IGP Urges Officers To Enhance Accountability, Inaugurates CRU Unit in Lagos
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun on Wednesday inaugurated the Complaints Response Unit (CRU) in Lagos State during his visit to the Lagos State Police Command.
The event, marked by esteemed personalities and senior lawyers, was a significant step towards fostering transparency, accountability, and public confidence in the Nigerian Police Force.
The IGP, who hails from Lagos, expressed his pleasure at being back in his hometown during his official visit. In his speech, he highlighted the importance of the CRU unit as a means to enhance accountability and build trust with the public. He emphasized that the unit was not established to target police officers but to facilitate transparency, ensuring that citizen complaints are addressed promptly and not escalated on social media.
“We don’t want actions of the officers to be reported on social media as we now have a unit where all those complaints will go to,” he assured.
The IGP also announced plans to carefully select and train officers to oversee the unit’s operations, promising to equip the unit to function effectively.
He thanked donors for their support and encouraged continued assistance. He also hinted at plans to replicate similar units across all states to improve the police force’s interaction with citizens nationwide.
In his remarks, Lagos State Commissioner of Police also expressed his gratitude for the IGP’s visit and highlighted the challenges the police force faces in the region.
Reeling out the challenges the command is faced with, CP Owohunwa noted that the internal security space in recent times, has been laced with the threats of cultism, armed robbery, kidnapping, murder and Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
“We are also constantly confronted with the challenge of dissecting and dealing with the thin line between the civil and criminal dynamics of land disputes which are also prevalent in the State. “Also of routine concern is the traffic gridlock and the attendant occasional traffic robberies which are compounded by on-going road projects across the State including, in particular, the Lagos-Ibadan highway.
“The crime profile of the State is further accentuated by the prevalence of illegal firearms proliferation, and illicit drug abuse and trafficking; hardly does a day pass by without the ever vigilant operatives of the Command recovering weapons and illicit drugs of various descriptions at stop and search points, raids of black spots, and other operational engagements with all such recoveries linked to the perfection of crimes across the State.
“Most worrisome in all these is a noticeable trend that indicates an increasing local expertise in the fabrication of various types of firearms including replicas of foreign made pistols, AK47 and other assault rifles. This trend, coupled with the threat of cultism, projects a potent danger to the security space of Lagos State and if nothing drastic is done by all strategic State actors and the citizens to complement the efforts of the Police in rolling back the dangerous tide.
“In cognizance of this, we are planning to organize a Conference in the coming weeks with intent to mainstream the discourse on cultism and violent crimes in Lagos and galvanise all strategic stakeholders and the different levels of governance in the State to the evolving threat. This is with the overall goal of adopting a whole-of-society approach to mitigating the trend. The groundwork for the Conference is being currently perfected.
Aside this, in addressing the prevalence of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the State, we are working in partnership with the Office of the First Lady of Lagos State to establish a purpose-built Centre for the Command’s Gender Unit.
“This is with a view to upscaling the capacity of the Unit to professionally manage the menace in line with best global standards and within a functional facility that will have capacity not just to professionally investigate and prosecute such cases, but to have the competence to extend psychosocial, medical, protective and legal support to survivors.”
He emphasized the need to combat threats such as kidnappings, cultism, and armed robbery while fostering a safer environment.
The launch of the CRU unit in Lagos marks a significant step towards building stronger ties between law enforcement and the citizens they serve. As the unit begins its operations, expectations are high that it will not only address grievances promptly but also help transform the police force’s image and enhance its effectiveness in maintaining law and order.
Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in his goodwill message urged police officers to adhere to the new police act and highlighted that torture was now considered a criminal act.
He commended the establishment of the CRU unit and pledged to represent policemen and women pro bono, should the need arise.
He also encouraged the IGP to replicate this achievement across all states.
Also, the immediate past president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Mr. Olumide Akpata (SAN) praised the establishment of the CRU unit, emphasizing its potential to bridge the communication gap between the police and citizens.
While giving his goodwill message, he expressed hopes that the unit would enable the police to receive complaints and engage with the public more effectively.
He added that he will reciprocate same support in his home state, Edo state and Delta state.
Notable figures such Joe Okei -Odumakin among others including senior police officers attended the event and offered their support.