Adamu remains in office pending presidential directive
President won’t appoint service chiefs based on ethnicity, says presidency
By Ejiofor Alike, Funmi Ogundare in Lagos and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to take a decision on who will be the next Inspector-General of Police (IG) any time from today when he returns from his trip to his hometown, Daura, Katsina State, it was learnt yesterday.
A top presidency official confided in THISDAY that the incumbent, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, who was billed to retire yesterday after 35 years of service, would have to continue in office pending when a new appointment is made to fill the position.
This came as the presidency also yesterday launched a pushback over agitation for the appointment of service chiefs along ethnic lines.
It said the president’s decision in picking a candidate to fill any post in any of the security agencies will be informed by the ability of the appointees to secure lives and property and not their ethnicity.
It also dismissed claims of a plan by the Buhari administration to clamp down on the media or tamper with the freedom of the press.
In addition, the presidency debunked the allegation that Buhari violated COVID-19 protocols in Daura, Katsina State, over the weekend when during the revalidation of his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he appeared in public and mingled with the crowd without wearing a face mask.
Giving THISDAY an insight into why Adamu would have to continue in office despite being due for retirement, the source said the outgoing IG couldn’t have handed over to an interim successor without the approval of the person who appointed him.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who also spoke on finding a successor to Adamu, said while he appeared on a national television yesterday that the president will make a decision on the matter when he returns to Abuja from Daura.
The president had arrived in Daura on Friday at the start of a four-day official visit during which he renewed his membership of APC.
He’s expected in Abuja today.
Shehu said: “I haven’t spoken with the president, but if I read his mind correctly, the president would rather have an Inspector-General of Police who would make you and I safer, who would protect lives and property than one who is more pronounced by his tribal marks.”
He stated that the president would decide on the leadership of the police after his return to Abuja.
Uncertainties Persist as IG Maintains Normal Schedule
THISDAY checks yesterday, however, showed that there was no sign that Adamu was retiring, triggering uncertainties that pervaded the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
It was learnt that Adamu reported for duty, about 8 am yesterday and closed by 4 pm.
There was, however, an atmosphere of uncertainties around the Force Headquarters as contrary to expectations of the rank and file, the IG, who was expected to hand over to the next most senior Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), did not do so.
Sources said the IG did not direct any of his subordinates to prepare handover notes.
“He was in the office by 8 am and closed by 4 pm,” a source told THISDAY.
There are also strong indications that the IG may be awaiting the arrival of the president today.
A source said the president is expected to clear the air on the matter.
“The president is expected in Abuja tomorrow (today) and he will resolve the issue,” a source familiar with the matter said.
It was further gathered that being his last day in office, Adamu was expected to be in the office to work for the last time.
“Under normal circumstances, today (yesterday) is his last day in office. The handover you expect should be done today.
“On handover, the practice is that he would have directed departments to prepare handover notes since last week but he did not do so,” another source said.
THISDAY also learnt that the support the IG enjoyed amongst northern power blocs had waned as they are now focused on their choice candidate.
“Even the support he enjoyed from the North is no longer strong. You know, they (North) are pushing for their candidate,” a senior government official, who preferred anonymity, said.
President Won’t Appoint Service Chiefs Based on Ethnicity, Says Presidency
Also yesterday, the presidency dismissed agitation for the appointment of service chiefs and other heads of security agencies based on their ethnicity.
Reacting to calls by interest groups for the appointment of an IG of South-eastern extraction, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Shehu, stated on a live television programme that Buhari would rather have an IG who would protect lives and property than one who is more pronounced by his tribal marks.
He said the president was fair in his recent appointment of service chiefs by making two appointments each from the South and the North.
He said: “The language that is being used is that there should be an Igbo service chief and this is a country with more than 250 ethnic groups. If you are going to appoint a service chief from every ethnic group in this country, you are going to have more than 250 Inspectors-General of Police, 250 Chiefs of Army Staff, and 250 Chiefs of Naval Staff. Things are not going to work like that.
