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Nigeria’s Police Chief Egbetokun Raises 40,000 Strong Special Intervention Squad to Tackle Non-State Actors

He will deploy 1,000 to each state as standby force and 4,000 to volatile areas. He also ordered the withdrawal of Mopols attached to VIPs.

In his first major official act aimed at containing the activities of non-state actors and other criminalities plaguing the country, Acting Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, on Monday, raised a 40,000 strong special intervention squad.

He said 1,000 of the squad would be deployed to each state of the federation as a standby force while 4,000 would be deployed to volatile areas in the country.

Speaking at a meeting with 79 Mobile Police Force (Mopol) Commanders from across the country in Abuja, the IG said the squad shall consist of elite officers.

According to him: “First and foremost, modalities for the creation of a new special squad the Special Intervention Squad have been initiated. 

“This special squad shall consist of 40,000 specially trained elite officers. The squad will be formed by selecting officers from the pool of existing Police Mobile Force (PMF) personnel and all tactical units in the country”.

“These officers will undergo an intensive pre-deployment training to make them combat ready for frontline operational duties in all the states of the federation, with a particular focus on areas plagued with unrest and turmoil. 

“By pooling together the expertise and experience of our PMF personnel and other tactical units, we can establish a formidable force that is well-equipped to handle the evolving challenges we face. 

“This dedicated force will bolster our capacity to respond swiftly and decisively to security threats, ensuring that our presence is felt and our response is effective in every corner of our country”, he said.

Egbetokun said “1000 personnel from this new squad will be deployed to every state of the federation for immediate operations as standby intervention units, while more troubled spots or zones will receive the remaining officers out of the 40,000. 

“These officers will not perform routine police duties but will be housed and kept combat-ready at all times engaging in daily trainings in readiness for deployments to intercept and neutralise high-profile criminals and those terrorizing our communities. 

“They will be deployed to intervene rapidly and proactively in any situation necessary in their states of assignment”. 

On the withdrawal of Mopol officers from VIP security and guard duties, he said the intention was to refocus their energy on addressing security challenges bedeviling the country.

“Furthermore, in order to optimise the efficiency of our resources, we shall carry out a re-evaluation of the responsibilities assigned to the PMF.

“Specifically, we shall effect the withdrawal of PMF personnel from VIP escort/guard duties. While the protection of dignitaries remains paramount, it is imperative that we realign our priorities to address the escalating security challenges faced by the nation as a whole. 

“By relieving the PMF of VIP escort and guard duties, we can redirect their focus and efforts toward addressing critical security concerns that affect our communities at large”, he said. 

“To this end, a special committee headed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations) has been set up to assess and advise on how this strategy can be implemented seamlessly. 

“The committee is expected to submit its report in two weeks after which further details will be made available. Our goal should be to enforce the law and to be partners in creating safe communities, nurturing an environment where everyone feels protected and valued. This is our commitment to Nigerians. 

“To support the foregoing strategic plan and make needed manpower available for frontline duties, the withdrawn PMF officers will be replaced by officers of the Special Protection Unit (SPU) only where necessary”, he said.  

The IG further maintained that in ensuring the smooth implementation of this policy “we will, in consultation with the Police Service Commission, invoke the Supernumerary provision of Sections 23, 24 and 25 of the Police Act 2020 which allows the police to train supernumerary officers specifically for the personal protection duties of individual Nigerians who require their services”. 

He said further details would be made  available in due course.

“This will free up regular police officers to focus more on frontline policing duties across the nation. 

It is important to note that these proposed operational strategies aims to foster a sense of trust, cooperation, and confidence within the Police Force. 

“By involving personnel from various tactical units across the country, we emphasise the unity and collective responsibility of our Force. 

“Through this collaborative effort, we can ensure that no area is left unattended, and all states receive the necessary support to combat crime effectively”.

Deji Elumoye 

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