IGP Idris: A Proven Cat With Nine Lives

IGP Idris: A Proven Cat With Nine Lives
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The controversies that have rocked the Ibrahim Kpotum Idris-led Nigeria Police dates back to exactly seven days after he was appointed the Inspector General of Police, IGP, by President Muhammadu Buhari. Events since then cannot be described as anything less than bizarre and unprecedented going by the quantum of wrongdoings under the watch of the Niger State-born policeman.

The question on the lips of many Nigerians is simply: ‘can IGP Idris ever be touched by President Buhari’s administration?’

By Chidozie Ogbonnaya

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The Police chief’s appointment from the word “GO” devastated not only his superiors in the Nigeria Police Force but also the public as no fewer than twenty-one Assistant Inspector Generals, AIGs had to pave way for his enthronement after President Buhari picked him out of the blues.

IGP Idris wasted no time in colouring his predecessor Solomon Arase a thief in about 7 days of resumption when he said Arase and other retired senior officers, Deputy Inspector Generals, and Assistant Inspector Generals removed scores of official vehicles without authorization during a press conference.

“Idris’s attack on Arase was all but the beginning of a tenure full of controversy garnished with lawlessness, arrogance and coated with impunity,” a political commentator told Aljazirah Nigeria.

From March 21st, 2016, when IGP Idris was appointed till now, it is on record that the Police has continued to be involved in questionable cases that always put them in a precarious position which makes Nigerians see the Police as an appendage of the federal government and partisan in the discharge of duties.

Several citizens on different occasions faulted the actions and inactions of IGP Idris-led Nigeria Police and at most times questioned why Mr. President has not fired him from the position. Prominent Nigerians like the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Chairman of PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark, Senator Dino Melaye, Civil Society Organisations and many more have all called for the sack of IGP Idris at different fora.

After President Buhari ordered the IGP not to invite the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, governorship aspirant, Ademola Adeleke to Abuja for questioning over alleged certificate forgery last week, AljazirahNigeria looks at some incidents that have shone the bad light on the Ibrahim Idris-led Police.

 

IGP Idris Disobeyed President Buhari When Ordered To Relocate To Benue Amidst Killings

Nigerians were shocked to their bone marrow as President Buhari publicly said that the IGP disobeyed his directives to stay in Benue until the bloodletting between farmers and herdsmen was resolved.

It will be recalled that in the wake of a public outcry that greeted the murder of over 70 persons by suspected herdsmen, the IGP was instructed to relocate to the state until the carnage was contained. However, the police chief reportedly spent less than 24 hours in the state before leaving. The act which was greeted with condemnation by Nigerians saw the presidency fail to reprimand him.

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To add insult to injury, rather than do their due diligence, the IGP and his men got into a verbal squabble with Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom. The police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood’s, description of the governor of Benue state as a drowning man at such a sensitive time did not portray the Idris-led police in good light and attracted more public outcry.

 

Siege at Benue State House of Assembly

On Friday, 27 July 2018, the Nigerian police barred the 22 lawmakers who impeached Mr. Terkimbi Ikyange as Speaker of the Assembly from gaining access to the legislative chamber for plenary.

Police was reported to be present as early as 8 am, with their vehicles blocking the main entrance of the state House of Assembly.

The lawmakers then attempted to enter the chamber through another gate behind the assembly complex, but they met another police blockade there. Their action led to a heated exchange of words with a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tajudeen Bakare, who led the operation.

The unauthorized siege was condemned by Benue citizens and the general public before it was lifted yet not even one officer of the force was sanctioned by the IGP or the Presidency.

However, what worried lots of Nigerians was the fact that the blockade of Benue lawmakers happened almost at the same period the former Department of State Service, DSS, boss, Lawal Daura was fired by the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo for overseeing siege at the National Assembly.

 

Senate vs IGP Idris

On three separate occasions, IGP Idris failed to appear before the Senate to clear the air on certain controversies pertaining to his office as the nation’s number one cop. The snub of the highest legislative chamber of the country also divided Nigerians in their opinions with some labeling Idris as arrogant and disrespectful while some people saw nothing wrong.

His invitation to the red chamber which was at first prompted by the controversy between the IGP Idris and Senator Isa Misau, having been accused of collecting N120 billion bribes from VIPs for providing them with police escorts. The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, set up a committee to probe this allegation.

Idris was invited to testify, but he went to court to challenge the power of the Senate to invite him. Justice Abba Bello Muhammad of the FCT High Court, Abuja, who entertained the case, ruled that Idris’ suit lacked merit as Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) empowered the National Assembly to carry out investigations in the public interest and summon anyone who in its view could assist it in doing so.

