Last week, there were reports that President Muhammadu Buhari might have approved a six-month tenure extension for Mr. Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
According to the reports, President Buhari was said to have agreed in principle to grant the IGP additional six months in office to enable him to coordinate and supervise the forthcoming general elections in the country.
Officially, Idris is due to retire from the Nigeria Police Force on January 3, 2019, having put in the mandatory 35 years in service. But, he was said to have lobbied some senior Presidency functionaries, who, in turn, got Buhari to extend the IG’s tenure.
A government source, who confirmed the development in Abuja, explained that the IG might get the official confirmation of the tenure extension “any moment from now.”
He said: “It is a done deal; the IG’s tenure has already been extended because the Presidency has confidence in him. He would get the official confirmation any moment from now; that is if he hasn’t received it already.
“Extending the IG’s tenure is not unexpected. The other service chiefs had their tenure extended by a year. So, giving Idris the same privilege is nothing out of the ordinary.”
Don’t Extend IGP’s Tenure, PDP Tells Buhari
As soon as the information went viral, the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), reacted, kicking against the alleged six months tenure extension granted Idris.
Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary, said his party did not trust the Inspector-General because the police had been biased towards the opposition under his tenure.
He said the police boss, expected to retire in January, deserved a blissful retirement after January.
Ologbondiyan said the police had taken sides in some partisan issues instead of neutrality and capacity for fairness.
According to him, “We know that the tenure of the IGP expires in January, next year. We don’t want the government to extend his tenure. We want neutrality during the election.”
He said the police deserve a new IGP, who would be politically neutral, instead of dancing to the tune of the Federal Government.
Also, the opposition political parties under the aegis of the Coalition of United Political Parties, on its own, threatened to sue President Buhari to court over the planned tenure extension.
The CUPP claimed that the planned tenure extension would only afford the police boss the opportunity to do the President’s bidding and work for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the general elections.
The coalition therefore resolved to resist the move, claiming that the nation’s constitution did not make any provision for tenure extension.
Imo Ugochinyere, CUPP’s First National Publicity Secretary, said the opposition parties were shifting their attention to the leadership of the force following Buhari’s decision not to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill and the inability of federal lawmakers to override his veto.
He said: “We are insisting that the Inspector-General of Police, whose tenure is expiring in January, must leave the office.
“So, we are demanding that the President should not extend his tenure because there is no such provision in the constitution. A former police officer cannot be an Inspector-General of Police. We will be filing an action in court to ensure that he leaves office in January.”
Others Also Say ‘No’
The Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC) also kicked against the alleged tenure elongation, stressing that Idris had so far “demonstrated lack of capacity and inability to effectively police Nigeria as the IG.”
Dare Atoye, CDNDC Coordinator, argued that wanton killings and criminality had increased under Idris leadership of the police, adding that there were more competent officers in the Force that could do the job better.
He said: “The only good thing that can happen to the Nigeria police is for the government of President Buhari to look for a competent replacement; somebody who has the discipline and the character to lead the force. I believe many Nigerians would agree with me that the wanton killings in the country and the lack of training without equipment have been aggravated under his leadership.”
Speaking on the alleged reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by Idris, the activist observed that no reform had taken place, stressing that the impunity being carried out by the squad was merely suppressed.
He cited the arrest and arraignment of an Abuja-based activist, Deji Adeyanju, by the police for homicide, a charge for which he was discharged and acquitted by a Kano High Court in 2009.
Ikechukwu Maduike, Secretary-General, Basic Rights Enlightenment Foundation, also kicked against the government’s decision, stressing that “the police had become worse under the IG.”
Maduike, a lawyer, said, “We need someone who has new ideas so we can see something new in the force. I don’t think this IG has what it takes to transform the police force.”
Idris Performed Well, Deserves Tenure Extension – CCSJ Boss, Obi
Prince Goodluck Obi, Convener of the Centre for Civil Society and Justice (CCSJ), on his own, commended President Buhari over the planned tenure extension of Mr. Idris for another six months.
Obi, who reacted to the news of Idris’ extension of service, maintained that by available records, the IGP deserves the privilege, adding that Buhari’s action should be commended by all right thinking citizens.
The CCSJ boss stated that Idris, during his tenure so far, had garnered a lot of achievements, stressing that he had contributed a lot to the success of the current administration with the several innovations he brought into crime fighting and policing in the country.
Obi stated that the IGP had been able to oversee more than 1,300 police stations, 370,800 men and women, 36 state commands, 12 zones and seven administrative organs of the Nigeria Police Force with effortless excellence.
He said that Idris was selected from among the eligible senior police officers because of his credibility, stressing that he was the only one who passed the integrity test secretly conducted by the Presidency and had completely repositioned the Force to be among the most efficient in nation’s recent history.
