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Again, gunmen raze police station after VP, sacked IGP visited Imo

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Buhari appoints Usman Baba Ag. IGP while on medical vacation
• Why President terminated Adamu’s three-month tenure extension
• Shocked ex-IGP charges cops to be ruthless with IPOB
• Buhari making things difficult for Ndigbo, says Ohanaeze

Gunmen have set ablaze another police station in Imo State, including three operational vehicles few hours after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and just sacked Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu, left Owerri, the state capital. This is coming just a day after some gunmen attacked Owerri Correctional Centre and the Imo State Police Command headquarters, freeing 1,884 inmates and razing over 50 vehicles.

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Osinbajo and other Federal Government officials, including the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, had visited the state to inspect the level of damage on the burnt police and prison facilities.

The gunmen burnt Ehime Mbano Local Government Area Divisional Police Headquarters shortly after the dignitaries left.

According to the Vice President’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, the sacked IGP came on his own to the state, while Osinbajo was in Imo on a previous invitation by the governor to commission some projects. He was accompanied on the visit by the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba; Minister of State for Steel and Mines Development, Uchechukwu Ogah; and the Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Senator Babafemi Ojudu.

“After commissioning the project, the Vice President then visited the Correctional facility, and the state police command attacked on Monday. During the visit to the burnt facilities, the Interior Minister joined the VP delegation. The former IGP was leaving town when Osinbajo arrived. They were on absolutely different missions,” Akande said.

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It was gathered that on arrival at the station, the gunmen operated unchallenged for more than 45 minutes and freed all suspects in detention before setting the Police Divisional headquarters ablaze.

A source said: “Gunmen this evening razed Ehime Mbano LGA police divisional headquarters. On arrival, the gunmen freed the suspects before wreaking havoc.”

Imo State police spokesperson, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the attack to The Guardian. He said: “There is no casualty on the part of the police and no loss of arm though three vehicles were burnt.” A senior police officer, who pleaded for anonymity, said the command’s hierarchy was saddened by the latest development.
IT was a sort of melodrama yesterday as President Muhammadu Buhari announced the appointment of a Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Usman Alkali Baba, as acting Inspector General of Police. Baba takes over from Mohammed Adamu who, until now, was serving a tenure extension and still had a month left in office.

Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi who made the disclosure at the Presidential Villa, while briefing newsmen said the decision is with immediate effect.

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Dingyadi said the three-month tenure extension granted to Adamu was terminated following the completion of selection process for a new IGP. Buhari had on February 4 extended the tenure of Adamu as the IGP for three months. Adamu, however, spent two months and three days of the extended period.

Reacting to why the president did not allow the outgoing IGP to last the three months of his extension, the minister said: “The president is aware of this and you cannot take away that responsibility from him; he is the one who is in charge of appointing or extending tenures. He has now decided to appoint a new person. So, please, allow him that responsibility and we cannot do anything about it,” he said.

“The president has, therefore, charged the new appointee to rise to the challenge to ensure policing reform policy of this administration are fully prioritised and implemented to enable the police to perform most effectively for the peace and security of lives and property of all Nigerians,” he said.

Just at the time, the presidency was announcing a change of guards in the police hierarchy, the former IGP was inspecting the scene of Monday’s attack in Imo. After inspecting the damage caused by the attack, the ex-IGP ordered police officers to use maximum force against IPOB.

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“Those that were released by the attackers, I have been told, some of them belong to the IPOB group; the proscribed IPOB group. We are sending this message to them that there will be no hiding place. They will be re-arrested and many more of the criminals within that group will be arrested.

“Whether in their homes and forest, we are determined to fish them out. I have instructed my men to use maximum force with the guns available to us. We have the authority to defend the country, which they don’t have. We will not allow these criminals to succeed.”

That was the last order he gave as the number one police officer in the country as he was replaced moments later.

Adamu, who was received by the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, on arrival and subsequently accompanied him to the destroyed facilities, showed signs of demoralization over his sack. He strongly ordered the officers to use their weapons to crush the outlawed group, urging them not to allow the separatist group to discourage and demoralise them.

