Disquiet in Lagos as Police Counter Terrorism officers ‘protect the rich’
The regular sighting of Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) officers of the Nigeria Police Force in Lagos has become a subject of discussion.On the surface, it does not seem that their presence is related to forestalling the activities of terrorists.The CTU was established in 2007 to operate as a full-fledged police section to counter insurgency and heinous crimes.The unit is deployed for combat against terrorists, investigation of organized gangs and protection of critical national assets.In Lagos, the personnel identified by red beret are seen in different areas of the State providing escort services.Residents are grumbling over their attachment to “rich individuals”, while the country is trying to contain worsening insecurity.Though Nigeria has been battling terrorism for more than a decade, the commercial city has not recorded a major attack.“I see CTU officers almost everyday in Lagos and wonder why they are here”, said a civil servant working in Ikeja.“Let’s even assume they are in the State for a purpose, I don’t think that should include following big men everywhere,” he said.But the police denied that the CTU is being misused and explained they are assigned strictly for strategic reasons.Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi told newsmen that the Special Protection Unit (SPU) is an arm responsible for body protection.“I know some people are guarded depending on their rank. Senior police officers involved in certain duties are protected by the CTU.“This is because of the risks associated with their roles. So if you see the CTU with an individual, that person must be high-risk.“They are specially trained and we don’t deploy them anyhow. The SPU is the unit that handles protection of approved individuals.“The CTU only protects specific persons, installations, banks, airports, other government establishments and assets”, Adejobi added.Though the police, under different Inspector Generals, occasionally announce the withdrawal of CTU and SPU from personalities, the operatives are barely recalled or later restored.
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