By Salisu Na’inna Dambatta
One of the main promises by Muhammadu Buhari while seeking the mandate of Nigerians to run our affairs as the President of the country, was strengthening national security and public safety.
He made the promise, as many Nigerians may recollect, when the country was trying to contain the Boko Haram insurgency that was spreading to distant cities and towns outside its epicenter of Borno state.
The insurgency and several communal conflicts in the country were such that even key security installations including military bases and headquarters of police formations in different parts of the country were brazenly attacked by the Boko Haram insurgents, leading to the regrettable deaths of service personnel.
Places of worship and open air markets were attacked indiscriminately, killing hundreds of citizens, destroying property, disrupting livelihoods for households and threatening the unity of the country.
Nearly a year before he was elected President, on July 23, 2014, General Muhammadu Buhari survived an attack in Kaduna, where his convey was bombed. Many analysts attributed the attack to Boko Haram, even though Muhammadu Buhari issued a statement in which he said it was an attempt to assassinate him.
It was a terrible incident in which dozens of innocent people attending the Kawo Assembly market were killed.
In fulfilling his promise to strengthen national security and public safety when given the mandate, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration initiated and implemented measures that boosted the operational capabilities of the security forces, including the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
The measures include granting approval to the Police authorities to recruit 40,000 constables; provision of vehicles and other equipment, including surveillance helicopters; equipping and commissionibg the Nigeria Police National Command and Control Centre (NPF-C4i) and the first phase of the Nigeria Police Crime and Incident Data Base (NPC & IDB) Centre.
The President also procured for the Force 139 Hilux patrol vehicles; 46 Police Smart Surveillance (CCTV Camera-on-the Move) vehicles; eleven Tactical Operations vehicles fitted with advanced surveillance equipment; nine Armoured Personnel Carriers; five Troop Carriers and seven Anti-Riot Water Cannon Trucks.
Additional measures taken by the Muhammad Buhari led administration to strengthen the Nigeria Police Force include signing the bill into an Act for the establishment of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund.
He swiftly appointed a Board of Trustees for the Fund, which was innagurated in May, 2020. Its key purpose is to finance projects and programmes that will further enhance the capabilities of the NPF to discharge its obligations to Nigeria optimally.
Nigerians have noted happily that while the promise to recruit and train 100,000 officers into the Nigerian police force has begun with a Presidential approval to recruit 40,000 constables, the citizens remain confident that the planned establishment of a specialised Federal Anti-terrorism Agency will come to fruition.
As the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration continues to make efforts in enhancing national security and public safety by strengthening the Nigeria Police Force, and by also retooling the military, it is a matter of time before all the insurgents, bandits and other criminals are brought to their knees.