The acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Olukayode Egbetokun, has directed that personnel of the Police Mobile Force (PMF) will no longer carry out VIPs escort and guard duties.
This was made known by Egbetokun on Monday, June 26, 2023, while speaking at a conference with police tactical commanders in Abuja.
Egbetokun said the force will conduct an assessment of all the duties of the mobile police to ensure effective utilisation.
What the acting IGP is saying
Egbetokun said a special committee has been created to evaluate the strategies and how it will be enforced, adding that the team would be headed by the deputy inspector-general of police.
He was quoted as saying,
- “Specifically, we shall effect the withdrawal of PMF personnel from VIP escort and 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.”
He said the committee is expected to send in its report in two weeks, adding that further details of the policy would be made available in the coming weeks and months.
Another unit to replace PMF
Egbetokun pointed out that officers of the Special Protection Unit (SPU) will replace the PMF officers in areas that are necessary.
- He said, “To support the foregoing strategic plan and make needed manpower available for frontline duties, the withdrawn PMF officers will be replaced by officers of the Special Protection Unit (SPU) only where necessary.
- “To ensure the smooth implementation of this policy, we will, in consultation with the Police Service Commission, invoke the supernumerary provision of Sections 23, 24 and 25 of the Police Act 2020.
- “The act allows the police to train supernumerary officers specifically for the personal protection duties of individual Nigerians who require their services.”
Egbetokun added that the force will ensure that the policy is enforced and strictly adhered to in line with best practices.
Similar pronouncement by former IGPs
This is not the first time that newly appointed IGPs had announced the withdrawal of police officers attached to VIPs. However, the reality is that just a few weeks after the announcement and implementation of the directive, these police officers go back to protecting these VIPs as well as performing other guard duties.
In October 2020, the then IGP, Mohammed Adamu, ordered the withdrawal of all police officers attached to VIPs across the country, with immediate effect.
He, however, exempted those attached to Government Houses, the Senate President and the Speaker House of Representatives, from the order.
The order came 10 days after the police authorities disbanded the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), following protests against the squad for high-handedness and extrajudicial killings.
Earlier in March 2018, Ibrahim Idris, the then IGP, ordered the withdrawal of police officers from VIPs.