By Marcel Ezenwa
There is no doubt that Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector-General of Police, inherited a great task when he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to pilot the affairs of the largest police force in Africa and the entire black nation. The many challenges that confronted the police chief include: combating a growing insecurity menace that his predecessors tried to eliminate or mitigate without much success, the inexorable depreciation of values and performance of the Nigeria Police Force against the pale efforts of successive governments in the country at reforming the institution, even in the face of very great expectations.
However, the leadership change in the Nigerian Police Force brings a sigh of relief to Nigerians who face harassment, intimidation, and coercion, paying “illegal toll fee” everyday on Nigerian roads. It was common for some bad eggs in the Nigerian police to mounts illegal road blocks to extort money from the motorists under the guise of preventing crimes. The unauthorized police barriers on Nigerian highways have in most cases caused fatal accidents and there are cases where policemen have intentionally or accidentally killed innocent people with their guns because they failed to pay unlawful mandatory fee.
Adamu who is not unaware that great accomplishments in human history are always preceded by great challenges and difficult choices but usually overridden by prospects of new opportunities and order, quickly went to work. From the unset, the performance of the Force has constantly been overwhelmed basically by the lack of fund upon which other ills that have bedeviled the force could well be blamed.
This explained the jubilation that trailed Adamu’s appointment, first, as the Acting Inspector General of Police and also the hope his confirmation as the Inspector-General of Police means for the nation. There is no gainsaying that Adamu is a leader with unprecedented levels of professionalism, unbridled integrity, selflessness, tact with focus and result-orientation – qualities that he has brought to bear in the force for better policing.
His vast experience, having worked in different formation of the force to emerge its top notch cuts him squarely for the job. Adamu has served in various departments of the Force, including Operations, Investigation, Administration and Intelligence, leaving indelible prints of success. A man whose qualities tower high above his contemporaries, his academic stand, both enviable and intimidating, placed him well to better appreciate and deal with the basket of problems that the Force is today faced with.
With Adamu at the headship of the force, the Nigeria Police now has a man whose passion on reforming the police agrees with the aspirations of most Nigerians that there is a strong belief that the desired wind of change is finally wafting across the police force and will permeate every crevice of the Force’s operational machinery to make it one big and formidable institution.
The antecedents of Adamu speak volumes also in competence and ability. He understood that the Nigeria Police, as it is, needs a holistic change; a turn-around from old ways which can only be attained by hard work and commitment. He has demonstrated a remarkable propensity to bring new and appropriate perspectives at providing solutions, and ideas aimed at redeeming and advancing the Force with cutting edge technology to policing functions. He did this when he was the Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State and Assistant Inspector General of Police in Zone 5 Headquarters in Benin. He developed anti-robbery and anti-kidnapping operational protocols that proved highly effective in addressing high-level crimes in the State and in the zone. Again, he also championed the restoration of professional excellence and high investigative documentation and prosecution standards which got him a commendation from many.
Prior to his appointment, Adamu who was an Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police posted to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, near Jos, Plateau State as a Directing Staff distinguished himself making it possible for Mr. President to spot him and appoint him to the exalted position of IGP.
Adamu professionally conducted the 2019 general elections upon the fact that he was just assuming office. It was to his eternal credit that the trio of presidential, National Assembly, Governorship and State Assemblies elections went without many hitches. Under his leadership, he also ensured supplementary inconclusive and off-Season elections which followed after were successfully conducted peacefully with officers and men exhibiting highest level professionalism.
A great motivator, Adamu initiated policies that greatly transformed the operational environment of the force. This led to the re-establishment of the Ministry of Policy Affairs and appointment of a Minister to oversee it. This was followed by the passage of Policy Reform and Police Trust Fund Bills by the National Assembly. The implementation of Community Policing Strategy is gradually taking shape by the day.
In his quest to police with integrity, Adamu undertook landmark reforms and restructuring initiatives towards arresting the challenges posed by heinous acts of heavily armed highway kidnappers and robbers. These are all in addition to the activities of the dreadful Boko Haram and other organized militants, cults and regionally-biased armed terror groups.
Fighting this menace, Adamu deployed combat ready Police personnel who with other security agencies gathered their acts together towards giving these criminals a bloody nose. IGP Adamu unfolded a grand policy and strategy for dealing with these internal security challenges head-on. To take policing to the people, he set community policing as his strategy which has enabled him water down the activities of the force to the grassroots with the aim to tackle the various domestic security challenges facing the country.
The ‘Operation Puff Adder’ which was formed to tackle violent crimes, especially banditry and kidnapping in Kogi, Katsina, Niger and Zamfara. Abuja-Kaduna Highway that has witnessed several kidnappings in recent days saw massive deployment of personnel as part of the operation.
While speaking at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs, on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, Adamu, who was represented by Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) Operations, Abdulmajid Ali lamented that aside the inadequate manpower, the police are also battling with other challenges which includes -dilapidated barracks, poor remuneration and low budgetary allocations. It shows that Adamu believes in upgrading the welfare of members of the Nigerian Police Force as motivation was key to increasing productivity.
Given his programme of action and operational strategy, it shows that the IGP is ready to bring crime rate to the lowest minimum and bequeath a low-crime-society where all will be safe.
However, to augment the encouraging scheme of the IG, most stakeholders have asked that the police should be independence and be protected to discourage its performance from being polluted with politics. Political interference would undermine the cohesion, effectiveness and performance of the Nigeria Police Force under the performing IGP. Again, the police must be well funded and our budget must be used judiciously to address our security challenges and deliver a new Nigeria Police by sustaining the good works of Mohammed Adamu.
Government should take the bull by the horns by having the courage and the will power to initiate a comprehensive and objective restructuring of the Nigeria Police to reflect the dynamism, complexities of today’s Nigeria and the yearning of the populace. The usual believe that nothing can work in Nigeria is absolutely unfounded given the track record of IGP Mohammed Adamu.
Marcel Ezenwa, Coordinator Greater Virtue for Traffic Watch & Development Initiative writes in from Abuja.