On 9th of November 2017, Idris finally appeared before the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee headed by Senator Francis Alimikhena. The second episode came up in the wake of the ongoing serious security challenges facing the country and the Senate in particular.

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The police also watched as a group of eight thugs suspected to be hirelings of suspended Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, stormed the plenary of the Senate, wreaked havoc, abducted the Mace and went scot-free. Up till this time, no arrest had been made by the IG’s Special Monitoring Squad set up by IGP Idris.

 

Offa Robbery Inquest

This issue divided Nigerians along many lines, but politics couldn’t be completely expunged from the reason why the No. 3 citizen will be drawn into the bloody bank robbery case in his home state. The back and forth by Dr. Bukola Saraki, Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed and the Police seem to have died a natural death.

The Senate President at the heat of the inquest described the police action as an afterthought designed to achieve a political purpose. Saraki at the time said that the turn around to invite him was a ploy to score cheap political points.

“I have been reliably informed that the police invitation was planned by the Inspector-General to stop the alleged plan by some Senators and House of Representatives members from defecting from the All Progressives Congress, APC.

“It was also said that if I was detained between Tuesday and Wednesday, that will abort the so-called defection plan. While I continue to maintain that the issue of my position on the 2019 elections is not a personal decision for me alone to make, it should be noted that all these concoctions and evil plot cannot deter me.

“Those behind this fresh assault will fail as I have nothing to do with the robbery incident or any criminal matter for that matter. I am aware that following a request made by the Police on June 13, 2018, to the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, he had written a legal advice dated June 22, 2018.

“In the advice, he stated that for the Senate President and the Kwara State Governor, this office is unable to establish from the evidence in the interim report a nexus between the alleged office and the suspects”.

“The Police have obviously corrupted and politicized their investigations into the Offa robbery incident”, Saraki lamented.

 

Clamp Down of Journalist

After public outcry, criticisms, and protests at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, the police released detained Samuel Ogundipe of Premium Times.

Ogundipe was arrested on Aug.14 by the police for the alleged publication of the Inspector-General of Police report on the siege of the National Assembly by the Department of State Service.

The Police had said that Ogundipe was also being investigated and prosecuted under other offences which violated the Official Secret Act, Cyber Crime Act, and the Penal Code Law for which he had volunteered statements.

But many commentators said the Police should look inwards and unravel the mole in their midst rather than hunt journalist who went out of his way to inform public.

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The police spokesman also had to deny the allegation of asking Ogundipe to implicate Saraki before he could be released.

 

Selective Prosecution of Crime

Just last week, Nigerians were surprised on how the IGP Idris-led Police swiftly invited Sen. Ademola Adeleke, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Osun governorship candidate in the just concluded poll on alleged exam malpractice few days to the election before President Buhari halted the action.

Adeleke who was earlier cleared by West African Examination Council, WAEC, saying that the man who is popularly called “Dancing Senator” sat for the May/June examination of the council in 1981.

However, the unanswered questions on the lips of many remain the following:

Was IGP Idris unaware of the travails of the senior special assistant to the president on prosecution, Okoi Obono Obla who is alleged to be in possession of an “invalid” O’level result, according to findings by the House of Representatives ad hoc panel investigating the special presidential investigative panel for the recovery of public property, SPIP?

Where was the IGP Idris when former Minister of Finance left the country immediately after resigning her position having confessed to having been parading forged NYSC certificate?

Some may say the minister did well by resigning but as a matter of fact ignorance of the law is certainly not an excuse.

Nigerians are also watching closely and waiting for the Police to swing into action with regards to the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu’s failure to participate in the mandatory NYSC scheme despite graduating from Obafemi Awolowo University at age 25.

Going by the antecedents, controversies, and embarrassment caused by the Ibrahim Idris-led police, it takes only a cat with nine lives to survive the criticisms that have trailed some of his (Idris) operations and that of his men and still be part of an administration that abhors corruption.

In some other climes the number one cop would have been long relieved of his duties by now, a public commentator and CEO of Acumen Empire, George Otene David said. “The I-G has the tendency of always embarrassing the police force and Buhari, his employer but the ties between him and Buhari is so strong that his sins are never taken into account.”

Some believed that IGP Idris, having supervised the security apparatus for the controversial Kano presidential election of 2015 as commissioner of police, where President Muhammadu Buhari got nearly two million votes, has a very special place in the heart of the President much more as his re-election bid nears. Politicians fret over the IGP’s unalloyed loyalty to the APC-led administration.

Aljazirahnews


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