Though the new Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, has started on a good footing by pledging to restore the battered image of the service, Chiemelie Ezeobi however writes that there are some pitfalls to avoid in office as the 20th indigenous police chief
It’s a new dawn for the Nigerian Police all things being equal with the recent appointment of Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, as the 20th indigenious Inspector General of Police. His appointment was heralded by the retirement of his predecessor, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, on January 15, 2019, having attained 60 years of age.

Handover

When the news first filtered out, it was met with sceptism given the body language of the presidency on Idris’ retirement. It was soon proven to be true, setting the ball in motion for the official handover of baton. First, he was decorated by the president before the handover proper.

At the handover, Idris had thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity given to him to serve under his administration as the 19th IG, while also expressing gratitude to all Nigerians for the cooperation and support they accorded him and the entire personnel of the service  during his tenure. He further enjoined them to extend the same level of support and assistance to his successor.

Although he hadn’t delved much into his strategic plans, Adamu had succinctly said he was out to repair the battered image of the police.

Putting one of such plans to motion was the immediate appointment of a new Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) in the person of Frank Mba, an Assistant Commissioner of Police. Mba, a one-time FPRO under former IG, Mohammed Abubakar (rtd), took over from acting DCP Jimoh Moshood, who was redeployed to other national assignment. His appointment was lauded in virtually all quarters given the pedigree he possesses.

Deliverables

Barely a day after settling down, the IG outlined his potential deliverables in office, just after he admitted that the service had been lacking in  transparent, responsive, motivational, accountable, and knowledgeable  leadership. He listed some of derivables as retaining the present crop of senior officers, reviewing the promotion process, providing the right leadership, as well as restoring the lost glory of the Nigeria Police, which he lamented remains a concern to governments at all levels, citizens, human rights groups, the international community and indeed well-meaning officers.

According to him, his appointment represents a call to duty and a charge to restore the dwindling primacy of the Nigeria Police within the internal security architecture of our beloved country, adding that commanding the largest police force in Africa, particularly, at this crucial time that the country is faced with multi-faceted security challenges and at the peak of preparations for the general elections, is undoubtedly an arduous task.

He said: “However, it remains a fact that the service is blessed with some of the finest officers anywhere in the world that are not only intellectually gifted and exceptionally dedicated, but professionally sound enough to surmount these tasks if the right leadership is provided. Amongst you seated in this hall today are some of such thorough-bred and passionate professionals who can hold their own among their peers and have consistently distinguished themselves in complex national and international engagements.

“All that you desire, from my experience, is a transparent, responsive, motivational, accountable, and knowledgeable  leader who will not only treat you with the dignity you deserve in your line of duty, but who is sensitive to your welfare, needs and fair in the manner your promotion and other reward regimes are addressed. The absence of this level of leadership has always been the missing link in policing in Nigeria

“It is my firm conviction, therefore, that if the quality personnel potentials of the force are blended with purposeful and motivational leadership at strategic levels within the organisational  hierarchy of the force, the lost glory of the Nigeria Police Force which remains a concern to governments at all levels, citizens, human rights groups, the international community and indeed well-meaning officers and men of the force shall be restored.

“With my appointment and assumption of duty, I am determined to draw on my national and international policing leadership experience to bridge this missing link. I assure you on this day that I will provide the highest possible level of professional and responsible leadership for you while trusting that you shall march hand-in-hand with me as dependable professional colleagues, to advance the fortunes of the force.”

Demands on Personnel

To whom much is given, much is also expected. For Adamu, while he has pledged to ensure that officers and men are taken care off, he also demand that they play their part. He said: “I hereby demand that you henceforth resolve to abstain from conducts that will drag the police into disrepute and put your career in jeopardy, and join me in the common course of changing the narratives of policing in the country for good. In giving effect to this, in the coming days, I shall unfold before you and the nation the strategic focus of my leadership.

Conduct During Elections

He also delved into the thorny issue of the forthcoming general elections, which undoubtedly would be a litmus test that will set the tone of his tenure. On this Adamu said, “Asides our routine operations, we have within the short term, two major national assignments where our professionalism and commitment to duty will once again be subjected to national and international scrutiny. First, is the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections on 16 February, 2019 and second is the Governorship, State Assembly, and Federal Capital Territory Area Council Elections on Saturday, March 2, 2019.

“These national engagements are of immediate priority to my leadership and, hence, in the next few days, the nation shall witness concerted police deployments and other activities which will all be directed at ensuring quality election security service delivery by the police, being the lead agency in election security management. While with your support, I am confident that we have the operational capacity to ensure the success of both exercises, i am not unaware of the possible security threat that some misguided political actors and their followers may attempt to pose during the general elections.

