By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, has admonished the newly appointed Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Usman Alkali Baba to see himself as a key partner to the present administration’s comprehensive programme of reform aimed at repositioning the Nigeria Police Force as a modern, responsive and citizen centred law enforcement service.
He also challenged the new IGP to ensure that under his leadership, the police must now rebuild in some ways especially the broken bridges of public trust to regain the confidence of the citizenry.
Osinbajo spoke on Wednesday at State House, Abuja while swearing-in the new IGP (Baba). He told him that to meet today’s challenges, he must stamp out the excesses, abuses and the culture of impunity, demonstrated by some elements of the Force which provoke public outrage against the institution.
The Vice President’s speech reads in parts:
“Let me once again, offer my congratulations to you new Inspector General of Police on your appointment. Your selection by Mr. President follows a rigorous process where all eligible Deputy Inspectors-General (DIGs) of Police and Assistant Inspectors-General (AIGs) of Police were considered.
“The President then appointed you as the most senior qualified and eligible officer. This is a departure from the past when the selection of the new Inspector General of Police often meant the immediate retirement of a cohort of senior police officers whose vast experience and training would no longer be available to the country. This appointment, which is largely on the basis of seniority and competence, will ensure that you have access to professional and experienced officers to support you in your new role.
“IG, you are assuming office at a very turbulent time in the life of our people. There are multiple threats to law, order and public safety. The role of law enforcement and particular that of the police force as primary agency charged with maintaining law and order has never been more important. The police is our institution of first resort, the first line of defence against crime and anarchy and the first sign of the strength of the state.
“The challenges before you are indeed onerous and will test your mettle, the organisation you are leading is one that is itself facing several challenges.
“Under your leadership. The police must now rebuild in some ways also the broken bridges of trust to the public and regain the confidence of the citizenry. This is an ongoing challenge is an ongoing task that the police force and all of the senior members of the police force must take on as a responsibility, that of the continual process of building trust to the Nigerian people.
“One of the ways you can do this is by implementing the community policing policy which had already taken off and reconceptualizing policing as a task carried out in partnership with local communities and by officers who are members of these localities.
“Under your leadership, the force must live up to all of the highest standards of professional conduct and compliance with the rule of law. It must significantly improve the welfare and working conditions of its officers.
“To meet today’s challenges. You must stamp out the excesses and abuses and the culture of impunity, demonstrated by some elements of the force which provoke public outrage against institution.
“In short, your mission is nothing less than the restoration of dignity and high repute of the policing professional and the continuous oiling of that machinery of the police force that enables it to be one that is respected by the populace and by the international community. The testimony of your pedigree and your career thus far is that you are up to the task.
“The administration stands ready to work with you to reposition the NPF and take it to unprecedented height of professionalism, competence and excellence.