The heightened insecurity in the country may have compelled the Nigerian Police Force to revive and upgrade its tracking equipment and technical intelligence unit at Force Headquarters, Abuja.
For some years now, the Police have been having diffculties tracking down bandits, kidnappers, human traffickers, among others, following the breakdown of the equipment put in place by former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase.
Recall that these facilities had been grounded for some time, compelling the Police to rely on the private sector, especially the telcos, to track bandits, kidnappers and car snatchers across Nigeria.
Investigations revealed that while the equipment were up and running, they enhanced the intelligence gathering capabilities of the Police force.
A source said the Nigerian Police Technical Intelligence Unit, TIU, received public acclaim for its breakthroughs in mass arrests of kidnappers and bandits and recovery of stolen properties, including vehicles, before it collapsed.
Explaining what went wrong, the source said: “The digital upgrade involved a lot of computer work. It took some time because there were technological upgrades, following input of new features to enhance their capacity.
“There were some new equipment, which we needed to align, so they can link together. Some are still working. It was not as if all the components were totally shut down.”
From 2020 upward, the functionality of the Police tracking equipment began to diminish and subsequently went comatose.
Complainants of criminal attacks and those whose family members were kidnapped were directed to contact either the Department of State Services, DSS, or Mobile Network Service Providers for tracking assistance.
Investigation revealed that the tracker, particularly became non-functional due to non-subscription as well as failure to engage the relevant company to carry out required system upgrade.
Police sources disclosed that following the downturn in the operation of the platform, cases of national security and criminality, such as banditry, kidnapping, human trafficking, among others were taken over by the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA.
While also attributing the breakdown of the equipment to inability of those whose responsibility it was to function smoothly failed to play their role.
The sources also said non-payment of money owed for subscription, equally militated against the functionality of the equipment.
”Ideally, subscription fees are meant to be paid yearly but the police defaulted for a period of about three years and after a grace period expired, the company overseeing its maintenance and upgrade decided to withdraw its services.
”This contributed to the worsening insecurity in the country. The Police Trust Fund promised to help but nothing was forthcoming from them.”
In the wake of the deactivation of the tracking system, some Nigerians had wondered why a country as massive in size as Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million people, where myriads of security challenges were rife, an entire police force was operating just the technical intelligence unit for all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
However, the security situation in the country was said to have compelled the police to take a cursory look at the concerns of the public and established other platforms to support the TIU in tackling emerging criminality.