Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, says the Nigeria Police Force is key agency in ensuring sustainable African regional stability and peace. Idris, disclosed this on Tuesday at the West Africa National Security Conference, holding at Accra, Ghana.
The IGP delivered a paper entitled:'' The Role of Nigeria Police in National Security and its Contributions in West Afrca''. Idris said, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Nigeria Police Force, has made tremendous contributions to stability and peace in the African Regional Block, ECOWAS and also under the United Nations Mandate.
''In 2005, under the United Nations Mandate, the Nigeria Police Force deployed for the first time in the history of the world, the first ever FPU Unit to a United Nations Mission from an African Country to United Nations Mission in Liberia [UNMIL]. '' This Unit which is still stationed in Liberia has been involved in stabilizing the country since its return to democratic rule in 2005.'' Idris further noted that, Nigeria’s contribution to the stability in Liberia was not only limited to the deployment of Formed Police Unit (FPU), in early 2005, few months before the general election that ushered the government of Ellen Sirleaf.
"Myself as the mission operation coordinator in United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) together with Mal Mohammed Alhassan of Ghana the UNMIL commissioner met with Gen Abdulsalamin Abubakar the then ECOWAS peace mediator to UNMIL to facilitate the Nigeria government support to train some Liberia National Police to cover some critical aspects of the election".
The police boss added that Nigerian government granted their request and the mission deployed 250 Liberian National Police Officers to Police training School in Goza, Borno state for 2 months course on Special Police Training Operations Course.
Idris explained further that the trained police officers are those the force utilised to cover the flash points during the Liberian National election as well as subsequent protests that marked the aftermath of that election by supporters of George Weah, a presidential candidate in that election.
He noted that the role of Nigeria government cannot be overemphasized in view of the incapacity of the Liberian Police to provide professional security to ensure free, fair and credible elections at that period. ''Another tremendous support by the Nigerian government to peace and stability in West Africa was the response provided by Nigeria Government during the destabilizing Military intervention in Guinea Bissau.
'' In 2012, the Nigerian Government deployed a Formed Police Unit (FPU) to Guinea Bissau to assist in stabilizing the Interim Government that came into being after the coup that occurred in that country. '' The Unit was in that country till 2014 and returned back to Nigeria after the General Election that ushered a new democratic Government in 2014. '' As of today, the Nigerian government through the Nigeria Police, have continued to deploy 3 Police Advisors to Guinea Bissau to support its Police Force in capacity development.
The IGP said another area of support by the Nigeria government to countries in ECOWAS is the training and donation of logistics to Niger Police Force in 1998. Similarly, the Nigerian government had offered slots for staff development courses to Police officers from West African Countries as support and assistance to improve in capacity development and ensure professional service to its individual countries in the sub-region. Idris added: ''Nigerian Government had offered slots for police officers from the Gambia and Sierra Leone in the Police Staff College Jos and the Police Academy, Wudil, for Police Officers to enhance capacities in the middle level manpower development Cadre of the Police institutions in these countries between 2001 to 2007.
''The Nigerian Police Force is planning to host the next WAPCO meeting later this year, as a measure to enhance regional cooperation between Police services in the sub-region.
'' We therefore seek the cooperation of all Police institutions in the sub-region to support and actualize this vision accordingly.
'' The Nigerian Police Force also wish to use these medium to seek for closer ties in information sharing and intelligence cooperation between Police services within the sub-region.
''This in order for us to tackle menace of Trans-border crimes that bedevil our individual countries in the sub-region,'' Idris, averred. The IGP further stressed the importance of actionable intelligence sharing, saying,'' as at today, through such exchange of information, Nigerians are celebrating the arrest of the infamous and recently nabbed Nigerian/Ghanian kidnapper, Chukwudemeje Gorge Onwuamadike, aka Evans.
''Evans was apprehended two weeks ago by the IGP’s team, after many years of evading arrest, using kidnapping as a franchise, for terrorizing Nigerians and many countries across the sub-African continent, particularly the host country of this conference, Ghana.
Together, we can improve the method of monitoring and surveillance, particularly in all our border and coastal security Police units, by improving crisis communication capabilities,'' Idris, stated.
The Nigeria Police Force is a Force estimated to be about 300,000 strength which operates in 127 Area commands and 5303 Police Divisional offices located in thirty six Police Commands plus the FCT, which is the Federal Capital Territory, which constitute the thirty seventh commands in Nigeria. These vintage position enable the Force to cover every inch of the 774 Local Governments in the thirty six States of the Federation.
In addition to its spread and enormous powers in dealing with crimes and criminality, the Nigeria Police Force is also a member of the three levels strategic coordination apparatus of the government at the National, States and at the local Governments.
At the National level, the Nigeria Police Force is a critical member of the National Security Council, a coordinating security apparatus which is chaired by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.