Address by His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation at the One-Day National Security Summit
Organised by the Nigeria Police Force on 17th August 2015 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, FCT
1. Today’s event represents a significant step in the effort of the new government towards redefining the policing and national security arrangements for our country. The significance of the event lies in its potential to galvanize community support and secure citizens’ consent for the Nigeria Police in advancement of their crime prevention and detection mandate. As stated in my inaugural address we intend by the end of our four-year term to attempt to erect and maintain an efficient, disciplined, people-friendly and well-compensated security architecture.
2. Effective policing of a society is dependent on the level of security consciousness of the citizens and the strength of the understanding that exists between the Policing Agencies and the community. This explains why it is generally acknowledged that no Police Force in the world, no matter how well motivated, equipped or trained can successfully operate without the acceptance and support of the various communities.
3. The need for community input to policing and crime management in Nigeria has even become more imperative considering our current national security challenges in which kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, transnational crimes, terrorism and other organized crimes have evolved to threaten our national values and over-all progress as a nation.
4. While it is understandable that unemployment, illiteracy, radicalization, negative peer group influence, substance abuse and erosion of family and moral values are social factors that underlie criminal tendencies, the reality remains that the task of addressing these challenges is that of parents, teachers, community and the State. In other words it is a bottom to top operation.
5. It is in acknowledgement of this that I have defined youth employment as one of the cardinal objectives of our administration. In furtherance to this, the Federal Government is planning to employ at least an extra 10,000 police officers and establish a properly trained and equipped Federal Anti-Terrorism Multi-Agency Task Force that will effectively address the challenge of future insurgency in a sustainable manner.
6. In the meantime, efforts are being made to enhance the operational capacity of officers of the Nigeria Police through a tailor-made training programme that will give them the right civil orientation in their roles as guardians of the constitution. In order to further strengthen the security of the public space, consideration is being given to the expansion of the CCTV Monitoring System across major cities and towns in the country, while the police accountability mechanism will be strengthened.
7. Above all, in appreciation of the strategic role of the citizens and the community in modern policing, this administration will encourage States to look at State-level Community inter-acting with police under a model that will integrate members of the community to policing functions at the grassroots level.
8. It is my high expectation that this National Security Summit will develop pathways for the attainment of this policy focus of the new administration.
9. Let me at this juncture commend the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force for appreciating the yearning of members of the public by ordering the dismantling of police road blocks which have consistently constituted a dark side of policing and object of discord between the police and the citizens of this country.
10. The initiatives of the Inspector-General of Police to also introduce the ‘Safer Highway Motorised Patrol’ Scheme and deploy 555 Patrol Vehicles along all major highways to fill the void created by the enforcement of the order dismantling road blocks is also acknowledged as a proactive action meant to reassure citizens of their safety and security.
11. In addition, I also note the commitment of the Force leadership to uphold and enforce Chapter IV of the constitution and commit officers of the Force to the adherence to all United Nations and African Union Charters and other regional global instruments on Human Rights while also introducing Alternative Dispute Resolution procedures to policing functions. Furthermore it is the policy thrust of the Inspector-General of Police which discourages pre-trial detention of citizens while encouraging the practice of intelligence-led crime detection.
12. These initiatives, if properly implemented, will undoubtedly address those factors that threaten public confidence in the Police and hence, create good grounds for the practice of community-led policing to flourish. I am tasking the police not only to “say” but to “do” as we are promising to Nigerians.
13. While assuring that our administration will bequeath to this nation a reformed, re-oriented, well trained, well-equipped and highly motivated Police Force this dream can only be attained with the support of the citizens. This remains a sacred civic responsibility which all citizens owe this country, especially at this time that we are re-energising our counter-terrorism initiatives and working very hard to protect the citizens from crime and guarantee the safety and security of all Nigerians.
14. Against this background, I have the honour and privilege to declare this Summit open. I trust that the outcome of this conference will add required value to policing and national security in our country, while enabling participants to build new networks that will enhance national evolution and integration.
15. I thank you all for your attendance and wish you fruitful deliberations.
President of the Republic of Nigeria