Abubakar Adamu Mohammed’s appointment as the acting Inspector-General of Police on the eve of a general election is not enviable, writes Olawale Olaleye
After 35 years in service and having attained the mandatory 60 years retirement age, it was inevitable that the immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris would quit the stage. He had reached his stop in the service to fatherland hence the immediate appointment of Abubakar Adamu Mohammed, an Assistant Inspector-General of Police as his successor, albeit in acting capacity as is the practice.
Mohammed’s appointment has been greeted with a lot of excitements, both within and outside the police force and this came on the heels of the seemingly poor job delivery by Idris, who completely lacked the requisite emotional intelligence to professionally lead the nation’s first line of defence and was helplessly unable to manage his political biases in an inherently volatile environment.
Except, perhaps, for family, friends and well-wishers, Mohammed is not oblivious of the sensitive implications of taking up such an assignment at a time like this. He is just not enviable. He does not need endless congratulatory messages either, but the sincere prayers of well-wishers to help him run this onerous race of securing the nation and at a particularly challenging period.
However, it may be trite to assume that his job has been clearly cut out for him. He is coming into office on the eve of a general election. Many states of the federation are already in ‘turmoil’ occasioned by their respective local high-wire power games. This, of course, has compounded the already deteriorating security situation in almost every part of the country.
From Lagos to Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Rivers, Kano, Kaduna, Borno, Katsina, Taraba, Kogi and in fact, Abuja, the security situation, aside the menacing reign of insurgency in the North East part of the country, has assumed a disturbing dimension.
Therefore, there is no debating what Mohammed ought to do or ought not to do in terms of his brief at the moment. Apart from having to effectively contain everything that poses threat – near or remote – to the election of next month, Mohammed must also take the liberty of his highly sensitive and critical office to look into some pending cases that have been of national and sometimes, global concerns.
One of such cases is the April 2018 robbery in Offa, Kwara State, which claimed about 32 people, a majority of them police officers. Interestingly too, the leader of the gang, Michael Adikwu was a dismissed policeman, who took his frustration out on his colleagues and killed them mercilessly.
But the highlight of the robbery case is the attempt by the former IGP to link the heist to the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in a move many considered highly political and cheap. While many agreed some of the robbers could be political thugs with affiliations to known politicians, several attempts were desperately made to establish a futile link between them and Saraki by Idris, which made complete nonsense of the case, although still ongoing.
More instructively, is the need for Mohammed to probe the passing of Adikwu, many weeks after Saraki and the state government had claimed that he had been killed by police under Idris. The police then denied any such thing and claimed the reason Adikwu had been kept away from some of their news conferences was because he was assisting with investigation.
Many weeks gone, the police finally came forward to announce the passing of Adikwu, citing different circumstances at different times. That Saraki and others knew long ago that he was dead meant he had died at the time. Two, the different accounts of how he might have died is also not tidy enough and so, Mohammed would do well by reordering fresh investigation into the whole mess and unraveling the truth. The people deserve to know.
Controversial Senator Dino Melaye from Kogi West had been at loggerheads with the security for a long time over different charges, bordering mainly on security concerns. Indeed, one of the suspects in a case of attack against Dino also suspiciously died while in police custody during Idris’ era. His latest arrest after keeping vigil at his house for many nights is an indication that the police had brazenly taken side, when indeed there were other security challenges requiring the police attention. Mohammed must ask questions concerning the matter and fix this mess too. No thanks to Idris.
Again, Mohammed must take more than a passing interest in the death of Chief Ope Bademosi, the Credit Switch Technology boss, allegedly murdered by his Togolese cook, about a week after he was brought to Lagos from Ondo State. From the narration of the cook the first time the police put him on the spot, it was clear even to the discerning that there was more than meets the eye.
Days after, the police came up with a different account of what happened and claimed the cook confessed to killing Bademosi and subsequently committed him to prison.
But many days after this, there was news of his passing too, which the prison authority had quickly refuted. Yet, neither the police nor the prison authority had presented him to the public as a way of confirming their own story. Mohammed must be concerned about developments like this, which put the police in bad spots before the people.
The recent killing of a former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, which the police had almost messed up when they claimed the arrested suspects had linked their action to a land purchase. But in a rather embarrassing twist, Badeh’s family had quickly come out to dismiss the police story saying it was not correct by any chance.
That was almost going to mess up the investigation of the killing of a former CDS, except of course Mohammed steps in to correct what many would glibly dismiss as Idris’ deliberate error.
What about the preliminary report authored by Idris on the sack of Lawal Daura, former Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS)? That was yet another embarrassment to the police authority. Understandably, the police arrested the reporter, because they didn’t expect that such a sensitive report would be leaked as soon as it was submitted.
From the tone of the letter to the insinuations that dotted many of the submissions, it was fraught with biases, which exposed the inter-agency rivalry that had been the bane of effective policing of the nation through the sharing of sensitive information and intelligence. Idris seized advantage of the report to descend undiscernibly into the arena.
These and more are some of the things that Mohammed must address as the new police chief. He must stay away from Idris’ petty disposition and helpless unprofessional misses in the delivery of his job.
However, if there was anything that gives hope of a better police leadership under Mohammed, it is his choice of Frank Mbah as the spokesperson.
Unlike Idris, Jimoh Moshood was a disaster. He completed the foibles of his boss and highlighted the many shortcomings of the force as one. He delighted in sheer lies and was unable to keep his biases under wrap. He was cheap in his deliveries and grossly unprofessional. He too undid the work of his boss but they both enjoyed their folly, thinking they were doing the man who hired them a favour.
Mohammed must stand out in every way possible and live his record of outstanding service. Importantly, his first major test is the elections and how he handles them through the deployment of his men without fear or favour would determine on which side of history he chooses to be. Idris and Moshood made their choice without external influences. And now that history has beamed its flash on Mohammed, he should choose that which he desires.