“If we said that we are going to use ethnicity or religion as the basis, then, we have lost it. This is about law and order and not about ethnic identity.
“Look at what happened with the service chiefs appointed now – two from the South, two from the North – if you are talking about religion, two Muslims, two Christians.”
Shehu also faulted the allegation that Buhari violated COVID-19 protocols in Daura, over the weekend.
Buhari was seen in photos discussing with some APC governors at the revalidation of his APC membership in Daura on Saturday without wearing a mask or maintaining social distance as stipulated by the Coronavirus Disease Health Protection Regulations (2021) he signed last week.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other groups had accused the president of violating the regulations.
But Shehu said Buhari wore a face mask earlier in the day but only removed it when he wanted to address his party members.
“People are missing the point. The president had his face mask on through that engagement. He had it off when he was speaking into the microphone. It is just a childish antics by PDP,” he said.
Also speaking yesterday on ARISE NEWS Channels, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, another presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said there is no plan by the Buhari administration to clamp down on the media or tamper with the freedom of the press.
Adesina, while answering questions on the alleged orchestrated smear campaign against Buhari by some online newspapers and blogs, said the administration is not one that clamps down on the media.
“This government will never tamper with the freedom of the press. If any columnist is alleging that, it is within their right to allege that,” he stated.
According to him, there is concrete evidence of a conspiracy against the Buhari administration, stressing that when the presidency was notified, it raised the alarm and warned the public so that they would not be hoodwinked into believing a falsehood.
“When we raised the first alarm, they retreated, but as at last week, they were about launching and we had the evidence that it was going to be done up to the point of those they had interviewed, what they had said and the documents they wanted to unleash. We just had to warn the reading public lest they be hoodwinked to believing falsehood. Government has the capacity to ferret out all these things. So when you speak about certain things, it is because you already have evidence,” he said.
Adesina added that Nigeria’s war against insurgency is under-reported by the media.
He cited an example of how an ambush laid by the military for insurgents was reported as an attack on the military without mention of what the insurgents suffered.
He said: “Two weeks ago, there was an attempt to seize military formation in Marte, Borno State. If you seek to know what happened in Marte, you will give kudos to our military.
“They allowed the insurgents to come in and the insurgents just suddenly found themselves in an ambush and they decimated them completely; took out all their gun trucks, about six or seven gun trucks. Do you know that that thing did not gain traction in the media?
“Those that reported it said the insurgents attacked the military formation; they didn’t say what the military did to them. That’s a practical example of under-reporting what happens even in the anti-insurgency war.
“You find out that when the insurgents seem to have made gains, it’s played up, but when our military fights back and gains ground, people don’t seem to hear about it. It is not reported even online they don’t celebrate it.”
Speaking on the farmers/herders crisis in the South-west and various intervention schemes by the government, Adesina said the herders’ crisis is older than many of those speaking on it.
“It has always been there. The degree may have escalated than it was in the past. So we don’t need to carry on as if it is a new development that came with this administration. Government is working to resolve it. What happened in the South-west recently is something that will lead to a resolution. There was a meeting of minds, governors met with stakeholders from different sides of the divide. After that meeting, the tension went down considerably and that is the kind of thing that will ultimately lead to a solution,” he stated.
Adesina also highlighted some of the achievements of the Buhari administration, saying that not much has been said about the positive sides.
Reacting to the perception that the federal government has been appointing people into offices based on ethnic and religious background, he said: “Perception is not reality. A lot of people believed that it is a larger percentage of reality but it is not reality. They believe that most Inspectors-General of Police have come from a certain part of the country in the past 20 years, but somebody put the right information out last week. In the past 20 years, we have had 11 Inspectors General (IG) of Police; six of them have come from the South and five from the North. But you will hear people saying that five are coming from the North. If we have 11 IGs in 20 years and six came from the south and five from the North, is that a perpetuation?”