The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase, has challenged the Commissioners of Police to strengthen security in their jurisdictions, warning that Nigerians would not tolerate excuses for security lapses.
He also allayed fears that the withdrawal of the military from checkpoints nationwide may lead to an increase in crime, assuring that the police are up to the task of securing lives and property in the country.
The IG, who was responding to questions from newsmen shortly before a closed-door meeting with senior police officers at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, on Tuesday, noted that the police would fill the vacuum left by the military.
He said, “The President has given a directive that our colleagues in the military should withdraw from some of the areas that they were mounting roadblocks.
“The withdrawal of soldiers should not create any fear in the mind of Nigerians. We have done it before and we are going to do it again. Nigerians will not want to listen to excuses from us – the police.
“We have the opportunity now and this is a nice opportunity for us to take over our mandate of providing internal security”.
Arase said that the meeting they were to have would discuss the modalities to fill the vacuum left by the withdrawal of military personnel as well as strategies to provide adequate internal security.
He further stated that the police had deployed 555 patrol vehicles to secure highways across the country.
The IG said the police would continue to collaborate with the military and the Department of State Services in securing the nation, as they were constitutionally bound to complement the police.
“Asking us to take over the responsibility of the roadblocks which originally was supposed to be ours will not create any vacuum”, he added.
Arase also clarified that though the police had earlier dismantled their roadblocks, they could lock down any highway at any time for a “stop and search” if the need arose.
“Let me quickly tell Nigerians that if we say that we are not going to have roadblocks, it does not mean we cannot stop and search occasionally.
“When there is intelligence, highway could be locked down for search. So, once in a while, it is part of our preventive mechanism to deal with internal security issues”, he explained.