Monday, June 27, 2016

Will New IGP, Idris, Be Up To Scratch?

By Oguwike Nwachuku

At a brief ceremony at Louis Edet House (otherwise called Force Headquarters) in Abuja on Wednesday, June 22, out-gone Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, handed over to his successor, Ibrahim Kpotum Idris. President Muhammadu Buhari, in exercising his right under Section 215 of the Constitution, named Idris IGP in acting capacity a day earlier, June 21. He becomes the 19th IGP.
*President Buhari and New IGP Idris 
A statement issued by Buhari’s media aide, Femi Adesina, said Idris was born on January 15, 1959; hails from Kutigi, Lavum in Niger State; and enlisted in the police in 1984, after graduating from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria with a Bachelor’s degree in agriculture.
He also holds a degree in law from the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID).
“Idris, who was in charge of Operations at the Force Headquarters before his appointment as acting Inspector General of Police, will act in that capacity pending his confirmation,” Adesina said.
Handing over to him, Arase said Idris “is going to serve in an acting capacity until the Police Council confirms him. I want to seize this opportunity to thank Nigerians for the cooperation given me while I served as Inspector General of Police. By extension, I want to also appeal to you to give the same support that you gave to me to my successor. He is a younger man, so I am sure he will be abreast with contemporary policing issues.”
According to Paragraph (a) of Section 215, “An inspector general of police who, subject to Section 216 (2) of this Constitution shall be appointed by the president on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council from among serving members of the Nigeria Police Force.”
Section 171 of the Constitution empowers the president to appoint the secretary to the government of the federation; head of the civil service of the federation; ambassador, high commissioner or other principal representative of Nigeria abroad (subject to confirmation by the Senate); permanent secretary in any ministry or head of any extra–ministerial department of the government, and any office on the personal staff of the president.
But Section 216 (2) says, “Before making any appointment to the office of the inspector general of police or removing him from office the president shall consult the Nigeria Police Council.”
By the appointment of Idris, Buhari has proved his critics right once more that he is determined to appoint into certain offices those who catch his fancy so long as they are from the Northern part of the country.

I doubt if the Police Council advised Buhari to appoint yet another person from the North as IGP when there are other equally capable hands from other sections of the country. There is nothing wrong with the appointment of Idris.
But there is everything wrong with a political leadership under Buhari which does not care that all appointees into the offices of the IGP, DSS, chief of army staff, NSA, Immigration, Civil Defence, Defence Ministry, Prisons, Customs, minister of interior, chief of air staff, all come from the North.
Under Buhari, the entire security apparatus is in one region, making nonsense of the federal character principle in the Constitution.
Section 171(5) of the Constitution says, “In exercising his powers of appointment under this Section, the president shall have regard to the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity.”
Whether Buhari likes it or not, those who tell him to ignore the Constitution in making appointments are only helping to whittle down his political relevance and fanning the embers of disaffection in the country. Only time will tell when the seed they are sowing will germinate. He must be told that 2019 is yet by the corner.
Idris may be qualified to head the police. But feelers from police headquarters suggest his appointment may be a payback for the “good” job he did for Buhari in Kano where he supervised the election that returned about two million votes for him. There may not be anything wrong in compensating people, but must it be to the detriment of the good and unity of all of us? With Idris’ promotion his bosses and contemporaries may have to leave the police, no matter how professional they are.
Six Deputy Inspectors General of Police (DIGs) – Dan-Azumi Job Doma, Sotonye Wakama, Ibrahim Mamman Tsafe, Kakwa Christopher Katso, Cynthia Amaju Onu, and Jubril Olawale Adeniji – are now bidding time.
Only God will help 10 Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) – Ibrahim Manko; Patrick Dokumor; Balla Nasarawa; Tambari Mohammed; Bala Hassan; Yahaya Ardo; Musa Daura; Baba Adisa Bolanta; Usman Gwary, and Tunde Ogunsakin – to survive the pending purge with the coming of Idris.
Most of these DIGs and AIGs were recently promoted to their ranks.
I have read the maiden speech of Idris to the police officers and men, and compared it with his maiden remarks when Arase introduced him to the media.
“Honestly, by collective leadership, the Nigeria police is going to be governed by internationally recognised core values of policing everywhere in the world, that is, the issue of integrity, issue of compassion, issues of ensuring that our streets, our neighbourhoods, our communities remain safe. We are going to do everything possible to ensure that we provide the best service to this country,” he said in his remarks.
I am not so sure about his independent-mindedness required to police the Nigerian state of today neither am I swayed by his remarks or speech.
For instance, the praises he lavished on Buhari in his opening and closing speeches over his appointment are nauseating and unnecessary and actually speak volumes. They do not convince me that he will take decisions without deferring to his benefactor. I see him forgetting soon the issues he says he wants to deal with as IGP.
This is part of Idris’ opening speech: “I want to show my utmost thanks and appreciation to the president, commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the chairman of the Nigeria Police Council, president Muhammad Buhari, GCON, for having the trust and confidence in me and for appointing me to this exalted position ….
“I wish to call on every citizen of this great country to support and cooperate with the police to make Nigeria safer and more united.
“As we are all aware, the security of our communities is the responsibility of all of us; I seek the support of every citizen to give the Nigeria Police Force maximum cooperation to ensure that this country shall continue to be more united and prosperous. Once again I want to thank Mr president for the confidence and I promise to effectively discharge this onerous responsibility. May Almighty Allah continue to bless this great country and guide the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Going by the back seat the police have taken today – leaving the army to appear more visible in security matters in a democracy across the country – the best that could have happened was the appointment of a police chief who has the strategy to march the soldiers in terms of combat control, crime prevention and investigation in line with traditional and emerging security challenges.
I do not think it is for nothing that Buhari bypassed six DIGs and 10 AIGs to choose Idris. Buhari did not consult the Police Council as the Constitution requires. With Idris’ heart of gratitude, his confirmation in six month’s time is fait accompli. But the police under his watch will still have a long way to go.
*Oguwike Nwachuku is the Editor of TheNiche newspaper

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