I am very pleased to be here today to witness the handing over of newly-acquired security equipment and assets to the Lagos State Police Command, by His Excellency the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on behalf of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund.
There is no doubt that these new equipment being handed over today will go a long way in boosting the morale of the Police, and further enhance their capacity to fight crime and combat criminality. This is even more touching in the light of the unwarranted violence that ensued in the wake of the ENDSARS protests last October, which saw the security architecture in Lagos state being severely damaged.
It is commendable that Lagos State, the Centre of Excellence, has shown a truly resilient spirit, in the face of the massive destruction it suffered last October. You did not allow yourselves to be deterred by the severe setback; instead you have bounced back and are now boldly rebuilding the confidence of residents and investors in the State.
I acknowledge the initiative taken to kick-start the rebuilding process, through the establishment of the Lagos State Rebuild Trust Fund, and through this very laudable effort by the Lagos State Security Trust Fund. I enjoin other State Governments to emulate your bold, proactive and resourceful initiative.
The Federal Government takes very seriously our constitutional oath to secure the lives and properties of the Nigerian people. We are well aware of the fact that lasting security is a necessary foundation for business, investment and true prosperity.
This is why we have demonstrated, and continue to demonstrate, our commitment to comprehensive Police reform in Nigeria. Indeed, no Federal Government since 1999 has been as committed as our administration, to reforming and repositioning the Nigeria Police Force and national policing architecture.
In 2019, I signed into law the Act establishing the Nigeria Police Trust Fund, the first in the history of the Force, to provide guaranteed funding to support Police welfare, logistics and equipment.
In September 2020, I assented to the Bill amending the Nigeria Police Act, which was originally enacted in 1943. This new Act, a vast improvement over the old one, among other things spells out the modalities for the implementation of a National Community Policing Scheme in Nigeria. This new scheme will build confidence within our local communities and make them active stakeholders in the safety and security of their environs.
We are currently recruiting 10,000 new Police officers to reinforce our personnel capacity across the country. In addition to this, I have directed the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission to carry out an upward review of Police Salaries and Benefits. Let me also use this opportunity to commend the leadership of the Force for the reforms being implemented in the area of Police Pensions.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen; even as we strive to improve Police welfare and capacity, we equally have our expectations of them. First let me commend the Inspector-General of Police and the entire Force for the recent efforts to restore peace to troubled parts of the country.
I have charged the Inspector-General to leave no stone unturned in rebuilding the morale of his officers and men, especially in the aftermath of the mindless violence associated with the EndSARS protests, as well as the recent spate of attacks on Police Stations in some parts of the country.
A nation that turns its Police personnel and infrastructure into targets of violence and destruction is a nation on the path of self-destruction. We will act firmly and decisively against any and all persons fomenting or carrying out attacks on our Police Force and other security personnel.
Let me also use this opportunity to reiterate that my directive to security agencies, to shoot any person or persons found illegally wielding AK-47s and other assault weapons, remains in place.
As Commander-in-chief, my primary responsibility remains the security of the country and the safety of all citizens. Despite the many challenges we are facing, I want Nigerians to rest assured that we will secure this country. We will secure our infrastructure, our highways, our communities, and our forests, and we will secure the lives of our people.
To effectively accomplish this goal, however, we require the support of all stakeholders, including the other tiers of government, and non-government actors like traditional, community and religious leaders, the private sector, civil society organisations, and citizens themselves.
Security is a collective effort, and credible intelligence, which is a necessary ingredient for preventing and fighting crime, cannot be obtained without the full cooperation of citizens and communities.
Once again, let me commend Lagos State for what you are doing in the areas of reinforcement and support for the security agencies in the State.
Let me also commend all of the private sector partners who have risen up to the challenge and partnered wonderfully with the State Government in its ongoing battle to quell the upsurge of crime and insecurity in the state.
It is my hope that this public/private sector partnership will be an example to others to demonstrate similar acts of generosity and responsibility.
Let me now again express my gratitude to the Lagos State Government for extending an invitation to me to join you at this handing-over ceremony.
Thank you, God bless Lagos State, and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.