The Nigeria Police Force has said its Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and Special Tactical Squad (STS) across the country are still intact.
This was confirmed by Premium Times in a Tuesday evening telephone interview with police spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi.
Some media platforms had reported earlier that the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, ordered the disbandment of the two units.
They reported that all serving officers in the satellite units had been asked to report to the Force Headquarters, Abuja, for debriefing.
According to Channels, a police source confirmed, adding that authorities have directed that serving officers and men in the unit will be demobilised and posted to commands across the country.
But speaking on Tuesday night, Mr Adejobi said the police did not take such action.
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“There was nothing like that. I am not aware and the IGP is not aware of that,” he said in a telephone interview.
The clarification by the police comes a day after the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Monday gave an insight into how the suspended Deputy Police Commissioner, Abba Kyari, used officials of the IRT to push drugs across Nigeria.
The NDLEA said despite being on suspension, Mr Kyari claimed to be in control of the IRT and still had police officers loyal to him.
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The NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, told journalists that the suspended IRT boss allegedly belonged to a drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug pipeline. He said a covert operation was conducted to expose the officer.
The NDLEA said Mr Kyari refused to honour its investigation when invited for questioning. It, therefore, declared him wanted.
Mr Kyari and four other police officers believed to be his accomplices were, on Monday, later arrested by the police and handed over to the NDLEA in whose custody they still are.
Meanwhile, the Force management have directed that the IRT/STS Headquarters in Abuja should be fortified and organised for enhanced operational performance to combat emerging trends.
In July 2020, the then-Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu had directed the disbandment of the satellite offices and bases of the IRT and STS, leaving the headquarters of the units under the State Investigation Bureau as a response to the public outcry on human rights infringement by some officers of these units.
Civil society organisations had also commended the disbandment, stressing that most of the alleged atrocities that have dented the image of the Police were carried out at the satellite bases, where the operatives acted with impunity.
According to them, the IG’S decision was to ensure that IRT Officers operate in the various state commands under the strict supervision and control of the state commissioners.
The Commissioners of Police would be held responsible for any excesses and failure of the operatives or failure to hold them accountable for a breach of due process.
The formations of the two units of the police followed moves by the Force Headquarters to reposition the police and ensure accountability and due process.
According to Daily Sun, a top police source, who did not want to be mentioned said that during the interrogation, commander of the IRT, Tunji Disu (now ACP) vehemently denied carrying out any operation in Enugu on the dates mentioned by the panel members. It was gathered that the interrogation of the officers, took place in front of the IGP.
When the panel was done with the IRT commander, it turned to his deputy, Sunday Ubuah, who confirmed the allegation by the NDLEA, and that the operation took place while the commander was away on official duties in Sokoto State.
During the interrogation, it was discovered that the second in command at the IRT, was still taking orders from the former commander and that the illegal operation was embarked upon while Tunji Disu, was on an official engagement to Sokoto State.
Meanwhile the police authorities has decided to sanitize the IRT with the posting of fresh officers to curb the rot that has engulfed the security outfit.