Kayode Egbetokun, Acting Inspector-General of Police (Ag. IGP), has ordered the immediate withdrawal of personnel of the Police Mobile Force from dignitaries and VIPs.
Egbetokun, speaking on Monday at a conference in Abuja, promised a special force would be created to protect dignitaries and VIPs.
His call for a withdrawal of policemen has, however, drawn criticism, as it is common practice for police chiefs to make such calls every few years.
Here’s a timeline of police bosses making calls for their officers to be withdrawn from VIPs. But before police bosses, there was Muhammadu Buhari.
BUHARI — 2015
The current tradition of police bosses assuming office and ordering the withdrawal of policemen from VIPs was not an idea hatched by the police.
On August 20, 2015, only three months after Muhammadu Buhari became Nigeria’s president, he made the demand.
At a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Police Service Commission in the Presidential Villa, Buhari ordered Sunday Arase, IGP at the time, to reduce the number of policemen attached to VIPs.
One month after, the Police Service Commission (PSC) were yet to fully effect this order. They said so themselves.
Comfort Obi, the commissioner in charge of media at the commission, said the police was complying gradually.
IDRIS — 2018
At a meeting with commissioners of police (CPs) and other senior police officers at the Force Headquarters in Abuja on March 19, 2018, Ibrahim Idris, then IGP, made the same call for withdrawal of police officers from dignitaries.
He said: “In view of the current security challenges in the country, it has become expedient for the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to streamline the deployment of its personnel attached to political and public office holders, aimed at enhancing effective and efficient policing in the country.
“To this effect, a memo will be forwarded to the President for approval, which will serve as a template for deployment to VIPs and public office holders in the country.
“Accordingly, directive for withdrawal of all police officers deployed to VIPs, political and public office holders, with immediate effect, is hereby given.”
ADAMU — 2020
‘The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the withdrawal of all police officers attached to Very Important Persons across the country, with immediate effect.’
This new directive came two days after the climax of the #EndSARS protests in October 2020.
Ten days before October 22, the IGP had disbanded the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), and it appeared to be more effective than removing a few policemen from serving a few VIPs, because another IGP had to give the same order in 2021.
In June 2021, Baba Alkali Usman directed the “immediate withdrawal of officers attached to private citizens”. Earlier in May, Alkali ordered the withdrawal of policemen from VIPs in the southeastern states of Nigeria and Rivers.
Egbetokun’s call came two years after this, and in full cycle fashion, Arase, who was the IGP when Buhari first made the demand, is the current Chairman of the Police Service Commission. The order he was tasked with implementing eight years ago remains a challenge now.
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