Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has urged the police to deploy more officers to the state against the backdrop of an influx of people displaced from neighbouring states to Kwara.
According to a statement from his spokesperson, Rafiu Ajakaye, Mr AbdulRazaq made this appeal in Ilorin on Wednesday when the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali, paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
The governor said the state needs between 8,000 and 10,000 police officers but now has only about 3,000 officers.
“Our challenges are enormous. Being a relatively safe state, security agencies tend to be comfortable with Kwara and that explains why they often take out forces from Kwara to bolster security elsewhere.
“For example, the Army has taken out most of their men to Northeast and we are making efforts to get them back. For the police, our need requirement is about 8,000-10,000 men but we have only about 3,000 now.
“Many officers of the two mobile squadrons here have been moved out. I am saying this because we definitely need more men on ground here,” Mr AbdulRazaq said.
“The recent ban on grazing by Southern Governors and some security issues in our neighbouring states have resulted in influx of internally displaced persons to Kwara. In many parts of some of our villages, the communities are outnumbered by those that are coming in.
“This is a state of harmony and people are welcome but this (influx) is clearly overstretching the manpower of the Nigeria Police which is the primary agency for internal security. From Kwara North to Kwara South, it is an enormous task for them, so we definitely need and seek more hands.”
Mr AbdulRazaq also called for improved collaboration among security agencies in the state.
The governor thanked the police authorities for siting two institutions in Kwara – the Police School in Ballah and the Intelligence School in Share.
“But we are saddened by the relocation of Police Public Relations School that was here in Ilorin before. We hope you will look into that again and return it.”
Mr AbdulRazaq also commended the police and other security agencies for making the state relatively safe for economic activities.
“We appreciate your efforts for keeping this state safe. Now we have peace and people are coming to live in Kwara State. Now we have four airlines coming to the state and the economy of the state is booming, hotels are often filled and rent (in houses) are going up,” the Governor said.
“This points to better security, and I commend the security agencies for what they do to keep us safe. Now, people see Kwara as a safe haven and they are coming here to settle. The security issue is kept to the barest minimum by the police and other security agencies.”
In his remarks, Mr Alkali said he was in the state to meet with officers and men of the Nigeria Police in Kwara command and inspect the Nigeria Police Intelligence School which is under construction in Share, Ifelodun local government area.
“I am here on a one-day visit to appreciate and give words of encouragement to our officers and men in Kwara, as well as tell them what my administration has come to do,” he said.
“The government of President Muhammadu Buhari is doing its best efforts to meet our needs. The police reform is also being pursued.
“Our pension, which is one of the bane of retired police officers, is also being looked at. We have one of our most important institutions in Kwara, which is our intelligence school which ought to have taken off since in Share. My mission is to get it take off immediately.”
Mr Alkali said his administration is adopting intelligence gathering and ICT to check crimes and criminalities in the country.
“I have a mission and vision of policing through intelligence and proactive means of policing. Policing is key, ICT is key and training is key. With the three, you can sit down and police the whole state,” he said.
“It is our intention to do manpower development in the art of intelligence gathering so that we will be able to police the country not manually but through e-policing. We can do a lot with proactive policing instead of being reactive. We are asking for more support from your administration to ensure that the school take off.
“We are ready and willing under this administration to make the condition of service more conducive for our officers and men to better serve the people,” he said.
Mr Alkali was accompanied on the visit by AIG Zone 8, Ede Ayuba; AIG Intelligence, Abu Sanni; Kwara CP, Tuesday Assayomo; and Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba.