‘Tunji Disu: Repositioning Swift Response
Policing and crime prevention anywhere in the world can be very tasking. The situation is not different in a city like Lagos which prompted the then Military Administrator, Col. Buba Marwa, in the face of growing rate of crime in the metropolis to set up the ‘Operation Sweep’ team also known as the Emergency Response Team.
‘Operation Sweep’ – a joint Army, Navy, Air Force and Police crack personnel took the charge to curb crime in the city until the end of the military regime and the switch to democratic rule in 1999. On assumption of office, the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration in a bid to reposition the crack team re-christened it ‘Rapid Response Squad’, RRS, and allowed the Nigerian Police Force to assume total responsibility in order to reflect the new democratic dispensation.
Building on the strides of Tinubu, his successor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, injected public-private partnership into security in the state by setting up a committee headed by the former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Musiliu Smith, which eventually led to the creation of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund.
The Lagos State Security Trust Fund opened the way for public-corporate funding for Rapid Response Squad.
Lagos is moving at a rate that in a few years will leave at least 30 other states behind. Already home to over 20 million inhabitants with statistics that an estimated 10 new persons are moving in and out on a daily basis, the RRS must not only be vibrant, but also proactive. While the Lagos Command of the Nigerian Police has always been on top of the game, RRS, was equipped with a high level infusion of gadgets and resources, and since then, the unit has continue to serve above and beyond the call of duty.
Since its creation, Rapid Response Squad has had five Commanders with Tunde Sobulo (2001-2004) as pioneer Commander. Then came Kayode Egbetokun (2005-2007), ACP Olusegun Odumosu (July 2007-January 2015), CSP Samuel Awopetu (January 2015-May 2015) and then the current resourceful and energetic ACP Olatunji Disu.
The interesting thing and probably the reason behind his highly effective handling of the affairs of Rapid Response Squad is the fact that the current Commander, ACP Disu, was actively involved in the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration’s transition of Emergency Response Squad to Rapid Response Squad as the ADC to the then Governor of Lagos State.
ACP Disu, who had witnessed the repositioning of the squad from the military-styled outfit to a civil based security agency upon his appointment in 2015, hit the ground running in his efforts at repositioning the RRS. He applied pragmatic steps targeted at the zeal of the officers, the perception of Lagosians and the swiftness of its response time to criminal activities across the state.
The RRS has made ground breaking successes in their bid to ensure security of lives and nipping criminal activities in the bud. Although RRS was designed to be the first responder to crisis, under ACP Disu, the squad has so far lived up above expectations by averagely getting to crime scenes even before the closest police formations. Aside infusing modern policing techniques, he brought re-orientation of officers in the squad in order to erase wrong perceptions.
It has now become a common sight to see Rapid Response Squad officers assisting members of the public in need of assistance, particularly those with broken down vehicles in bad spots and at odd hours.
Some of these are attitudinal changes the RRS leadership under ACP Disu has been promoting since he took charge of the squad. These have made the officers to realise that the satisfaction and safety of the people is the basis of policing.
P.M.EXPRESS can confirm that RRS officers, under the current Commander, have been trained and retrained thereby creating a Force that respects members of the public even in the task of discharging their duties. The Commander has helped change the perception of the people as the squad has continued to leverage on new technologies. At the moment, the squad makes use of drone surveillance, advanced vehicle tracking and recovery devices as well applications which enable them to do social media tracking and curbing of internet fraud. To their credit, they have tracked and recovered over 70 stolen vehicles within and outside Lagos State.
It is also on record that RRS helicopter was the first to spot the Bristow helicopter that forcefully landed on the ocean in February, 2016. At different times, the ACP Disu led RRS have also arrested kidnapping suspects in different parts of the country.
Several cases bothering on bank fraud have been cracked by the RRS leading to the arrest of many suspects and colluding bank staffers.
Severally, Disu, as the RRS Commander, had personally stormed the Lagos popular ICT market, known as Computer Village, in Ikeja to arrest dealers of stolen phones, recovered stolen phones leading to the arrest of many armed robbers, pickpockets and criminal gangs. He has equally busted car thieves, arrested blackmailers, notorious cultists and teenage robbers.
Disu was born on Lagos Island, had his post-primary education at Mayflower Junior School, Ikenne, Ogun State, attended Pobuna Secondary Grammar School, Epe and Saint Gregory’s College, Lagos.
He obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English (Education) at the Lagos State University; post Graduate Diploma in International Relations and Strategic Studies at Lagos State University; a Certificate in Personal Protection in the United Kingdom; and has Master in Public Administrations at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Ondo State.
He joined the Nigerian Police in 1992 as Cadet ASP and was trained at the Nigeria Police Academy, Kaduna. He has served as DPO in various divisions and states. He was Officer-in-Charge of Anti-Fraud; and also in other capacity, which include:
• Directing Staff at the Nigeria Police Academy, Kano
• ADC to an Executive Governor
• Led the first Police Contingent into Darfur, Sudan (AMIS)
• Commander Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and Anti-Kidnapping Unit in 3 states
• 2ic Rivers State Criminal Investigation Department (CID)
He has attended many police trainings, some of which include Small Arms Smuggling in Botswana, Internet Fraud in Cambridge University, United Kingdom, Strategic Leadership Command Course in Jos, Plateau State amongst others. He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and also a member of Chattered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM). He is black-belter in Judo with many medals and currently the National Chairman of the Nigerian Police Judo Association; a member of the Lagos Island Club; and a devout Muslim married with children.