Sir Mike Mbama Okiro is one former inspector general of police who had foresight while at the helms of affairs of the police force, he not only conceptualized the idea behind the popular Niger Delta amnesty before it was bought and executed by the late President Musa Yaradua, he also established the red beret boys known as the anti-terrorist squad when BEN OKEZIE asked him to expatiate on the history of the anti-terrorism squad, he has this to say
The world is now a global village, so whatever happens in one continent can overnight, be transferred to another place, following what happened in the US 9/11 which was an international affair and subsequent terrorist activities across the globe, I felt that Nigeria and the police that is saddled with the with the responsibility of internal security should not just rest and wait until it happens before action is taken. So, I felt we should take a proactive action by establishing a squad within the Nigeria police where men will be trained to react to violent or terrorist activity. I did this between September and October 2007, when I wrote a memo to Mr. President, I wrote a letter to Mr. President through the minister of interior who was supervising the police at the time, and it was approved. I also recommended the type of uniform they should wear; I reasoned that there was no point spending any money on a new uniform, since we had the mobile police uniform which I think is good as a combat uniform, but I said there should be something different from the usual mobile police, so I suggested, a red beret for the men in the anti terrorist squad, they will operate at night and the red will be visible at night and it will stand out and be visible from a far place. That was why I suggested red beret for the squad; I can remember that when I conceived this idea,I told the Nigeria press about this idea when we had a conference at the Obudu ranch in Cross River State in 2007, and it was the headline news but on the third day, I got attack from various section of the country. Why should I set up a terrorist squad? That I was trying to give Nigeria a bad name in the international community. Some religion bodies joined the fray of attacks that I was blackmailing a certain religion in the country by setting up an anti terrorist squad. Nigeria is not a terrorist country but must you wait before you become one and then set up the squad? I told them the world has become globalised such that people watch television, movies, and use the internet, so we should not wait and be overwhelmed by such devilish activities before we can react. When asked on what was his response to those who said he set up the anti-terrorism to give a certain religion a bad name, he said “I told them that it was not the issue of giving a particular religion a bad name, if a bomb is thrown anywhere, tell me, can the bomb discriminate between a Christian, Hindu a Muslim or a pagan? A bomb will just kill everyone within the killing range. That I was trying to blackmail a particular religion does not hold any water, and I have been proved right today.