South Sudan Police authorities has pleaded with the Nigeria Police Force to urgently come to their aid in the area of training of their own manpower and capacity building especially as they have seen from the performances of the Nigeria Police contingent in the newly independent country, that Nigeria Police officers are 'top class' comparable to those in Europe and other advanced countries.
Deputy Inspector General of South Sudan , Lt. General Gordon Micah Kur Luala who made the plea when he received the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mamman Ibrahim Tsafe; representative of Nigeria Police IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, during a courtesy call on the South Sudan Police headquarters in Juba, disclosed that among many challenges facing the country's Police force, they were yet to be fully professionalized.
"We want to say, we are watchful and impressed with the performance of the Nigerian Police Contingent under UNMISS. They are well kitted, alert at all times and command respect. We expect a lot from nations like Nigeria who have passed through some of the difficulties we are facing now and have much experience like you.
"Already, South Sudan is rich in men and human resources but we are lacking in many aspects. These includes; shortcoming in the area of Legal Affairs amongst others. Our Police need to know more about judiciary practices as it concerns the rule of law and its application to not only South Sudanese citizens but foreigners as well".
Explaining further, Gen. Kur Luala said, "a major challenge facing us is that our Police personnel is composed of elements who were not originally policemen. Some of them came from the army, some from the militia groups, and some from remnants of the former Sudan Police Force. The greater percentages of them are not educated or trained.
"What we are after, which we have tried to lay down in our policy is that we want our police transformed. To achieve this, we want training opportunities, a workable social welfare system in place, a proper police structure including a CID for investigations, a correction center, a proper civil service and a viable intelligence branch".
Responding to the plea, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2, Maman Tsafe expressed understanding with the situation the South Sudanese has found itself noting that he was sent to Juba by Nigeria's IG because he (MD Abubakar) appreciated the need to support the Sudanese in anyway he can.
He told the Sudanese Deputy IG that his observations about the Nigeria Police Contingent was made possible by the IGP of Nigeria because of his belief that a properly kitted and motivated Policeman is already primed to face difficult challenges and succeed. He promised to convey other requests of the Sudanese to the Nigerian IG for consideration.
At the office of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Political (D-SRSG), Raisedon Zenenga, AIG Tsafe was told that the UN is very appreciative of the contributions of the Nigerian Police force to UN peacekeeping, not only in South-Sudan, but other missions.
He pointed out that the performances of the Nigerian Police contingents in Liberia, Congo, Darfur, Sierra Leone, Haiti, East Timor, among others, are well documented and a reference point in peacekeeping.
Mr. Zenenga specifically requested AIG Tsafe to take the message home that for South Sudan in particular, there was need for Nigeria to help the new country build key institutions of governance which are presently in short supply. "These, according to him include; teachers for schools, organizing the judicial system, helping out in correctional and Prisons system, Immigration, Civil Service, and other specialized fields like tailoring, carpentry, farming, etc.
The visit of the AIG to South Sudan Police HQ followed the presentation of UN medals to 34 Nigerian Police Officers who made the country proud in the performance of their duties as mandated, with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, hailing Nigeria's undisputable contribution to peace and orderliness in the new independent nation.
The commendation of the SRSG came with AIG Mamman Ibrahim Tsafe promising the UN authorities that more dedicated and selfless performance should be expected from Nigerian police peacekeepers under the MD Abubakar (IG) administration.
While congratulating the recipients for making the nation in general and the Nigeria police proud with the performance, AIG Tsafe said, "It shows that you have been disciplined and hardworking officers, that you have been worthy ambassadors of our great nation. I am proud of you, the IG is proud of you and I am sure the UN is proud of you.
Nigerians are proud of you.
"As for the medals you are getting today, I want you to start wearing them right here in South Sudan. Bring them back home at the end of your tour of duty and wear them proudly because you have worked for them, you have earned them and they are yours. It is not every officer than can be blessed with this honor and opportunity".
At a very colorful ceremony witnessed by the Force Commander of UNMISS, Nigeria's Major General Moses Obi, the UN Police Commissioner, Dr. Fredrick Yiga and the Consul-General of Nigerian mission in South Sudan, Dangiwa Kumba Gideon, the SRSG said the UN was particularly impressed with the Nigeria Police contingent because their expertise have been brought to bear in the areas of investigation, administration, community policing and building capacity where the South Sudanese Police was really lacking.
Furthermore, the SRSG expressed profound appreciation to the Inspector General of Police of Nigeria for deeming it fit to send a very senior officer in the person of AIG Tsafe to witness the medal parade noting that it showed the very high esteem with which the Police leadership held its personnel, attributing it to the very high standards in return of the officers.
In his remarks, Force Commander of UNMISS, General Moses Obi expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Nigerian Police officers noting that they have done very well in their roles as Staff Officers of the various deployments, Liaison officers, Advisers and Trainers which, he said, has in no small measure helped to build capacity.
The UN Police Commissioner in charge of UNPOL, Dr. Yiga noted also that the Nigerian Police Contingent's contribution is highly appreciated especially against the backdrop that the team are given very difficult assignments and deployed to remote and difficult terrains.