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A few weeks ago, precisely on Wednesday 1st April 2015, Nigeria's intelligence and security firmament was shaken to its foundation with the announcment of the death of former Inspector General of Police (IGP), the late Mallam Muhammadu Dikko (M. D.) Yusuf.

M. D. Yusuf, who was a legend in his active days, first came to national prominence as intelligence chief, then later distinguished himself as IGP from 1975 to 1979.

Therefore, it is truly remarkable that another oustanding intelligence officer, Mr. Solomon Ehigiator Arase, also reportedly grounded in the finest traditions of the covert art, has today taken over the reins of the nation's largest law enforcement apparatus as the new Acting Inspector General of Police.

Since recent national security failures have generally been attributed to the absence of real-time intelligence, Mr. Arase's coming on board at the highest echelons, should hopefully signpost a reversal in that trend.

Though, to effectively deliver on its mandate, the Nigerian Police Force clearly needs to undergo a comprehensive modernisation and re-professionalisation program. This would most likely involve the expansion in the current aggregrate number of personnel from its current estimated 380,000 to a figure that is commensurate with the acceptable global police-to-population benchmark.

To enhance tactical situational awareness, substantial capital investment would also be required to improve the technical capacity of the Nigerian Police Force to collect and process intelligence in a timely and flexible manner. Furthermore, Force personnel need to be better motivated and re-trained to engage the Nigerian public in an active and ongoing cooperation as partners in the public safety 'project'.

Incidentally, the most elaborate treatise on revamping the Nigerian Police Force is the voluminous report produced in April 2008 by the Presidential Committee on Nigerian Police Force Reform of which the late IGP Mallam Muhammadu Dikko Yusuf was Chairman.

What a coincidence that, precisely seven years later, in April 2015, another intelligence tzar will likely be the one to implement the program spearheaded by his eminent forebear.

I believe the entire nation and the Nigerian Police Force wish the incoming Acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Ehigiator Arase every success in his daunting new national assignment.

Written by Dr. Mohammed Sarki.
[email protected]

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