Police officers could soon be stripped of their assault service rifles and armed with rubber bullets instead, reports said.
Speaking in a meeting with stakeholders in Cross River State on Thursday, the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, said the new measure of withdrawing loaded rifles from the hands of police officers was in line with world-best-practices.
The police boss, who recently enforced a country-wide ban on police checkpoints after several reports of extrajudicials killings hit the press, said the ban still stands during his tenure.
The IGP, speaking to a group of representatives from Christian and Muslim communities, as well as youth groups from Cross River, Akwa-Ibom and Ebonyi States, said he is on a mission to make the police more people-friendly.
“The Police and the environment where they work should be people-friendly and Nigerians should feel comfortable when they approach a policeman or walk into the station.
“Road blocks are gone for good and what we will have now are patrol teams. The mounting of road blocks did a lot of damage to the image of the country and we must correct that. Road blocks had always been when armed robbers and kidnappers were operating freely and will be bribing them. This is the only country in the world where police mount check points using heavy drums and woods among others to block the road,” Abubakar said.
He noted that it was imperative to introduce reforms that are in line with developments of the 21st century.
Abubakar assured that the Nigeria police will continue to do all within its power to combat terrorism and reduce crime in Africa’s most populous country.
He encouraged members of the public to cooperate with the police, duvulging sensitive information that could aid the law enforcement body in doing its duty.
The acting IGP said the neglected Nigeria Police is already getting a face lift, with 20,000 men and women of the law undergoing new training that will identify and weed out the weak.
“The intention of the present administration in the Police is to build a Force that will protect Nigeria, provide safety her citizens and guaranty the unity of the country. I want to have the police that will not harass the citizens, a force that Nigeria will be proud of in the 21st century,” he said.