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Acting IGP, be a difference maker

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Acting Inspector General of Police IGP Mohammed Adamu

The newly appointed acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu comes to his job with sufficient local experience and international exposure to make all the difference in running a thoroughly professional and ethical policing system – if he chooses to. And from what he has said and done so far, there is every reason for optimism: that Nigerians may have a police force they can trust, respect and cooperate with for the sake of their own and overall national security.

There are more than enough suggestions on how to discharge his duty differently and we should add, more respectably – from his predecessor. The political parties, civil society organisations and concerned citizens have generally advised the IGP to clean up the image of the force, restore both respect and respectability to it, avoid partisanship and adhere to the due process in all its dealings.

Against the backdrop of the unenviable leadership he just replaced, we cannot agree more with these pieces of advice. But there is more to say.

In a sense, Adamu’s work is made easy because, what – but not all, he has to do is go through everything that his predecessor did wrong and do the opposite. He has taken the immediate step to replace the Force Public Relations Officer, (FPPRO) acting DCP Moshood Jimoh who apparently, molded in the image of the outgone IGP, performed his duty with little sensitivity, decorum and respect. His replacement, ACP Frank Mba, has served as Force spokesman  twice at state and national levels and with far less controversy. With his experience on the job, Nigerians should have a glimmer of hope that he will relate with the publics of the Force with more maturity.

Tellingly, to prove that he is a man of a different assessment of issues, IGP Adamu swiftly reversed the replacement of CP Edgal Imohimi of the Lagos State Command by CP Kayode Egbetokun. He has also taken steps to instill sanity into the structure and operations of the already demonised SARS.

Beyond the promise that the new Acting IGP holds, there is a weightier matter in the appointment process that can’t go without query. In the specific case of the appointment of an Inspector General of Police, there is a procedure spelt out in the constitution and in the Police Act and which, disallows such an appointment by the president without input of the Police Council.  Section 215 (1) (a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) provides that “an Inspector-General of Police shall be appointed by the President…on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council…” Under the Third Schedule, Part I, L (27) and (28), the Nigeria Police Council comprises the President as chairman, the governor of each state of the Federation, the chairman of the Police Service Commission and the Inspector-General of Police. Its functions include “the organisation and administration of the Nigeria Police Force and all other matters relating thereto…advising the President on the appointment of the Inspector General of Police.”

Specifically, in the appointment of the immediate past IGP and the new one, there was no report of any consultation with the Police Council. The president should beware of simplicity and arbitrariness as he has sworn to defend the constitution. Provisions of the constitution may sound bizarre to the authorities but they must be adhered to. If a leader begins to have recourse to self-help, anarchy is imminent as the rule of man replaces the rule of law. The implications are grave.

Adamu has, in his inaugural speech to the Force, expressed all the right sentiments and commitments to make the Nigeria Police Force better than he has met it. Virtually all he has said is music to the ears of his appointer and to Nigerians. Broadly, he promises to restore professionalism in line with the guiding rules and principles set out in the constitution, the Police Act and the Vision and Mission of the Force.  His speech reflects largely, an officer well aware of the serious shortcomings of the police in recent times. He sees a desire within the Force for “a transparent, responsive, motivational, accountable and knowledgeable leader,” he remarks on the need to “blend” the quality of personnel potentials…with purposeful and motivational leadership.” Given these requirements, the I-G promises his officers and men to “provide the highest possible level of professional and responsible leadership” with a view to “changing the narratives of policing in the country for the good,” also to give “the requisite leadership” for a police that functions on “intelligence-led, technology-supported and community-driven policing principles.” To Nigerians, which we must say, constitute his primary public, Adamu promises a policing system that will assure their safety, “treat them with civility and hold their rights sacred.”

The general elections starting in a less than three will present a veritable test of Adamu’s expressed intentions, professional capability and personal integrity. It is gratifying that he promises to create “a level playing field for everybody” and “security before, during and after the elections.”

In the discharge of his duty, we strongly urge the IG to, study, imbibe and instill in his officers and men the excellent contents of the NPF Vision Statement, Mission Statement, Values and Code of Conduct and Professional Standards for Police Officers. If these values are taken to heart and consistently observed, there will be hope that all will be well with the Nigeria Police.  

Given his “national and international policing leadership experience” it is quite understandable that Adamu appreciates that an organisation rises or falls on its leadership. Besides, we have a reason therefore to expect the global best practices characterise the behaviour of the Force under his watch. He has said much of the right thing. Most people expect that in a slippery and murky terrain of Nigerian politics, he can and will walk his talk.


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