“To such elements, I must sound a note of warning that as a nation, we have had enough of electoral violence. Hence while the Nigeria Police under my watch shall work with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and sister security agencies in guaranteeing a peaceful and secure space for all political parties and the citizens to freely exercise their electoral rights, we shall not hesitate to identify, isolate and bring to deserved justice any person or group that attempts to threaten our sacred democratic order

“To the unrepentant felons that may want to put our common will to test, the message is being relayed here loud and clear that in securing the law abiding citizens during the elections, we shall not hesitate to deploy our potent assets to deal firmly and decisively with electoral deviants. Consequently, I call on political actors to assist the police  and other law enforcement agencies in sustaining the gains recorded in our democratic journey.

“They should always remember that politics is a game guided by rules and it behooves them to play the game within the dictates of such rules. On our part, we assure the nation of our determination to play our roles fairly but firmly towards guaranteeing a peaceful electoral process and a credible outcome.”

Pledge to the Civil Populace

To the over 180millions that he is expected to protect, Adamu said: lLet me end this inaugural address by assuring the citizens that I am mindful of their yearnings for a policing system that will not only assure them of their safety, but treat them with civility and hold their rights sacred. While I promise on behalf of officers of the force that their deserved aspirations will be met henceforth, I also call on the citizens to work with the police in the interest of community safety and national security

“I am similarly not oblivious of the concerns of the federal government on the Nigeria Police. I am mindful of the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari is desirous of bequeathing a citizens-friendly, operationally efficient and ethically-guided police system to the country. The president (sic) envisions a police that will take the lead in internal security operations engage intelligence-led, technology-supported and community driven policing principles in the attainment of its mandate, and play an active role with the Armed Forces in restoring civil authority in the North-east. I assure the country that I will provide the requisite leadership for the Nigeria Police to meet these expectations and address the concerns.”

Pitfalls to Avoid

But however soothing his pledge appears to be, there are certain pitfalls this present IG must avoid if he doesn’t want to go down the anals of history as a bad cop.
Perhaps it would be fitting to go down memory lane to all the drama that happened with Idris appointment and the subsequent action he took that heat up the polity and why this present IG needs to avoid the same pitfalls. Skipping all those who were gunning for the topmost echelon of the police job, Buhari had picked Idris, leading to the mass retirement of some eggheads in the police. Soon enough, he was dodged with allegations of past misdemeanor, purportedly ranging from cowardice during a Boko Haram raid in 2012 raid in Kano, where he locked himself up as the terrorist group maimed lives; his alleged affairs with subordinates, and even his alleged role in 2015 election in Kano. All these allegations were never answered when he assumed office as the 19th indigenous IG.
Soon after his appointment, his first missle was targeted at his seniors and coursemates. In promoting him, the presidency had skipped over 12 other senior CPs, over 22 senior AIGs, and of course over the seven most senior DIGs. THISDAY had exclusively reported how he wrote to the presidency to terminate their appointments. His second salvo was at his predecessor, Solomon Arase. He had alleged that the former IG went away with 22 vehicles including two seven series BMW, an accusation that Arase did not take lying low. For weeks unending, the duo threw accusations at each other. It was later alleged that his attack against Arase was based on the four administrative querries given to him over his purported incompetent performance as CP.
Those initial actions by Idris soon set the pattern for his administration; controversy upon controversy. While he sometimes might not be in the middle of a controversy, his men were, as they put their foot one after the other in their mouth. Another issue he battled with was his alleged partisan conduct during elections.
Charity they say begins at home, so the onus lies on this IG as a former peace keeper to foreign nations, having spent many years on peacekeeping in different countries across the world to bring to bear skills and replicate in the service.

It is therefore without gainsaying that if there is one thing that will either make or mar this present IG, it would be his disposition during the forthcoming general elections. Although it is often said that ‘he who pays the piper determines the tune’, it would do the IG a whole of good if he shuns partisanship across board. A tough call one might say, but totally doable with grith and integrity.

Unlike the former IG that fought on all fronts, thereby leaving his flanks unprotected, it would behoove Adamu to shun that line of action and act civil to all, whether individuals or organisation. In essence, diplomacy is key.

Neglect of personnel welfare is another key pitfall. Again, this IG has a clean slate to write his story on. The welfare of personnel should be paramount as an efficient workforce is one that is motivated. You can’t motivate one who isn’t being taken care of properly. Another downside of the police is the numerous sharp practices they indulge in including bribery, false arrests, extra- judicial killing and even illegal torture. All these and more should be looked into by the IG.

Dossier

The IG took over as the 20th Indigenious Inspector General of Police from Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, on January 15, 2019 after he was decorated by the President President Muhammadu Buhari. Adamu hails from Lafia, Nasarawa State and is a holder of Bachelor of Science degree in Geography. He enlisted into the force on February 1, 1986 as Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police.

Adamu is a versatile and seasoned police officer, a professional per excellence. He attended several Senior Officer Courses on Law Enforcement, Crime Prevention, Control and Management within and outside Nigeria. Before his appointment as the Acting IG, he was a Directing Staff at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, Plateau State.

He was Commissioner of Police in Ekiti and Enugu States and also Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 5 Police Command Headquarters, Benin, Edo State, as well as a one time director of peacekeeping operations.