In line with popular expectations, President Muhammadu Buhari has resisted the temptation of extending the tenure of the retiring Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris. The ex-IGP was mandatorily retired having clocked the age of 60 years.
Ordinarily, the President could have exercised his powers by retaining the IGP at least for him to implement the strategies devised to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections billed for next month. The fact that his service was not extended despite the situation in the country speaks volumes about the rating of his performance as the nation’s police boss.
It therefore behoves on the new Acting IGP, Abubakar Mohammed Adamu, to conduct a dispassionate appraisal of his predecessor with a view to restrategizing and repositioning the force which has generally been adjudged to have degenerated in the last few years. The new IGP has a lot to do to revamp the image of the force now. And fast too.
Understandably, Adamu will be under intense pressure to maintain the status quo as officials, especially incumbent state Commissioners of Police, have been reported to have intensified lobbies to retain their seats. Adamu has no luxury of time than to immediately swing into action by carrying out an assessment of the performances of his cops and retaining those who are found capable of contributing to the success of his agenda as the new police chief.
The mistake of his predecessor where State Commissioners were being moved at random should be discontinued. For instance, within the spate of three months, Bayelsa state had eight Commissioners of Police! The peace of the tiny, oil rich, volatile state hung on the precipice during the time as policemen were not given time to acclimatize before their deployments. Little wonder Bayelsa became the haven of cultists carrying out their nefarious activities unchecked.He should focus on how to enhance professionalism in the force and shun the temptation to politicize postings of his men. The ultimate task before Adamu is to ensure internal security and he must be conscious of the fact that his actions and inactions have direct bearing on the rating of the performance of the President who appointed him.
It is on this ground that people applauded his decision to halt the deployment of the Lagos state Police Commissioner, Edgal Imohimi, who has attracted popular accolades from all in supervising the security of Lagos state. The appointment of Frank Mba as the new spokesman of the Force has also been generally praised. This appointment indicated that Adamu came in prepared to rehabilitate the battered image of the force.
Even though the nation had been inflicted with the virus of insecurity before his appointment, the situation got worse under Adamu’s predecessor. Apart from the scourge of terrorism plaguing the country, incidences of banditry and kidnapping increased under Idris. The new Police boss must work harder to curtail the new evil of banditry in Zamfara and certain parts of North western states.
He must also be prepared to invent innovative ideas on how to stop constant clashes between farmers and herders in the country which the country Director of Amnesty International,Ossai Ojigho, reportedly claimed the lives of 168 persons in states of Adamawa, Benue,Taraba, Enugu, Plateau, Ondo and Kaduna in January 2018 alone! He obviously needs to deploy intelligence in the service and build trust with the people for him to succeed in this task.
Adamu must prioritize training and retraining of his men for them to be compliant with new security challenges in the country. The welfare of his men must always be topmost on his agenda. A repeat of the July 2018 protests by masked policemen in Maiduguri is unacceptable and must be avoided.
The new IGP must not only be transparent but must be seen to be blemish-less in the handling of the force’s resources at his disposal. Adamu must be prepared to account for the billions of Naira earned from special security postings of thousands of policemen assigned to individuals and corporate bodies in the country.
A serving member of the National Assembly, Senator Isa Misau, had publicly accused his predecessor of misappropriation of public funds and failure to account for over N10 billion he earned monthly from special security postings of over 100,000 police men assigned to individuals and corporate bodies. He was said to be using the police men and properties to enrich himself by attaching police officers to VIPs and organisations, using monies earned from such for his personal care. Adamu must not allow this to happen under him for there to be a departure from the past.
Closely related to the need for transparency in the handling of the Force’s finance is the need to urgently take steps to address the alleged bastardization of promotion in the Police under the last IGP. It was alleged that officers due for promotion were denied and only those endorsed by a ‘cabal’ or who have enough money to buy their ways through got promoted. On the issue of promotion, merit must count under Adamu. Anything short of this is an endorsement of impropriety.
Obviously, the first litmus test for the new IGP will be the conduct of his men in the oncoming general elections. Asked whether he would not be partisan in the conduct of the elections in an interaction with newsmen at the Presidential Villa immediately after he was decorated the new IGP on Tuesday by the President, Adamu said “Well, we are professionals. We are going to stick by the rules, we are going to do the right thing. We will not go outside the ethics of our job to do things that are untoward, everybody will be given level playing ground to play his or her politics.” This sums up the expectation from the populace. His neutrality in the oncoming election will surely revamp the image of the police and place Adamu on a pedestal of glory.
To this extent, Adamu should re-examine all pending cases with political coloration and determine them based on their merits. Tongues are wangling on the handling of the pending robbery and murder cases involving the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and Senator Dino Melaye respectively. These two cases involving notable arrowheads of opposition in the country must be treated with dispatch without offending any tenets of the rule of law.
Above all, the new IGP must be subservient to civil authority. Respect for court orders must be sacrosanct under his watch. As the chief enforcer of the law, he must not be seen to be the breaker of same. Adamu must also not take the magnanimity of the President, who appointed him, for granted the way his predecessor did when he was ordered to relocate to Benue state at the height of the farmers/herders clashes and he declined.
Nigerians desire an apolitical police chief who will serve them in all honesty without bias; an IGP who will be seen to be above board in his dealings with the people. These are not too much to ask. Here, we wish IGP Adamu a successful, scandal-free tenure. Welcome on board sir.