The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has come under heavy attacks from Nigerians over his failure to withdraw policemen attached to some ‘very important persons’, especially politicians and other private-sector players, who are not constitutionally entitled to have policemen as aides.
It was gathered on Saturday that thousands of policemen were still guarding former political office holders, including ex-senators, former governors, and ex-House of Representatives members, as well as businessmen who were enjoying police protection at the expense of the public.
The IG had announced the withdrawal of the policemen on March 19 and gave April 20 as the deadline, but checks showed that the majority of the personnel had yet to return to their respective commands, a month after the deadline expired.
The announcement followed a disclosure that about 80 per cent of policemen were working as security guards to prominent Nigerians.
Apart from those attached to politicians and other VIPs, our correspondent learnt that many zonal commands and formations had surpluses of policemen who were not engaged in core policing duties.
A source explained that each of the 36 state governors also had at least 200 policemen attached to them.
One of our correspondents further gathered that many policemen on duty at police colleges in Lagos, Jos, Enugu, Kano, and in other police institutions across the country, are redundant as they don’t perform core policing duties.
On why the IG did not withdraw the policemen from the VIPs, a senior officer said, “The IG would not withdraw the policemen from VIPs because he doesn’t want to be blamed in case something untoward happens to any of them. That is why he said the VIPs should revalidate,” the officer explained.
But security experts and a civil rights group condemned the IG for failing to withdraw the policemen from individuals who are not entitled to them, describing it as unfortunate.
The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights described the non-withdrawal of police escorts from VIPs as unfortunate, alleging that the police authorities and individuals made money from such postings.
We’ve withdrawn policemen from VIPs —Force headquarters
Meanwhile, the police authorities said they had withdrawn policemen attached to VIPs and other individuals not constitutionally entitled to police personnel.
The Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Jimoh Moshood, said the police orderlies had been withdrawn from those who were not entitled to them, noting that some of them were redeployed to various patrol and investigation units.
He could however not provide the number of withdrawn personnel adding that the figures were still being collated.
“We have withdrawn the policemen from those who are not entitled to them, but I cannot give you the number of those that have been withdrawn now because the figure is still being collated nationwide,” Moshood said on Saturday.