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Next IGP should focus on intelligence, boost numbers, say experts

By Odita Sunday
02 February 2021   |   3:05 am
Intensive lobbying and pressure have been mounted on the presidency over who becomes the next Inspector General of Police (IGP). This is the following expectation that the current police boss

IGP Adamu

Intensive lobbying and pressure have been mounted on the presidency over who becomes the next Inspector General of Police (IGP). This is the following expectation that the current police boss, Mr. Mohammed Adamu’s tenure would elapse any time soon.

After the tenure of IGP Solomon Arase, the post has consistently gone to officers from the north. The IGP before Adamu was Ibrahim Idris, from Niger State; he was police boss for over three years. He handed over to Adamu, from Nassarawa State, whose tenure ends soon.

Pundits believe that Adamu lost grip of the internal security, which is his sole responsibility, and handed it over to the military.

According to a former Department of State Services chief, Mr. Dennis Amachree; “When Solomon Arase was retired as the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police at the end of Goodluck Jonathan presidency, and replaced by Mohammed Adamu, a lot of people were disappointed at the politicisation of the position.

“The position is supposed to be tenured and the incumbent allowed to continue, especially since Arase was doing a very good job and taking the police to new heights. That consideration was not taken and Arase, apparently one of the best IGPs that the Nigeria Police has had, was let go. He left but left a mightily unimaginable shoe for the incoming IGP.

“After more than two years of occupying that office, nothing readily comes to mind what IGP Adamu has achieved in the form of a legacy. It could actually be said that during his stewardship, he lost grip of internal security, which is his sole responsibility, and gave it up to the military.

“No single reform was made in the Nigeria Police Force and it could be said that under his lack of leadership, the FSARS went berserk, which led to the unprecedented #ENDSARS protests leading to the burning down of police stations and the deaths of policemen.”

Amachree added that the choice of IGP is the prerogative of the president, saying: “It is the prerogative of the Commander-in-Chief to appoint service chiefs. Where a service chief comes from is irrelevant, as long as the chief is effective. The nation has got IGPs from the north that was very effective. It is also a common practice, where there are no well-grounded national institutions, for presidents to appoint service chiefs that they can trust. In such a situation, the president will maintain his prerogative in appointing who he can trust.”

However, the police force is overdue for restructuring, Amachree argued, saying the current policing system does not meet the urgent security needs of the country. Nigeria, he said, had a population of 45 million at independence, adding that the police structure the country inherited at independence, to say the least, was outdated and in no way equipped to police a population of more than 200 million citizens.

“Also, modern policing is mainly intelligence and technology-driven,” he said. “Firstly, the present structure should be balkanized to create independent, apolitical police organisations. Independent from any political influence, where the policemen will be engaged in preventing and prosecuting crimes only. Protection of very important and high net worth individuals should be done by private security companies. The police should not be involved in any political issue and be controlled only by the tenets of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“There should be State Police to enforce state laws, Local Government Police (Sheriffs) to enforce local government edicts and even estate and university police to enforce estate and university rules and regulations. This is the best way to make the police more effective.”

Amachree said whoever emerges the new IGP should quickly divorce himself from partisan politics, and get immediate approval to triple the number of policemen in the country.

A police force that is under 400,000 personnel cannot effectively police a country of over 200 million citizens, he argued, saying the country should invest heavily in technology and hire a strong team of criminal intelligence analysts. He also canvassed that the morale of policemen should be boosted by looking at their working conditions, training facilities, working equipment, benefits and life insurance.

However, Crime Editor and publisher of Chief Detective magazine, Mr. Dipo Kehinde, disagreed with Amachree, saying the outgoing IGP would be remembered for his onslaught against kidnapping and cattle rustling.

According to him; “Those who are following the trend in security challenges and police response nationwide will remember IGP Mohammed Adamu for doing much in the war against kidnappings and cattle rustling.

“But, he didn’t fulfil his promise of equipping the police with tasers to reduce shootings and killings by law enforcement agents, while making arrests in unsafe situations.”

Kehinde also said the office is a political appointment and that it depends on what the president wants. Under President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Southwest had a succession of IGPs from the region, namely – Musiliu Smith, Tafa Balogun, and Sunday Ehindero, he said.

“We don’t have the right policing system in the country yet,” Kehinde submitted. “As we are today, an old woman sitting by her window can’t pick her phone and call the police if she notices something suspicious on her street. The system we have here in Nigeria is that the police will stay put at the station and expect you to come over and make a report physically. In some cases, a crime victim will report at the police station and he will be asked to pay money for police to commence an investigation. That’s a double tragedy. In nations with the efficient policing system, even a kid can make a distress call and the police will be there in a jiffy.”

He said the incoming IGP should vigorously pursue the ongoing community policing agenda and seek the cooperation of nations like the U.K., the U.S. and Germany to assist in making the police system work.

“Today, we are easily tracking criminals. It is because of the equipment and training that our police authorities received from the U.K. A new IGP must work to create a system where citizens can safely and conveniently report crimes and receive instant responses. That would build confidence in the citizenry and a groundswell of support for the police.”

Also, Managing Director of Strict Guard Security, Dr. Bone Chinye Efoziem, said a new IGP should improve on police intelligence capacity to make the institution proactive to issues of insecurity.

On clamour for a southern IGP, he said: “For equity sake, a southerner should be considered for the office of IGP. Also considering the religious bias in the nature of insecurity in the nation, a Christian southerner devoid of tribal and religious bias should get the office. And the IGP should first launder the image of the police through interactions and repositioning.

“Also, human capital development through aggressive training and retraining of person should be his focal point.”

One major area of failure recorded against the outgoing IGP is the alleged influx of foreign herders into the country through the borders with their cattle, a fact even President Buhari acknowledged. Whether local or foreign, these herders, wielding AK-47, have kept the tempo of insecurity high down south, where they have occupied many forests and made life difficult for the local populations, who cannot access their farmlands for fear of these killer herders. While it is against the law to carry firearms in the country, these herders, mostly Fulani, have gone unchallenged, sometimes with soldiers escorting them to graze farmlands, as recently reported in Ogun State. Sadly, no arrest of these criminal herders was recorded under IGP Adamu.