The Assistant Inspector General of Police(AIG) in charge of Zone 11, Bashir Makama has disclosed why officers and men of the Nigerian Police Force need personal protective gears as the battle against the spread of coronavirus continues in the country.
Makama stated this while featuring on a popular radio magazine programme, Parrot Xtra Hour on Space 90.1FM, Ibadan.
He stated that security agents are directly dealing with different residents of the country, on the roads and in communities, hence, the need for them to be protected against coronavirus one way or the other.
“So far, we have provided them with nose covers. We will still do more because they are out there and they must be protected,” Makama said.
The AIG, who covers Oyo, Osun and Ondo States, also said the role of policemen is essential just like that of health care workers and the media in the course of containing the spread of the deadly virus.
He reiterated that the major responsibility of the police as far as coronavirus is concerned is to ensure compliance with measures and directives put in place to contain the spread of the virus and ensure that the citizens are free from infection.
He said: “Policemen are also very critical and should be considered as frontline workers in the battle against the spread of COVID-19. They are specifically there to enforce the different levels of lockdown law imposed by different states of the federation. Our men are all over the place to work with health workers to ensure there is peace and orderliness, even at sample collection centers, hospitals and other points where patients are being evacuated and treated.”
Speaking on the conduct of some police officers while enforcing lockdown and curfew in different states, Makama stated that there will always be bad ones among police officers, just like there are in other professions.
“These officers and men are the ones who allow people to cross inter-state borders, allow people to move around when there is curfew. They should be reported, and we will deal with them. Coronavirus’ spread must be contained. We all need to cooperate.
“We are inundated with reports of people being allowed to move around illegally here and there, you know that in every eleven there must be a Judas, you don’t expect it to be all free of issues. Media men have more information than I do, but I have always said that if there is any illegality that is being perpetrated by our men, we should be alerted.
“We have taken steps severally to mitigate some of these things. If it is reported, we will treat it but if it is not reported there is no way we will know,” Makama stated.
On the influx of people from Kano and other northern states into the South West, he said policemen lack the capacity to completely stop the movement of people coming in through the borders.
The AIG stated that since there is no yardstick for measuring whether people have been infected or not, people with essential duty such as those transporting food items, medical products, petroleum products, and many essential commodities will come through the borders of other states.
Makama noted that majority of the people coming to Oyo State are from Lagos State, saying it is the same even before the case of Kano State became prominent.
The former Benue and Ogun States’ Police Commissioner announced that he had met with the three Commissioners of Police in Oyo, Osun and Ondo States and has asked them to liaise with their governors to provide personal protective equipment, other welfare and encouragement packages for the police like other frontline essential service providers to be able to discharge their duties very well.
He also expressed the readiness of the Nigeria Police to support the operation of Western Nigeria Security Network, codenamed Amotekun.
Makama noted that the Inspector General of Police has invigorated the police force in the community policing project and philosophy, emphasizing that the police is ready to partner with all sectors of the community to ensure safety and security of lives and property.
He explained that the police force is ready to key into the ‘Amotekun project’ as long as those in control are ready to comply with all the procedures, rules of engagement, control system and ensure synergy among other security operatives.
The AIG was accompanied to the by CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, the Police Public Relations Officer for Zone 11 and other top officers from the zone.