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Thursday, 15 March 2012


The biggest fallout from the persistent state of anarchy, insecurity and total loss of faith by Nigerians on operatives of the security community in the country was the last weekend’s sacking of the immediate past Inspector General of Police Mr. Hafix Ringim and the appointment of the erstwhile Assistant Inspector General of police Mr. Mohammed Dikko Abubakar as acting Inspector General of police.

The unceremonious exit of the nation’s former police Chief was long in coming because of the overwhelming public opinion that the nation is in urgent need of comprehensive and surgical over-haul of the nation’s security Institutions following the abysmal failure of the armed security operatives to contain the unprecedented rise in violent terrorism, armed brigandage, religious insurgency and near-total breakdown of law and order in the last twelve months.

Most Nigerians are sad that President Jonathan waited this long before shoving aside the erstwhile Inspector General of police even as Nigerians are still bewildered that most other failed security Chiefs are still enjoying the privileges of their exalted and juicy offices even when tens-of-thousands of innocent Nigerians are killed violently by different armed splinter groups including but not limited to the much feared Islamic fundamentalist armed group known globally as Boko Haram.

The appointment of Mr. M.D. Abubakar has thrown up a number of posers that bordered on his patriotism, competency and professional efficiency or otherwise even as the acting Inspector General of police may have activated his support base to throw their weight behind him to ensure that in no-distant time that the nation’s commander-In-chief of the Armed forces, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan sends his name to the Senate for confirmation as substantive Inspector General of police.        

I am neither a supporter nor adversary of Mr. Mohammed Dikko Abubakar but as a Nigerian I think the appointment of an Inspector General of police should not be subjected to political gymnastics since the constitutional duty of the holder of that strategic office is the chief law enforcement officer of the federation and in fact the field commander of the nation’s largest security outfit whose operatives are found all across the country.

The office of the Inspector General of police should not be limited to serving police officers but open to all Nigerian citizens with at least a university academic doctorate degree with cognate experiences of not less than ten years in the security field.   

The National Assembly should therefore embark on holistic Constitutional amendment to make it possible for an Independent appointing authority to be created headed by the President and Commander-in-chief of Nigeria and made up of tested and trusted statesmen and patriotic Nigerian women who should organize transparent recruitment process to select a substantive Inspector General of police for Nigeria if truly we want to get it right except if we are satisfied with the dysfunctional and moribund nature of our current Nigeria police force. God forbid!

Pragmatic police reforms are urgent because the security nightmare that Nigeria has found itself was created by the police because of the practice of extra-legal execution of suspects by police operatives; corruption; incompetency and improper training and equipment of the current crop of the Nigeria police Force.   

Members of the dreaded boko haram sect that have claimed responsibility for the dastardly acts of mass killings in streets of major towns and cities in the North, said the extra-judicial killing by the police of their founder Mohammed Yusuf in 2009 was responsible for their campaign of organized vicious terrorism in Nigeria.

While waiting for the expected political Messiah who would exercise the political will to effectively reform the Nigeria police Force for greater efficiency, it may be noteworthy to analyze whether Mr. Mohammed Dikko Abubakar has the capacity to lead the “largest” police Force in the black world.

Put simply, can Mr. Dikko effectively police Nigeria?

Acting Inspector General Abubakar’s appointment has thrown up many posers instead of dousing fears over the nation’s security as he had been in Plateau State crisis a year ago. The Justice Niki Tobi panel constituted in September 2001 by former Governor Joshua Dariye on the Jos crisis had recommended the retirement of Abubakar from the police force. Dariye, the erstwhile governor of Plateau state is facing sundry charges that bordered on corruption at the federal High Court even though he is a serving senator at the moment.

Specifically, in a White Paper released in Jos, the panel suggested that Abubakar should be dismissed if he refused to retire.

The panel said: “Religious fanatics should not be posted to head state police commands. The commission recommends that for his ignoble role during the September 2001 crisis which resulted in the loss of lives, the former Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, Alhaji M.D. Abubakar, be advised to retire from the Nigeria Police Force and in the event of his refusal to do so, he should be dismissed from the service”.

The Niki Tobi panel had reportedly indicted Abubakar, who is from Zamfara State, for alleged sponsorship of Islamist militant group when he was Commissioner of Police in Plateau State.   

President Jonathan claimed that Mr. Mohammed Dikko Abubakar was appointed the acting Inspector General of police based on recommendation from some serving and retired police Chiefs including the serving chairman of the police service commission who retired as a Deputy Inspector General of police –Mr. Parry Osayande.

National president of the highly respected Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Pastor Ayo Oritshejafor raised the genuine fear of most people that so long as Mr. Dikko Abubakar had been indicted by a judicial probe panel headed then by no other person but an erudite legal scholar and then Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, he should not be confirmed as substantive Inspector General of police.

On his own part, the acting Inspector General of police has pledged to battle the rising violent Islamic fundamentalism and the vicious regime of violence in all parts of Nigeria.
When he took over from the disgraced erstwhile Inspector General of police, the new acting Inspector General of police Mr. Abubakar said: “I am indeed delighted today that the Almighty God, in His wisdom, has shown us this day. I will not want to tell you that I have a speech for now because I am taking over. I want to be fully briefed about the challenges and the difficulties and the facts facing the Nigeria Police today. I am not a newcomer to it. I cannot run away from the fact that there are a lot of challenges but I do know that we have challenges that are of high impact. I want to assure all Nigerians that this administration will be different from any other administration because every officer and men of the Nigeria Police will belong to the same family”.

Stating his priorities, the new IG said: “We shall focus on areas of interest, which we know the Police are lacking-training and retraining programme, welfare scheme and the challenges of fighting crime in this country. We shall go to every nooks and crannies of this country and do what is expected of us in respect of fighting crime and criminality….”

As clearly stated, talk is cheap and the new acting Inspector General should stop disturbing Nigerians with much noise but must walk his talk by leading the expected internal reforms of the decadent police Force in Nigeria.

Mr. Dikko must fight bribery, corruption and favoritism that have combined to cripple the Institution of the Nigeria police because this is how best he can write his name in gold and avoid a disgraceful exit like his immediate predecessor.

President Jonathan must however probe the past of whomsoever he intends to appoint as substantive Inspector General of police because foisting a religious fundamentalist of which ever faith group in Nigeria is tantamount to singing ‘nunct dimities’ (the end) of Nigeria as a corporate political entity in no distant time.

*   Emmanuel Onwubiko heads Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria.


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