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Nigeria moves to transform, modernise police force

Nigeria has identified complete overhaul of institutional mentality of police officers as fundamental to the ongoing bid to transform and modernise the institution.

The reform is designed to turn the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) into a modern, professional and accountable institution.

President Bola Tinubu said he had since explains why since last year, initiated wide-ranging reforms to revitalize the nation’s police force.

The President unveiled his plan on Monday night during the maiden edition of the Nigeria Police Awards and Commendations ceremony in Abuja.

He stressed the need to engage men and women of the force in training and capacity-building to equip them with the expertise required to carry out the arduous task of modern policing.

President Tinubu, who was represented at the event by Vice President Kashim Shettima, explained why the federal government approved the first week of April as police week and the last day of the week as National Police Day.

“In our tradition of honouring the Police Force in the life of this great nation, we have approved the adoption of the first week of April as Police Week. Furthermore, the last day of the week, the 7th of April, is hereby declared National Police Day in Nigeria.

“Tonight, I must remind you that we don’t see you as just the shields of the nation.

We don’t see you as robots. This is why we are here. We are here to humanise you,” he declared.

Delivering the President’s speech titled, “Courage Under Fire: A Bouquet for Our Police Force,” Shettima said at a time in Nigeria’s history when the nation’s security architecture is being stretched beyond elastic limits, the citizens have been able to endure in the face of security threats as well as attacks on their lives and livelihoods due to the commitment of the police.

“Your exemplary valour doesn’t only represent the pinnacle of patriotism that binds us but also instils confidence that brighter days lie just beyond the horizon,” President Tinubu added.

He noted that his administration had been unequivocal about its resolve to transform the Nigeria Police Force into “a modern, professional, and accountable institution that mirrors the aspirations and values” of the nation.

The President continued: “Our idea of a modern police force goes beyond superficial changes like repainting office buildings and residences or simply procuring firearms. True reform of our security doctrine and its architecture necessitates recognising the importance of administering justice and adhering to our ethical values to foster stability and order in the nation.

“The transformation we seek must transcend mere policy and infrastructure; it requires a fundamental overhaul of our institutional mentality and memory.”

President Tinubu listed part of the comprehensive reforms by his administration to rejuvenate the police force to include investment in training and capacity-building.

He said this will ensure that police officers are equipped with the knowledge, skills, values, and expertise required to tackle the complex challenges of modern policing, assuring that the government will upgrade equipment and technology to enhance operational effectiveness and efficiency of the force.

“This includes acquiring fit-for-purpose equipment, weapons, ammunition, and armoured carriers to provide cover and protection for officers in combat situations. These endeavours will be supported by suitable measures to enhance the status of our officers and personnel both during their service and after retirement,” he further stated.

In his goodwill message, President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, commended the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, for recognising the hard work, resilience and patriotism of the officers and men of the police force.

Expressing his delight and that of the National Assembly for celebrating the well-deserved officers of the force, the Senate President said the decision to celebrate the nation’s unsung heroes will pave the way for a new police force in the country.

“The leadership of the police understands the role of the police force in a democratic dispensation. I commend the Inspector General of Police and I commend the police officers for the work of sacrifice and for maintaining peace and order in our communities.

“As we commend the good officers, let us weed out the bad ones among the police force,” Akpabio stated, adding that to whom much is given, much is expected.

Earlier in his welcome address, IGP Egbetokun applauded President Tinubu for his support to the force, as well as his administration efforts in ensuring the nation’s security forces are up to their game.

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