Echoes of a Reformer: IGP Adamu’s Two Years of Sterling Police Leadership

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By Frank Mba

It was two years on the 15th January, 2021 when IGP Mohammed Abubakar Adamu assumed office as the 20th indigenous Inspector General of Police. Upon appointment, he hit the ground running with a myriad of activities – to, inter alia, stabilize security in the country, tackle prevailing and emerging crimes, address citizens’ concerns on human rights abuses and restore the dwindling primacy of the Nigeria Police Force within the internal security architecture of the Nation. The Force, long under pressure from an avalanche of challenges beyond its own capabilities, found a reformer in IGP Adamu.

The IGP’s vast and robust policing experience, garnered from both within and beyond the shores of Nigeria, primed him for the qualitative and awesome contributions his Administration has thus far made in the journey towards a Police Force, Nigerians can be very proud of. A highly cerebral and perceptive officer, IGP Adamu introduced audacious policies, programs and strategies and with his impeccable leadership style galvanized his management team, strategic officers and the entire workforce towards repositioning the Force on a right and focused path. It is worthy of note that not even the COVID-19 pandemic, the unfavourable economic climate affecting the country and the “ENDSARS protests”, have been able to derail the Force, under his watch, from delivering on its core mandate and improving police – citizen relations across the country.

Shortly after he came on board as the 20th indigenous Inspector General of Police, IGP Adamu promised to provide a level playing field for all political parties and their candidates during the 2019 general elections. To his credit, that promise of a hitch-free and successful policing of the electoral process was kept to the letter and the nation is still grateful for it.

A strong-willed crime fighter, IGP Adamu, on 5th April, 2019, introduced “Operation Puff Adder”, a robust security action plan with a clear mandate to enhance inter-agency collaborations and curb the excesses of criminal elements hell-bent on threatening internal security across the Federation. The successes of the action plan are evident in the arrest and ongoing prosecution of over 31,478 notorious criminal suspects for offences of kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, cultism, banditry and other violent crimes. Also, 5,526 sophisticated and locally fabricated firearms and two (2) rocket launchers were recovered from criminal elements while 159,108 large catchment of live ammunition were recovered. 2,345 kidnapped victims were also safely rescued and reunited with their families and 2,670 stolen vehicles recovered and returned to the real owners.

Under the leadership of IGP Adamu, the National Assembly was successfully galvanized for the landmark passage and assent of the Nigeria Police Force Act, 2020 and subsequently, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Bill by Mr. President. The Nigeria Police Force Act, 2020 provides the framework for the Police Force and ensures cooperation and partnership between the Police and host communities in maintaining peace, combating crime, protecting liberties, life and property; and for related matters. Also, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act will substantially improve the funding regime and address the logistics and operational gaps that have over the years, been hindering the optimal service delivery of the Nigeria Police Force. Other Bills currently being facilitated by IGP Adamu are the Nigeria Police Academy Establishment Bill, Nigeria Police Colleges Bill and the National Institute of Police Studies Bill. These are critical to the enhancement of professionalism and operational capacity of the Force.

As an eloquent advocate of democratic, citizen-centred and community policing, IGP M.A Adamu, on 11th October, 2020, dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they hitherto existed. This was part of the Force reorganization for improved service delivery and respect for the yearnings of the citizens for a Police Force that holds their rights sacred.

In his bid to further entrench community policing standards and strengthen the criminal intelligence capacity of the Force towards bringing policing closer to the people, IGP Adamu successfully got the approval of the President for the upgrade of the Force Intelligence Bureau to a full-fledged Department, headed by a Deputy Inspector General of Police. There was also, further decentralization of the Force Criminal Investigation Department with the establishment of new annex offices in Gombe and Enugu in addition to the existing ones in Lagos and kaduna. Five new zonal commands which increased the zonal commands to seventeen were also created.

Many pundits (home and abroad) have not failed to give kudos to IGP Adamu for the many successes recorded against organized and trans-national crime syndicates, as exemplified in the recent arrest and prosecution of some suspects in a 15-man kidnap gang of Nigerian/Nigerien extraction, led by Barte Dan Alhaji and Dan Buda and the dismantling of many international smuggling syndicates. There is no doubt that IGP Adamu’s international professional exposure and his long-standing inimitable and ennobling records at INTERPOL headquarters where he rose to a full-fledged director and later INTERPOL Vice President, were the fulcrum upon which, for the first time in our history, Nigeria hosted the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) and INTERPOL Week. These, inter alia, have resulted in the strengthening of intelligence-sharing amongst security agencies in the ECOWAS sub-region and beyond and have been largely responsible for the successes in combating armed trafficking, cross-border car theft, cattle rustling, terror financing, amongst others.

The acquisition and deployment of cutting-edge technology to policing functions especially in the areas of intelligence, operations and investigative activities of the Force is one of the areas IGP Adamu must be applauded. The initiative has not only shot the Force into modern policing standards but has placed it ahead of high-profile criminals and enhanced its capacity to prevent, detect, proactively respond to major threats, in addition to undertaking well-coordinated technology guided special operations. All these are in addition to the Incident and Crime Data Centre and the Nigeria Police National Command and Control Centre (NPF-C4i) graciously commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR in December, 2019.

A proud alumnus of the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom, where he obtained a master’s degree in International Criminal Justice System, and the prestigious National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, Plateau State, IGP Adamu believes in leading a well-motivated workforce. In the past two years, IGP Adamu initiated several welfare programs for personnel of the Force, both serving and retired. His administration has among other things succeeded in securing the approval of the Federal Government for the “Police Retirees National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)”. Needless to state that until this approval was secured, all retiring police officers were delisted from the NHIS and left forlornly to address their health needs upon retirement. The IGP also restored the promotion policy that is based on the principle of merit and seniority in the Force. This, has helped to address anxiety and accompanying negative impact on productivity. A total of One Hundred and Twenty-one Thousand and Fifty-one (121,051) personnel of the Force were promoted to their next ranks in the past two years.

A super and educationally savvy cop, IGP Adamu’s commitment to entrenching policing standards, repositioning and reforming the Force for improved service delivery is nonpareil. The establishment of the National Institute for Police Studies in Abuja, the Public Relations School in Nasarawa State and the Institute of Finance and Administration in Otuocha, Anambra State are efforts geared towards improving capacity, promoting professionalism and bridging knowledge gap amongst officers. The recently established Police Radio 99.1FM located at Jabi, FCT, Abuja aside from promoting the image of the Force and providing an alternative narrative, is also aimed at producing Radio programs and news that will engender a new culture of security consciousness and Education amongst citizens.

IGP Adamu has also succeeded in securing Presidential approval for the adoption and implementation of Community Policing Model as internal security strategy of the country. The model is being rigorously pursued to return policing to the grass-roots and foster good working relationship and partnership between the Police and the citizens.

All these, amongst other feats, have indeed shown the clear leadership prowess of IGP Adamu. At last, when the roll is called, there is no doubt that IGP Adamu NPM, mni occupies a pride of place in the Pantheon of Inspectors General of Police whose monumental contributions have steered the Force to the right course in the service of the country. Evidently, these epochal achievements have greatly endeared him not only to the police and other law enforcement community in Nigeria but also his peers in Africa and across the globe.

…Mba is a Commissioner of Police and the Force Public Relations Officer.