The three-year tenure of Ibrahim Kpotun Idris as Police Inspector General ended on Tuesday last week with the appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari of Mohammed Abubakar Adamu as Acting Inspector General. He will act in that capacity pending his confirmation by the Nigeria Police Council. Before his appointment, Adamu was a directing staff at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies [NIPSS], Kuru.
Born in Lafia, Nasarawa State in November 1961, Adamu holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and he enlisted in the police in 1986. He was previously the Assistant Inspector General in charge of Zone 5, comprising Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states with its headquarters in Benin City. He was also a former director of peacekeeping operations at Police Headquarters; former Enugu State Police Commissioner; former Deputy Commissioner of Police Ekiti State and he once served with Interpol. With Adamu’s appointment as IG, all seven Deputy Inspectors General as well as some AIGs who are senior to him might be asked to retire. We urge Adamu and the authorities to minimize the damage that this does to the service and retire only those officers that must go.
Adamu arrives on the hot seat because he is now the country’s top security officer at a time when it is enmeshed in internal security problems. Armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom, cattle rustling and banditry involving the wholesale of massacre of rural dwellers are at their highest level in the history of this country. Other crimes such as vandalization of infrastructure, intercommunal clashes, farmers/herders’ conflict, abduction, rape, 419 and theft are still alive and well and have been joined lately by cyber-crimes.
Despite a lot of help that the police receive from other agencies and in particular the military in the fight against insurgents, secessionists and armed bandits, it still has the primary duty of checking these societal ills. It is now up to Adamu to evolve ever newer and more innovative strategies to tackle these ills. No doubt, the regular busting of criminal gangs, arrest and parading of kidnappers and robbers in recent years had greatly boosted the police’s image but a lot still remains to be done.
His predecessor’s tenure was also marred by controversial handling of many issues and suspected political partisanship. It is instructive that Adamu’s first act in office was to cancel last minute transfers that Idris did, including the ill-advised posting of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s former chief security officer as Lagos State Police Commissioner. Former IGP Idris’ many tangles with Senate President Bukola Saraki and his determination to rope Saraki into the Offa robbery case also smacked of personal vendetta, as was his messy handling of the Dino Melaye affair. Adamu must restore the police’s image by steering away from such needless controversy.
Adamu is also taking over when the presidential elections are less than a month away. Already, there are allegations by opposition politicians that the police could play a partisan role in the polls. Adamu has already pledged that this will not be the case, and he must rise to the occasion by resisting pressure from politicians and also ensuring that his men at various levels do not compromise on their professionalism and integrity.
Then there is the old issue of corruption in the Nigeria Police. While almost all public agencies in Nigeria are afflicted with the corruption cankerworm, that of the police is very visible because they closely interact with the public on highways and in thousands of police stations all over the country. The new IG must find a way to greatly reduce this phenomenon, which severely dents the police’s image. We wish him a very successful tenure in office.