The Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, has inaugurated a training programme for commanders of the Special Intervention Squad.
The inauguration was done in partnership with the United States Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
The SIS is an initiative of the IG that was created to combat violent crimes across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
However, since its creation, the SIS had only been established in two territories – Plateau State and the FCT, following the rise in banditry and kidnapping in both states.
Speaking during the inauguration held at the Peacekeeping Hall, Force Headquarters, Abuja on Monday, the IG said the programme is designed to prepare the trainees for the challenges associated with their new responsibility of taking up the lead positions in combating the scourge of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, and terrorism amongst others.
He further noted that the SIS would serve as an elite unit of the Nigeria Police Force, and it was designed to anticipate, respond spontaneously, and manage crises.
Egbetokun said, “It is with a profound sense of duty that I stand before you today at the inauguration of the training programme for Commanders of the Special Intervention Squad.
“The programme is designed to prepare the trainees for the challenges associated with their new responsibility of taking up the lead positions in combating the scourge of kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, terrorism and other evolving challenges of crime confronting our society.
“Without mincing words, our country, like many other parts of the globe, is experiencing security challenges arising from the activities of the criminal elements seeking to undermine the peace and security of our nation. This development demands an instant and appropriate response from us as the lead agency in the internal security architecture of the country.
“The situation at hand has challenged our ingenuity such that beyond the conventional reactive response approach to crime management, we conceived the idea of the Special Intervention Squad, to serve as an elite unit of the Force, designed to anticipate, respond spontaneously and manage a crisis.
“The Squad was primarily established to confront every situation that threatens the peace of the citizenry and restore law and order across the nation. The initiative is pivotal to safeguarding the lives and property of all Nigerians while guaranteeing the supremacy of the state and the rule of law, thus protecting the integrity of our nation.”
He further noted that the conception of the SIS, and the mobilization of officers and men, requires that they be given specialised training to enable them to imbibe new skills and orientation, which will adequately prepare them for the task ahead.
Egbetokun added, “The Force in this drive found a willing and dependable ally in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, an agency of the United States of America’s government, which volunteered to train the officers of the SIS.
“A major leap towards achieving this was achieved with the formal signing, on Monday, December 18, 2023, of the Memorandum of Understanding, between the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Government of United States of America.
“The event today, therefore, is a major milestone towards the full operationalization of the SIS across the length and breadth of our country. As you are all aware, on January 17, 2024, I formally launched the squad in FCT. Operatives of the squad have since commenced intensive operations, reinvigorating the offensive against criminal elements by taking the battle to their hideouts.
“The FCT-SIS within the period has immensely boosted the security architecture and significantly decimated the camp of the criminal elements by arresting a total of 139 kidnapping and armed robbery suspects, recovering of three GPR Chargers, two AK-47 rifles, one Type-06, four locally fabricated guns, one Berretta pistol, two Makarov pistols, four locally fabricated pump action guns, 504 pieces of AK-47 ammunition, 100 pieces of AA ammunition, as well as the rescue of 154 kidnapped victims unhurt.
“Among the successes enumerated above was the interception along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, of three major suppliers of arms and ammunition to bandits operating in Niger, Zamfara, and Kaduna States.
“Similarly, operatives of the squad on Friday, January 26, 2024, engaged some armed bandits within the FCT-Kaduna axis in a fierce gun battle during which three of them, including their gang leader, one Mai-Gemu (aka Gadoro) were neutralized.
“The successes recorded so far aptly testify to the triumph of willpower over adversities. We are commencing the training today with a total of thirty-eight officers who were diligently selected to be the precursors of this crucial endeavour based on their competence, integrity, track record, demonstrated commitment to the cause of justice and suitability for the assignment.
“They will assume the roles of Commanders of the Squad across the states. This is the first step in the training phase as we expect the training of the men to commence after this particular program. The Force expects that the officers being presented for this training will take full advantage of the training firstly, for their personal development and secondly for the success in their assignment, by being impactful on the field to attain the goals of the Squad.
In his remarks,Director Narcotics at the US Embassy, representing the US Ambassador, Mr. Jason Smith reiterated the commitment of the US Government in supporting the NPF to sustain the SIS and actualize its mandate of bequeathing a more secure society for Nigerians.