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Each state to get one helicopter – Jonathan

By The Citizen

President Goodluck Jonathan has pledged to give one helicopter to each state of the federation to enable them tackle insecurity especially armed robbery, insurgency and kidnapping.

He said the reason his government was investing in air power for the Nigerian police, is to ensure a scenario where armed robbers take over a state and operate for hours without any challenge from the police becomes a thing of the past.

He noted further that it is only when the police are provided with the required tools will they be effective in service delivery, assuring that his government will not disappoint in this regard.

President Jonathan has also charged the police to be mindful of the rights of the ordinary citizens while doing their jobs, adding that the rights of the citizens must be protected, so he expects maximum discipline from officers and men of the Nigeria Police henceforth.

The President made the disclose at the ceremonial parade marking 2013 police week celebrations at the Eagle Square, Abuja, yesterday.

Jonathan who handed awards to 17 deserving police officers including two post-humus ones for their gallant, courageous and meritorious performance during service to their fatherland, admitted that this indeed was trying moments for the country resulting in the death of many police officers.

President Jonathan led a minute silence in the honour of those who died and condoled their families, assuring them of government’s continued support to take care of those they left behind.

The President who commissioned 275 Toyota Hilux vehicles, 10 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC), and seven helicopters among other equipment, regretted the past habit were equipment were not maintained, he urged that the new equipment must be maintained for optimum performance.

“This is quite a trying moment for this country in terms of security. A number of our police officers have lost their lives while serving their fatherland. With this unique moment, I crave your indulgence for all of us to stand up and observe one minute of silence in honour of those that have lost their lives while serving this country.

“I use this opportunity to condole members of the families, especially wives and children and the parents of police officers who have lost their lives within this period while serving our country.

“We have challenges: from the south to the north; from east to the west. We sleep but some people will keep awake and these are the security personnel. Accept our condolence, and let me assure you that government will continue to remember your loved ones and we will continue to remember you, members of their families.

“I am pleased to be here today in furtherance of our determination to reposition our security architecture for a more effective policing of our dear country. The police have a daunting task of enforcing the laws, keeping the peace and protecting lives and property which are exceedingly vital for societal well being and development.

“It is therefore why every nation expects so much from its police. For the police to be effective, government must also provide the police what they require to work, tools must be provided.

“That is one of the reasons we are here today to commission some of the items and we will continue to do more. We are today going to commission some helicopters and vehicles for the use of the police.

“I expect that these facilities will enhance police capability in prevention of crimes and improving response time in emergency situation. They shall be instruments of justice and protection for all men and women of goodwill even as they will be deployed and utilized most strategically to achieve maximum results.

“As they use these equipments, one thing I will urge the police to do is the issue of maintenance. As a nation, we are not too good in maintaining what we have. Presently, that aspect is improving because with my interactions with the armed forces, the army, the navy and the Air Force, they are forming a very formidable team that are now maintaining their equipment, I urge the police to do the same so that these equipment will last for the time they are expected to last.

“Also, we must emphasize the need to train, for you to remain gallant and functional in whatever you do and especially in security tactics, training is paramount. You must train on the job, you must train with the equipment so that men and women of the police force are confident in themselves, so that they will continue to operate as gallant men and women.

“The police must be well equipped and kitted to protect us while on land, water and air. You will see the helicopters that will be commissioned and my commitment is that every state command must have helicopters and that is the commitment of government. That was why we set up a special fund because the idea that armed robbers will take over a state and be operating for three hours and no challenge must be a thing of the past. That is why we must invest in air power for the Nigerian police.

“My vision is to create a robust Nigeria Police Force, well motivated to discharge its constitutional obligations with neither fear nor favour. A more friendly police force, united with her community through a shared sense of responsibility and partnership. This is possible if every stakeholder, the government, the citizens, police leadership, officers and men, work together for a common purpose.

“I therefore urge all Nigerians to lend their full support to the police. These are noble men and women drawn from our neighborhood, family and society, who have dedicated themselves to our protection and well being.

“In return, all officers and men must rise to the current reality and challenge that face us. The work of policing is quite challenging and every policeman and woman must change with the time. This is the minimum standard expected of you by our people.

“I also charge the police, while doing their work to be mindful of the rights of the ordinary citizens because rights are very sensitive. While policing us, you must know that the citizens of this country’s rights must be protected. In that regard, we expect maximum discipline from officers and men of the Nigeria Police”.

In his remarks, the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd), said the commissioning marked another first in the transformation agenda of Jonathan’s administration.

He added that the government was resolved in engendering community involvement in the fight against security challenges and urged the public to be more proactive and provide information to both the police and other security agencies in the effort to tackle the challenge of insecurity in the nation.

The Inspector General Police Mohammed Abubakar, said for about 37 years the police service week hitherto used as a veritable tool and opportunity to strengthen the bond between the police and public was on hold, the gap between the public and police kept widening, resulting in mistrust.

He said by the resuscitation of the police service week, the Force leadership was giving practical meaning to its firm determination to restore the lost of the glory of the Force and re-enact those practices which bind the citizens to their police and elicit fond memories of the Force.

“We are determined to introduce projects that will correct all misconception stereotypes attached to the police as an institution while re-assuring the public or our commitment to their security interests as well as our desire to remain accountable to them”.

Abubakar also eulogised Police sports ambassadors like Chioma Ajunwa, Sunday Baba and Samuel Peters who have put the country’s name on the world map by their outstanding performance in athletics and boxing.

He assured that the Nigerian Police will remain civil but potent enough to respond to threats of security.

The IGP commended officers and men who in the face of institutional inadequacies, have continued to courageously display loyalty, courage and zeal as part of inter-agency instrument towards confronting internal insurgency.

“We celebrate the gallantry of our men who daily engage deadly armed robbery gangs, kidnapping syndicates, murderers, fraudsters, rapists and other heinous criminals who target our children and youth community.

“We recognise the sacrifice of officers and men who sweat it out under the scorching sun, the drizzling rains and the cold nights to stay alert in order to ensure the safety and security of members of the public.

“We salute officers who resist temptations, reject inducements, and stand against threats and intimidation to firmly uphold justice. Today, we recognise and encourage the unsung heroes of the force who uphold the tenets of rule of law in the discharge of their duties, guide the weak and vulnerable through traffic safety, and laid down their precious lives for us all to live.

“Beyond all these, we also on this auspicious occasion pass a clear message to the criminal community that a wind of change is now blowing through the police; a cultural re-orientation that is premised on adoption of international best policing practices is emerging, and the new Police Force will display team spirit, loyalty, zeal, courage, civility and renewed commitment towards confronting criminal elements”.