Yesterday, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, ordered the immediate withdrawal of all police orderlies attached to private individuals and organisations. Although, this directive has been made by several police chiefs before Idris, there has never been an explanation on why their orders often fall flat.
In 2009, the then IGP, Ogbonna Onovo, ordered immediate withdrawal of all policemen attached to private individuals. However, after the directive was issued, state commissioners began to identify some private individuals that would be exempted from the policy.
In October 2010, after Inspector-General Hafiz Ringim, succeeded Onovo, he also called for immediate removal of personnel attached to private individuals, but the order made little effect.
In February 2012, IGP Mohammed Abubakar, who succeeded Ringim, also issued his own directive, saying it was time to bring professionalism, efficiency, and integrity to police operations. Unfortunately, this directive was also not obeyed.
Solomon Arase, the predecessor of present police chief, Ibrahim Idris, in August 2015 ordered the withdrawal of all officers from private individuals, and reduction of orderlies attached to state governors to 62 (from 150). This came a few weeks before he left office, and the directive couldn’t stand. Arase had complained that the police could not afford to attach officers to private individuals when there are more pressing security challenges across the country.
Reasons this directive is coming again
IG Idris disclosed that the current security challenges in the country necessitated the Nigeria Police Force to streamline the deployment of its personnel attached to political and public office holders. “This is aimed at enhancing effective and efficient policing of the country,” he said.
The abuse of police supernumerary number plates, illegal use of siren, and covering of vehicle number plates by motorists were other reasons given.
In a recent interview, the Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), Mike Okiro, said about 150,000 out of a total workforce of about 400,000 officers in Nigeria are attached to private individuals and companies.
Would this directive fail again?
Okiro said the Police could not sustain the enforcement of the order on the withdrawal of policemen attached to unqualified persons in the country because of lack of funds. The private individuals usually pay the police for the services of their orderlies.
“The police lacked the resources to withdraw personnel from private actors,” he said.
Also, according to Yomi Shogunle, an assistant commissioner of police and head of the police complaints unit, the IG has recently asked the president to approve the categories of public officials who would be entitled to police orderlies. Until the president approves it, the police chief would be unable to implement the directive.
“The IG asked the commissioners to go back to their states and withdraw the police officers from private individuals and companies. After that, the commissioners would start accepting applications for protection and examine individuals cases to see who has serious security threat that could warrant being granted police protection in their states,” Shogunle said.
Idris disclosed that this directive would be considered for businessmen, corporate organisations and individuals who required special police protection and “are found worthy”.