The Federal Government has withdrawn the Mobile Police Force personnel attached to several Very Important Persons (VIPs), including ex-governors, former ministers, and lawmakers.
The order, which was contained in a police wireless message from Mopol 45 Force Headquarters, Abuja, affected Daura Buhari, brother to former President Muhammadu Buhari as well as former First Lady, Aisha Buhari’s sibling and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
The development came a few weeks after the IG vowed to withdraw Police Mobile Force personnel from VIP escort and guard duties. He had also announced plans to establish the Special Intervention Squad (SIS), which according to him, would have 40,000 highly trained police officers including selected officers from the Police Mobile Force.
This, the IG said, was to allow the police to take back its place in the “internal security architecture” of the country.
Egbetokun, who spoke during a meeting with Squadron leaders and Tactical Commanders in Abuja, on June 26, stated, “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.
“In a bid to kick-start the process of regaining our pride of place in the internal security architecture of our dear country 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 personnel and all tactical units in the country.
“These officers will undergo 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.”
Egbetokun set up a committee headed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations), Adeleke Bode, to assess and advise on how the new policies could be implemented seamlessly.
Thousands of police operatives were attached to public officials, ex-political officer holders, businessmen and other private individuals, thus reducing the number of police personnel required to protect the public while fewer officers were available for core police duties like investigations and patrols.
Though previous IGs had withdrawn the police orderlies deployed to protect some politicians in the past, the cops found their way back to the VIPs. Statutorily, only the president, vice president, governors, local council chairmen, legislative principal officers in the states and at federal level, magistrates and judges are entitled to police protection.
But this privilege has over the years been extended to just about anybody who can pay, leaving ever fewer personnel for real police work. However, the Force headquarters in its order with reference CB: 4001/DOPS/45PMF/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.15/353 signed by the AIG MOPOL, directed the addressees to implement the directive with immediate effect.
The message was addressed to DSPs Lauretta Iruonagbe; Yusuf Ishaq; Okeme Emmanuel; Ilesanmi Temidayo; Emmanuel Akaniro; Yakubu Francis; Chindo Atege; Zakari Mohammed and ASPs Osori Sani; Job Andrew; Iyabo Oluwadamilola, and Yakubu Anthony who are believed to be attached to some of the affected dignitaries.
VIPs affected by the withdrawal order include former governors of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim and Rochas Okorocha; former governor of Bauchi, Adamu Muazu; ex- Gombe State governor, Danjuma Goje and former governors of Ogun and Zamfara, Gbenga Daniel and Bello Matawalle, respectively.