By Nseobong Okon-Ekong
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has warned President Muhammadu Buhari against considering an extension of the tenure of the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris Kpotun, who is due for retirement in January 2019. Also by his service record, he would be due for retirement next year, having served the Nigeria Police for 35 years, since 1984.
Mr. Kpotun was appointed Inspector General of Police by President Buhari on March 21, 2016, replacing Solomon Arase, who retired from the police force on June 21, 2016.
At a media interaction with journalists in Lagos, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP said his party rejects the attempt to extend the tenure of the Inspector General of Police, saying it was another ploy in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government’s strategy to scheme the 2019 general elections in its favour.
The expectation in many quarters is that following the Arase precedence, Kpotun’s successor should have been announced last month. But Ologbodiyan implied that the Inspector General of Police who has been widely criticised for the perceived biased role of his men and officers in the 2018 governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states may be retained “to continue the dirty jobs for the APC government during the elections scheduled to hold in February and March, 2019.”
Ologbodiyan who was accompanied by a colleague in the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Mr. Umar Sani revealed that the PDP was mindful of other moves by the APC to rig the elections. He noted, “Our party is aware that the Inspector General has surrounded every comment of commissioner of police in the states with informants. They are to attend political meetings and monitor the movement of the police commissioners. We appeal to the Inspector General to insulate the Nigeria Police from partisan politics.”
“Look at the way the police commissioners in Akwa Ibom and Rivers states are being transferred, at the least complain from the opposition APC in those states. We know that those relocation are at the prerogative of the Inspector General of Police, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Why is that police commissioners in PDP-controlled states who insist on applying the law without favour are quickly replaced?”
If the President goes ahead to extend the tenure of Kpotun, he would be exercising a similar discretion which he did last year when he extended the tenures of all service chiefs: Abayomi Olonisakin, Chief of Defence Staff; Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff; Ibok Ete-Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff and Sadique Abubakar, Chief of Air Staff. The President was said to be delivering his freedom of choice, “pursuant to the powers conferred on the President and Commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by section 218(1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution.”
The explanation from the authorities for Buhari’s approval of tenure extension bothered on the prevailing insurgency in the country. “Having carefully reviewed the ongoing military operations across the country and the efforts of the service chiefs in the counter-insurgency operations in the North East coupled with the security situation of the Niger Delta region”.
The current service chiefs were appointed on July 13, 2015. According to the rules of the armed forces, the tenure of service chiefs is two years, after which the President could extend it provided the affected officer has not attained the mandatory retirement age of 60. Having been born in Kutigi, Lavun in Niger State on January 15, 1959, Kpotun would be clock the retirement age on January 15, 2019.