Egbetokun And Onerous Task Ahead

By Ben Okezie

Every serious leader with a vision would first sit down to articulate the pros and cons of his idea before embarking on its operational actualization. Just as a truck driver who wants to embark on a long journey  on a road he is not familiar  with. He would first  enquire find about the highway, to ascertain   the safety of the highway, whether it is safer in the morning, noon or at night, before venturing on the  journey.

In his maiden address on assumption of office the lnspector General of police, Mr Kayode Egbetokun  disclosed that he would set up a special squad to tackle the menece of  insecurity aroumd the country.  He had boasted of assembling 40000 strong men to form the nuclus of the proposed new squad. He beat his chest before the media about the new outfit.  What he forgot  was the fact that the same police was already inundated with many squads and outfits at command, zonal and state  levels.

Unfortunately, over the years, these special units or squads have continued to attract unpalatable innuendos and the citizens had  paid seriously for some misdeeds of some personels of these squads. Misdeeds that led to death and total incapacitation of ordinary citizens.

So, it was heartwarming when last week, the Nigeria police leadership  thought out a security strategic programme  to assemble the egg heads  of the police, drawn from all the geopolitical  areas of the country ( i.e), all the zonal commands of the  institution  to congregate in  Owerri, lmo State and fashion out strategies on how to improve the insecurity  around the country. It would be recalled that about the same period last year, the former lnspector General of police Mr Alkali Mohammed Baba also performed this same ritual in Owerri, lmo state with no tangible visible  result. Instead, all we noticed were more killing of police men, increase in insecurity from neighbouring states of Abuja like Niger. Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi and Plateau states. The same scenario has played out after the fourth police retreat as the host commissioner of Imo state went ga-ga with his boys to manhandle the Presidemt of the Nigeria  Labour Congress, Mr Joe Ajaero. Yet, the lmo State  Police  Commissioner, Mohammed Barde who was one of those in attendance  did not wait to digest the sermon of his lGP  but was quick to jestosion the sermon to go and carry out the bidding of the governor.  By this singular acts, Mr  Barde had dented the great sermon of lGP Ekpetokun.

When he noted that  “It is also a platform for the force leadership to critically assess the security situation in the country with a view to adequately confronting the array of challenges in the internal security space.”

Mr Barde may not have been listening when the lGP further stressed on the importamce and gains of the retreat, when he said, “The theme of this year’s conference and retreat “Fostering Economic Prosperity, Social Integration and Political Development through Enhanced Internal Security Mechanism” is derived from the policing vision of the new police leadership in the country “placing a professionally competent, service driven, rule of law compliant and citizen friendly police force which will support the agenda of government in fostering economic recovery and growth as well as social integration and political development of Nigeria.’’ If such a highly hyped conference cannot make the necessary pact on very senior police officers, how then can the juniour officer be ready to emulate from their superiors?”

No wonder  many  view the past police conferences and retreats as purely a national jamboree. Truely, Egbetokun needs to put on a better thinking cap away from the norms. Like  President Bola  Tinubu whose administration thought out a new way to tackle the rudderless Naira currency. The police is yet to fully benefit  from the supposedly gains of previous conferences not to mention the general public who are at the receiving end.

It was  heart warming when the lGP stressed that “The Police Force under my watch is poised to confront head on the menace of violent crimes in our country, restore calm to troubled areas and engender an atmosphere of peace, safety and security which will promote national economic growth and prosperity. However, the question that needs to be answered is  does the police care for its men who fall in line of duty in service for their country? There are many of such gallant men and women who were bread winners to their families but were cut down while protecting their fellow Nigerians just as the enlisted 40, 000 members of the Special

Intervention Squad. I recall officer like Odogwu, a member of the Lagos anti -robbery squad who was gunned down in the premises of a bank after he was identified by one of the raiding armed  robbers. He was not honoured either by the police, the government nor the bank. Many officers who gallantly served the country are either in pain of bullet wounds or were forgotten in penury. Officers like Sam Okaula, Amusa Bello, Simeon Mindenda,  Sunday Mitchubi, Kayode Onaroro etc. Unfortunattely, these gallant and brave police officers left the service unsong neither were they honoured nor was any of them remembered for fighting  sophisticated armed robbers like Shina Rambo, Hammed Tijani, Oyenusi, Lawrence Anini etc. The lGP who witnessed these robbery incidents, must  have been  instigated and inspired by the records of past police heroes to believe that the new squad can rescue the country just like these great fighter  were able to rescue Nigeria from the lion’s den.


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