Nigeria: Pres. Buhari Sacks Police Boss, Mohammed Adamu.

By Mohammed Momoh……

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari fired the country’s police boss last week, just two months to the end of his term.

Sacked Inspector General of Police.

The security forces have had challenges in taming secessionists, banditry, kidnapping, armed robberies, terrorism and fraud.

Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu was accused of taking no action as gangs killed  and maimed at will while the country has 380,000 police officers to provide security to more than 200 million people.

The security forces have had challenges in taming secessionists, banditry, kidnapping, armed robberies, terrorism and fraud.

Then there were prison breaks since October 2020 that saw 4,681 dangerous inmates escape. The new Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali Baba, 58 faces baptism with fire. New Inspector General of Police: Usman Alkali Baba

Mr Baba replaces Mr Adamu in the wake of attacks on police command headquarters and a Correctional Centre (prison) in Imo Southeast Nigeria by gunmen.

Property destroyed

In the attack carried out by Eastern Security Network (ESN), a militia arm of separatist group, IPOB, on April 5, 2021, almost 2,684 inmates, including 800 detainees, were released from prisons and property destroyed.

 The outlawed IPOB, had formed a killer group to re-enact the separation of five Eastern states from Nigeria.

The violence being orchestrated by IPOB is one of the series of crimes that recently enveloped all regions of Nigeria. There has also been insurgency by Boko Haram and ISWAP in the northeast which is bordering Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The violence has claimed more than 36,000 lives since 2009.

In protest against police brutality (ENDSARS) last October, two prisons in Benin City in south Nigeria were attacked and 1,957 dangerous inmates were freed.

Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State in Northwest Nigeria has said that his state is home to some 30,000 bandits requiring the attention of the police.

These and more challenges confront Mr Baba, who was decorated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on behalf of 78-year-old President Buhari who is currently on a medical holiday in the UK.

Organised crime

The Nigerian Vice President advised the new police boss to confront the “increasingly, complex and pervasive security threats”, listing “terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, secessionist agitation and sundry organised crimes” as worrying issues.

 “In short, your mission is nothing less than the restoration of dignity and high repute of the policing profession and the continuous oiling of that machinery that enables it to be one that is respected by the public and the international community,” said Mr Osinbajo. Mr Baba promised to face the security challenges facing Nigeria. He promised to restore security order and return the nation to the path of national unity.

“I am inspired by the fact that the Nigeria Police has some of the finest, courageous and patriotic officers who, undoubtedly, shall support me to advance the internal security vision of Mr President,” the new police chief said.

He added: “Definitely, we are going to rejig our operational strategies. I expect improvement in the security situation.”

He, however, urged Nigerians to collaborate and cooperate with them through community policing.

Community policing

“We still require everybody to be part of policing in this country. And that is why the emphasis on community policing will continue,” he said.

He promised to adopt community policing to fight insecurity.

Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, the governor of Osun State in Southwest, has however, challenged the community policing strategy, and instead called on the State to set up their police force.

The 380,000 police officers securing more than 200 million people in 36 states and the Federal Capital territory (FCT), according to Mr Alimi Ajao, ex-commissioner of police, are grossly not enough to impact positively on the current security situation in the six geo-political regions.

Mr Ajao explained that because of the inadequate manpower in the policing system, poor funding and lack of equipment, provision of adequate security will remain a mirage.

The security crisis, he said, is having a toll on all security personnel, including the military.

The military – soldiers, air force and naval personnel- have recently been deployed to play the role of the police in all the states because of the inability of the conventional police to live up to their mandate.

The military has been tackling insurgency in Northeast since 2009 and as well as in South South, monitoring the activities of militants and securing maritime and oil and gas infrastructure. The soldiers are also tackling killer bandits in Northwest and North Central regions.

 Kidnapping for ransom has become rampant in all the regions and the activities of separatists in South East and South West are increasing.

Community feuds

In addition to common crimes, Mr Baba is also facing herdsmen and farmer crisis, violent ethnic rivalry, community feuds, fraudsters, ritual and cult killings, and attacks on schools and abduction of children.

Some retired police officers and security experts have suggested the immediate areas of intervention by the new police leadership to include tackling insurgency, terrorism and attacks on the police.

 Mr Chris Ezike, a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, said Mr Baba should urgently stop the coordinated attacks and assaults against police personnel to restore public confidence and re- energise the police force.

Mr Ibe Agharaya, a retired Commissioner of Police, said the police should ensure it is well equipped for crime prevention and detection.  He called for an increase in well-trained manpower

He deplored a system where there were no high- definition CCTV cameras to assist the police to track crimes and criminals.

Even as the problems pose a big challenge to Mr Baba, a security expert, Mr Folorunsho Attah, described the new police boss as a honest and transparent person who could bring some changes.

Another retired Commissioner of Police, Mr Olayinka Balogun, described the choice of Mr Baba as the acting Inspector General of Police as the best transition in the force.

As the IGP on April 10, 2021 made some changes at the top echelon of the Force, the 19 governors in the North have resolved to provide logistics that would enable the police embark on proactive policing.

 The Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, Mr Simon Lalong, said: “We must work together to adopt new measures that will enable us to overcome these challenges and remain on top of the situation by preventing criminals from carrying out their nefarious activities.”

Mr Lalong said although the states have no control over the police, the system needs the financial and logistical support.

The task facing Mr Baba, he said, is daunting