“The IGP assured Mr President and Nigerians that he is going to work assiduously to ensure that the responsibilities assigned to him are brought to bear and executed to the best of his abilities and to the satisfaction of all Nigerians.”
On his part, Baba, who was appointed acting IGP on April 6, revealed that he briefed the council on the threat to national security across the six geo-political zones, stating zones peculiarities.
He said: “There are peculiarities, like I said before, in the south-east and south south is the issue of secessionist agenda championed by IPOB. I also talked about terrorism and religious bigotry in the northeast. I also talked about the issue of kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry and cultism as it affects the north central and north west and south west.
“I gave a synopsis in terms of what we are doing to address this situation. I also thanked Mr President for providing additional logistics in terms of carrying out our duties and responsibilities.
“In collaboration with other security agencies, we try to checkmate other forms of lawlessness, criminality and unlawful agitation in order to ensure lives and property are saved and at the same time allow Nigerian citizens go about their lawful business.
“What is seriously worrisome is the south east, but it is gradually being checked and results are positive as regards the attacks and killings of security agents and assets belonging to the federal government.
“Our ability to checkmate this lawlessness has improved and we are getting closer to something positive.
“We also acknowledge the fact that there are some things that have been done by the federal government to improve police operations ranging from the establishment of the Police Trust Fund, signing into law of the 2020 Police Act and several other intervention funds, necessary technology and intelligence led-policing will be a reality.
“I briefed the council on adding to our strengths in terms of recruitment for 2020 and 2021 as this will assist us. I also briefed the council on community policing which has taken off in all the states and how the community police officers are assisting in providing security in their communities because their operations are restricted to their immediate community.
“I briefed the council on the number of arrests we have made and recoveries in terms of firearms and weaponry that are being used lawlessly. I briefed the council on the rescue of kidnapped victims and what we are doing to secure the school children that have been kidnapped and how we are going about securing those in schools.”
The IGP also spoke on differentiating political thugs from the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), saying that as a proscribed organization, nobody is expected to belong to it.
He explained: “The issue is IPOB is a proscribed organisation and we expect nobody to belong to the IPOB. Thuggery is an offence and anyone will be dealt with according to the law. They are all offenders. It’s just like me differentiating between an armed robber and a thug. It’s the level of crime that matters. There is no way we can say this is IPOB or a thug it all depends on the level of crime.”
On the alarm raiser by south west leaders on invasion by foreign herdsmen, the IGP said it is being taken seriously.
He added: “It’s a statement that will not be taken lightly. We are looking into it based on the intelligence available to us we will deal with the situation and those who are making the statement are also at liberty by national calling to substantiate to the nearest police station.
“It is not today we have been hearing of foreigners coming into commit one crime or the other and in some instances, there are real incidents that some people that were arrested are not really Nigerians.
“It is not a new thing and whatever level of security we need to provide we are doing it. We have border patrol police, immigration are doing their jobs in terms of checking illegal aliens. It is possible but it is not as light as invasion, that word is very strong. We will look into it if actually, it is true.”