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THE new police helmsman, Acting IGP Baba, is a double alumnus of Police Staff College, Jos and Fellow of the prestigious Defence College. He holds a Masters in Public Administration and a Bachelor in Education and Political Science from the University of Maiduguri and Bayero University, Kano respectively.

The new police boss was the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 5, Benin; Zone 4, Makurdi; Zone 7, Abuja; Commissioner of Police FCT and Delta commands amongst others. Until his posting as the DIG in charge of Finance and Administration in November 2020, he was Force Secretary at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.

He has elevated Commissioner of Police on January 27, 2014, and later Assistant Inspector-General of Police on July 12, 2016. Baba, born March 1, 1963, hails from Geidam Local Government Area of Yobe State and enlisted into the Police Force on March 15, 1988. He is due for retirement on March 1, 2023.

A security expert and publisher of Security Express magazine, Frank Oshanugor said the appointment of another Northerner as the new IGP was not in good taste.

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According to him, “this confirms once again, the age-long belief that the president has come to pursue a sectional agenda. Why must the North hold the IGP position consecutively for three or four times as if other sections do not have qualified officers to occupy the position?”

Also, apex Igbo Socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday accused President Buhari of making things difficult for Ndigbo through his skewed appointments. Reacting to the appointment of new Inspector General of Police (IGP), a development that has put paid to aspirations of an Igbo person being appointed into the security architecture for the first time since Buhari assumed office, Ohanaeze stated that it was surprised that the president had continued to promote tendencies that could energize agitations.

Ohanaeze said it recalled last month while congratulating the President on the appointment of new service chiefs, reminded him of the need to appoint an Igbo man into the security architecture, stressing that it was the only zone in the country that had no representation in the area.

Ohanaeze’s National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, while lamenting the continued disregard of the zone in the scheme of things, stated that it was a great injustice on the people of the southeast.

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He said: “What we are saying is that injustice is injustice and this kind of injustice promotes all forms of agitations and it is making it difficult for the elders to placate the younger ones. Buhari is making things difficult for us in Igboland. This kind of decision promotes injustice and agitation. For peace in a country, there must be fairness, there must equity and this is what Buhari has failed to promote. It is painful.”

He stated that Ohanaeze would come up with a position on Monday’s attack at security facilities in Owerri, for which the outgoing IGP had heaped blames on the IPOB.

Speaking also, the Board Chairman of World Igbo Peoples Assembly (WIPAS), Mazi Chuks Ibegbu, noted that the appointment, which came even with the strident calls for the inclusion of Igbo in the scheme of things, was an indication that Buhari was not a father of the entire country.

Expressing shock about the news of the appointment, he said: “We are shocked that considering what we are passing through in the country today, the lamentations of the Igbo about their complete marginalization in the scheme of things, and the level of disquiet in the country, the behaviour of the president has continued.

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“It is very shocking that he has continued to be the president of one section of the country. He has continued not to feel the sensibilities of all the components parts of the country, especially the Igbo component, which is the third leg of the tripod. It is very shocking that in the history of this country, a leader can be so insensitive to feelings and aspirations of one major part of the country. It has never happened in the history of this country. When Obasanjo was president of this country, he tried to be the father of all, when Jonathan was president; he tried to be the father of the nation, even late Yar’Adua who was from Buhari’s place.”

On the slamming of the IPOB as responsible for the attacks in Owerri, he stated that it was regrettable that the same IGP who had not made any statement since innocent persons were massacred in Enugu and Ebonyi states could quickly blame IPOB for the Owerri incident.

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Chekwas Okorie, while cautioning on the need to avoid hasty conclusions in the matter, urged the new IGP to with evidence convince the world that IPOB was culpable, especially with the denial that the group was not involved in it.

He called on President Buhari to listen to the voice of reason and include the Igbo in the security council of Nigeria, stressing that it had become glaring that the southeast was seriously being marginalized in his administration, especially in the area of appointment of service chiefs.

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