Operation Puff Adder

In short: “on assumption of office on 16th January, 2019, we inherited an internal security space that was challenged by the prevalent threats of kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry, cultism and communal violence…. Against these realities, we immediately launched ‘Operation Puff Adder’ on 5th April…. between January 2019 to date one thousand, six hundred and twenty-one (1,621) suspected cultists arrested…. Happy Christmas”


Source: https://www.npf.gov.ng/information/pressdetails.php?news_id=394

I welcome you all to this Conference which is the last strategic management meeting of the Nigeria Police for the year 2019. This meeting is being convened for four major objectives.

2. First, is to dissect the internal security dynamics within the out-going year and critically review the impact of our strategies. Second, is to evaluate our performances, challenges, and achievements within the framework of our policing strategies, and the third objective is to project and set targets for the Nigeria Police Force against the New Year.

3. The fourth major purpose of this Conference is to recognize and appreciate the sacrifices of all officers of the Nigeria Police in our collective strive to attain our internal security Mandate. In this regard, I pay due tribute to our colleagues who have paid the supreme sacrifice or become permanently incapacitated within the year in their exceptional, courageous and selfless commitment to the protection of lives and property of all Nigerians.

4. It will be recalled, ladies and gentlemen, that on assumption of office on 16th January, 2019, we inherited an internal security space that was challenged by the prevalent threats of kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry, cultism and communal violence across various sections of the country. In addition, we inherited a workforce that was demoralized and lacked the requisite motivation, logistics, right orientation, and appropriate strategies to depend on for the optimal performance of their duties.

5. Against these realities, we immediately launched ‘Operation Puff Adder’ on 5th April, 2019 as an operational intervention blueprint to stabilize the internal security space within the shortest possible time frame. With the support of strategic police managers seated here today as well as the encouragement of other cadres of officers of the Nigeria Police, the citizens, traditional institutions and governments at all levels, I can confidently confirm that the objective of Operation Puff Adder was achieved fully and within the set target period. Several high-profile anti-banditry, anti-kidnapping and anti-robbery operations were successfully undertaken by Police operatives across the country under this framework.

6. A unique element of these operations is that they were not only well-coordinated, they were largely intelligence-driven and community supported, and the orientation of the operations was proactive rather than re-active. Hence, we courageously took the anti-crime battle to the doorsteps of the criminals deep into their camps across various forests.

7. We succeeded in an unprecedented manner in destroying their operational bases which until now were considered safe heavens and a no-go area for security operatives. We did not only demystify them, we successfully reclaimed the public space from them and denied them the liberty to attack citizens at will without fear of a superior response from gallant operatives of the Nigeria Police.

8. Our achievements under the Operation Puff Adder restored citizens’ confidence in the Nigeria Police and provided us with the opportunity to emplace long-term policing plans with a view to strengthening our achievements on a sustainable basis. It is in this regard that we outlined a Strategic Policing Plan which is predicated on the full adoption and integration of citizens-oriented, intelligence-led, and technology-driven policing practices.

9. We also set out to address the welfare concerns by restoring confidence and integrity in the promotion process in the Nigeria Police. Under this policy, we have discouraged the abuses associated with special promotion and stabilized the promotion system by upholding the principle of merit and seniority. Hence, the anxiety associated with promotion in the Police which often impact on productivity has been addressed and officers are now motivated, more than ever before, to perform their duties assured that they shall be rewarded within the dictates of our traditional policing standards.

10. Let me clarify, though, that exceptional professional excellence shall still be duly and appropriately recognized where deserving. However, the yardstick for this shall be measurable and the process shall be transparent and immune from abuses.

11. Aside this, we have set out to enhance the knowledge of personnel across all ranks with the delivery of tailor-made training packages to strategic police managers as well as operatives of the Action Units of the Nigeria Police comprising of the Special Forces, Anti-Robbery Squads, Police Mobile Force, Anti-Kidnapping Units, Intelligence Response Team and the Special tactical Squad of the Force. Similar specialized trainings were also held for detectives of the Force Criminal Investigation Department all in a bid to enrich their professional horizon and align their orientation towards the dictates of policing Nigeria in the 21st Century.

12. In relation to manpower gaps, we are glad to note that the recruitment process of the ten thousand (10,000) Police Constables approved by the Federal Government under the 2019 batch has been successfully completed and the shortlisted candidates are currently undergoing training at various police training institutions across the country.

13. Furthermore, in appreciation of the need to enhance the operational capacity of the Nigeria Police we have acquired new sets of policing assets comprising of patrol vehicles, electronic surveillance vehicles, civil disorder management trucks and special operations vans and we have completed the Nigeria Police National Command and Control Centre (NPF-C4i) and the first phase of the Nigeria Police Crime and Incident Data Base (NPC & IDB) Centre projects.

14. I am sure that most of you have been linked to the Nigeria Police National Command and Control Centre (NPF-C4i) and you shall in the course of this Conference be taken on a guided-tour of the facility as well as the Nigeria Police Crime and Incident Data Base (NPC & IDB) Centre in order for you to appreciate the operational values of the projects.

