Nigeria: Police Suspend Personnel From Escorting VIPs in South-East, Rivers

13 May 2021

The Inspector- General of Police, Ag. IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered nationwide deployment of Police officers and other operational assets of the Force for water-tight security ahead of the 2021 Eid-el-Fitr celebration and beyond.

This is just as Police personnel have been suspended from escorting VIPs in the five South East states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers State.

A wireless directed police commissioners in the states affected to suspend personnel that escort VIPs in the six eastern states until security situation improves in the affected states. The signal noted that the suspension of the Police personnel "is sequel to the incessant attacks on policemen/snatching of arms and ammunition by the proscribed IPOB/ESN elements in the affected states".

The IGP's order to provide water tight security was contained in a directive to Assistant Inspectors-General of Police, AIGs, Commissioners of Police and other strategic commanders of the Force as part of efforts by the Police leadership to stabilize security, improve public safety and make the country a safer place for all citizens.

A statement by CP Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer, quoted the IGP as saying: "The nation's security ecosystem is challenged. These challenges are, however, not insurmountable.

"He reassured the citizens that the Force under his new policing vision is already implementing new, improved, tailored-to-suit and robust security solutions aimed at tackling crimes and neutralizing both existing and emerging security threats in the country.

"The IGP, while restating his belief that the nation will soon overcome its security challenges, further noted that the Force is equally upscaling its collaboration with the military and other law enforcement agencies in both intelligence sharing and other target-oriented missions and operations.

"He enjoined citizens to support the Police to stage a common front in tackling the challenges.

"In addition, the IGP reminded the citizens of the newly introduced Phase-4 National Response on COVID-19 Health Protection Regulation and called for voluntary compliance with the protocols.

"He equally directed commissioners of Police in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to ensure full enforcement of the protocols.

"He, however, warned that Police officers deployed for such enforcement must do so with utmost professionalism, while exhibiting compassion, decorum and due respect for the fundamental rights of the citizens."

Also, indications emerged yesterday that the Force headquarters has ordered immediate withdrawal of Police personnel attached to VIPs in the South-East over the continuous attacks on police officers and formations in the region.

The directive which was contained in a police wireless message, followed alleged attacks on policemen by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and its Eastern Security Network, ESN, paramilitary wing.

A copy of the signal was issued by the Delta State Police Command, Asaba, and addressed to personnel with reference number 0900/DTS/DOPS/VOL47/812, dated "101054/05/2021".

It read: "Sequel to the incessant attacks on policemen/snatching of arms and ammunition by the proscribed IPOB/ESN elements in the eastern states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states and Rivers , COMPOL DOPS directs you warn personnel that escorts of their principals to the six (6) eastern states is suspended forthwith until security situation improves. Ensure strict compliance please."

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday approved new security measures for the South East and South-South geo political zones of the country.

It was one of the outcomes of the series of security meetings held in the last eleven days and concluded on Tuesday in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

When contacted, the Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba, explained that the directive emanated from the commissioners of police of the states concerned, saying it was meant to protect the Policemen and the VIPs involved from attacks by IPOB/ESN members.

Mba added that the CPs had the powers to give such directives as they must have analyzed the security situations in their states, adding that the directive was temporary until the security situation improves in the concerned states.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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