Task Before IGP Alkali Baba
POLITICS DIGEST –On Friday, June 4, 2021, the Police Council confirmed the appointment of Alhaji Usman Alkali Baba as the substantive Inspector General of Police (IGP). President Muhammadu Buhari had on April 6, 2021, approved his appointment in an acting capacity.
President Buhari, who chaired the meeting of the Police Council, urged the new police boss to justify the confidence reposed in him by reducing the wave of insecurity in the country. The president had on April 6, sacked his predecessor, Mohammed Adamu.
The job of the IGP is well cut out for him. Apart from the fight against Boko Haram/Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in the North East, there is the banditry across the North West and North Central regions, kidnappings across all regions of the country, farmers-herders conflicts and secessionists’ violence in the South East, South West and South South along with rising ethno-religious violence.
So, the IGP must put his best forward by changing the narrative and operational fortunes in Nigeria’s fight against insecurity. He should realize that his appointment is geared towards stamping out the nation’s rising security challenges, which though enormous, are not insurmountable.
Towards this, the new IGP should avoid unnecessary squabbles with agencies he ought to work with towards guaranteeing the safety and security of Nigerians. Unlike what obtained in the immediate past, there must be a harmonious working relationship with the Police Service Commission, Police Equipment Trust Fund, the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Police Council.
He should refrain from allowing operations of the police to end up in court. The case of the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 nullifying the recruitment of 10,000 constables carried out in 2019 because of skirmishes between the then IGP and Police Service Commission must be avoided as it also impeded needed reforms.
Of importance is the low morale of police personnel made worse by the effects of the EndSARS protests and the attacks on policemen and formations especially in South East region. Restoring and boosting the morale of policemen and women in the line of duty should be a priority of the new IGP. As we are all aware, not much can be achieved with a disgruntled police force. Their welfare should be looked into. It is a good thing that the president has approved an increase in the salaries of policemen. The IGP should pursue it to ensure that it is fully implemented. Policemen should also be provided habitable accommodation as that will boost performance.
Special attention must be paid to families of those who died in the line of duty.
IGP Alkali Baba should embark on the training and retraining of his personnel. He should invest in technology as policemen in Nigeria are still fighting crime the old way and that is not good enough for the level of criminality across the country. There is no denying the fact that Nigeria is under-policed considering its size and population. Therefore, the need to recruit more policemen cannot be overemphasised. The IGP should commence the process of massive recruitment of men and women into the force to beef up the existing manpower while making sure that he avoids all the issues that caused the exercise to fail under his predecessor.
He should also activate a robust working relationship with the military and other security agencies including the Department of State Services, Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Road Safety Corps and even the Fire Service. There should be joint operations and sharing of intelligence to avoid inter-agency rivalry.
The IGP should also look into the much talked about community policing and see how it can work for the benefit of all citizens. This is a golden opportunity for the IGP to make a difference in the fight against insecurity.