15. The sum total of these initiatives is that the orientation of the Force is being slowly but steadily and positively altered and our operational capacity has been significantly enhanced. In consequence, citizens’ confidence in the Police is being gradually restored. Most significantly, our intelligence generation and utilization capacity as well as our operational competence have been significantly enhanced such that today, I can confidently confirm that we have succeeded in addressing the prevalent crimes we inherited as well as aided in the entrenchment of our democratic values.

16. This is also evidenced by the successes we recorded in relation to emplacing and coordinating security during the 2019 General Elections and other off-season elections that were conducted in the year. It is also corroborated by the fact that our capacity to prevent crimes, disrupt highly organized and deadly criminal networks and apprehend high-profile felons has been strengthened, thereby engendering unprecedented volume of arrests and the phenomenal reduction in the rate of crime.

17. In this respect, between January 2019 to date, a total of six thousand, five hundred and thirty-one (6,531) high-profile suspects were arrested in various police operations. This comprises of a total of two thousand, six hundred and twenty-seven (2,627) armed robbery suspects; one thousand, six hundred and twenty-one (1,621) suspected cultists; one thousand, five hundred and twenty-seven (1,527) kidnapping suspects; and seven hundred and fifty-eight (758) murder suspects.

18. Within the same period, we also recovered a total of two thousand and thirty-seven (2,037) firearms of various calibre and descriptions; twenty-one thousand, eight hundred and seventy (21,870) ammunition; and one thousand, six hundred and sixty-two (1,662) vehicles. Similarly, nine hundred and forty-five (945) kidnapping victims were rescued in various police-led operations in the country.

19. All these achievements would not have been possible without the sacrifice of all of you seated here as well as other officers across all ranks who are out there sacrificing, day and night, for the safety and security of citizens of our beloved nation. I am very proud of you and I use this opportunity to immensely commend and thank you and to assure you all that your efforts are constantly recognized and deeply appreciated.

20. Having covered these grounds, however, the Force leadership is challenged to project into the future and emplace strategies that will aid sustainability in our operations. It is for this purpose that this meeting will focus on the content of our future projections. As a guide however, let me inform you that the agenda of the Force in the up-coming year will focus on five thematic areas as follows: i. Improving the overall efficiency of the Force through capacity building in policing technology, intelligence, investigation, prosecution as well as crime prevention and control through a more robust visible policing architecture. ii. Full implementation of the community policing strategy and the strengthening of other strategies with a view to aligning them to projected crimes and thereby, remaining ahead of criminal elements and sustaining the current gains we have recorded in our internal security management functions. iii. Boosting of our special operations capacity iv. Enhancement of our logistics and operational base through a well-thought out re-equipment plan that will lead to the acquisition of more operational assets to support our special operations, bridge operational gaps and strengthen the safer highway and safer city initiatives across the country. v. Training and Human capacity development, the improvement of the welfare of officers and enhancement of post-retirement conditions through the push for an improved Police Pension entitlement.

21. At this juncture, I want to thank our critical partners, the members of the fourth estate of the realm, who have continued to share our vision, showed immeasurable understanding and stood by us all through the year. In appreciating your roles within the internal security framework, permit me to again encourage you to continue to resist the urge to project narratives that tend to suit the interests of criminal elements. You should appreciate that you have a strategic role to play in presenting the internal security situations in the most factual manner and to continually balance your news reportage with national security interests.

22. This requires that you report progress being made in our anti-crime operations in a manner that will restore confidence in the citizens rather than sensationalize issues in a manner that will create undue and unfounded fears in the psyche of the citizens.

23. For instance, it is a fact that the rate of banditry, armed robbery and kidnapping have drastically reduced across the country in comparison to what we witnessed in the early part of the year. This fact was alluded to by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State who in a recent public statement was quoted as affirming that: ��.In the last few months, there has been a great reduction in cases of kidnapping�.. and this was achieved because security agencies have changed their strategies from reaction to action. So, they don’t wait until kidnapping takes place. They identify where the bandits are and they go and attack them; So, the bandits have been on the run. In the past, we wait until it happens and then, we start running helter-skelter. A very good example is the Kaduna-Abuja road. The Kaduna-Abuja road has not witnessed a single incident of criminality or kidnapping in the last two and a half months. But many people still think it is not safe, they are not plying it (yet), the road is the safest road in Nigeria today because of constant (security) surveillance �and kidnappers that use to stay around the road have all been wiped out or chased deeper into the jungle’.

24. This is a statement of fact which came from an informed and credible authority. I encourage members of the Press to project positive realities of this nature in national security interest.

25. Let me conclude by once again appreciating the consistent commitment of all strategic police managers across all levels of Command in the Nigeria Police and, particularly, members of the Rank and File for their resilience and loyalty. I do acknowledge that we are not there yet. But certainly, we are on the right path.

26. The journey to reposition the Police may be tortuous but desirous and I can assure the Nation that the Force leadership will continue to demonstrate the requisite professional will needed to bestow to the Nation a Police Force of their dreams. In this journey, we are counting on the support and understanding of all Nigerians as we look forward to sustaining our partnership in the upcoming year.

27. I thank you all and wish you a Happy Christmas and a fulfilling New Year in advance.

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