Obi stressed that Idris had also improved the lot of policemen through regular trainings, came out with several policies to ensure safety of Nigerians at all times, even as several high profile criminals had been arrested and brought to book during his tenure.
He maintained that the next six months would be very critical in the life of Nigerians as the elections draw nearer, stressing that the Federal Government needed a trusted hand like Idris, who had achieved everything that needed to be achieved in his career, to head the police force between now till the hand over in May 29 next year.
He urged Idris to justify the trust of President Buhari in him by ensuring that he remained impartial, especially in handling issued relating to the on-going political campaigns by political parties and the elections proper.
Obi stressed that the CCSJ is a coalition of over 150 civil society organisations (CSOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations spread across the six geo-political zones of the country.
Idris Should Not Stay In Office beyond January – Lawyer
Barrister Moses Segba, a Warri-based Legal Practitioner, stated: “Every lover of democracy has genuine reason to be worried. Idris does not deserve to be in office beyond January. He will do the country no good during the 2019 general polls.
“His infamous role in crudely policing Kano State as Police Commissioner to donate two million votes to APC in 2015 is fresh in our memories. The IGP cannot guarantee free and fair polls. He has a lot going against him and a man with professional, moral and ideological deficit account like Idris would go any length to please his paymasters. Many see this IGP as a threat to democracy.
“The mysterious death of the INEC Commissioner from Kano State and many other shoddy deeds within the police are enough to stimulate worries among Nigerians. The allegations that he would be used to perpetuate fraud in the election are real. He allegedly did it before in 2015. That is the only reason APC still boasts of capable of winning in 2019 after the monumental failure in all indices of good governance.
“In saner climes, APC candidates should be stoned on the streets for failing on all counts. APC has been tried and found wanting. The party has been put in the scale, tried and found guilty of all the charges of maladministration, corruption and deceit, perpetration of hunger and frustration, lying themselves to power only to fail to deliver, accelerated insecurity records with Boko Haram and herdsmen ravaging the country with unabating fury, retention of certified thieves in the current administration, a cabal holding the nation by the jugular and many other incontrovertible evidences of irresponsible management of the economy.
“The worst thing to happen to Nigeria is for Buhari to continue in office beyond May 29, 2019. It is time for him to quit the stage for a new lease of life for the people.”
Appointing New IGP Now Is Dangerous – Commentator
Boladale Bamigbola, an Osogbo-based social commentator and journalist, maintained that the PDP’s call was just a suggestion, as the President reserves the right to appoint any top police officer as IGP in accordance to the law.
He said that appointing new person now as IGP is dangerous because the election is too close and anybody appointed now would have to start to put his men that would work for him and this may take longer time to do and may affect preparations for the elections.
The suggestion of PDP is coming at wrong time and will have negative and serious effect on the outcome of the election.
He said: “Time is not on the side of Mr. President to appoint new IGP. The current IGP only needs to charge the policemen against failing the entire country and ensure that the vote of people counts.”
PDP’s Fear Over Idris’ Tenure Extension Is Genuine – Don
Dr Sampson Adokore Ikhuoria, a Benin-based university lecturer, said: “I have every reason to believe PDP’s fear because of IGP’s past behaviour. I even believe that those Mobile Police being given special training now to fight insurgency are going to be used to rig the elections before they will be deployed for insurgency duties.
“Anything that would cause crisis before, during and after the elections should be avoided by the Federal Government because of the present mood of every Nigerian. Nobody is happy, nobody is in a good frame of mind as a result of hunger and insecurity brought about by bad government.
“So, any attempt to further provoke the people into anger will be disastrous. Let nobody contemplate anything called rigging in next year election because the government will not be able to curtail the crisis that it will ignite.”
Let Idris Go, Let Us Try A New IGP – GNP Chief
Nnawuihe Johnson Nweafor, Chairman, Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Umualiri Ward, Owerri North LGA, in Imo State, stated: “I understand that the IGP is expected to retire next January having reached the mandatory retirement age of 60.
“Let him go and let us try a new hand. I do not support the idea of reappointing him, after all, he has not lived up to our expectation as far as protection of lives and properties is concerned.”
‘New IGP May Not Be Better Than Idris’
Nze Theo Iwumba Ohadiukwu, ex-councillor and member Labour Party (LP), in his response, asked: “If a new IGP is appointed, what is the guarantee that he will not dance to the tune of those who appointed him?”
‘Security Situation Will Worsen If Idris Continues In Office’
Okwudiri Josiah, a public health worker, stated: “It is natural for the opposition PDP to, out of fears or doubts that he would be biased or even aid in rigging next year’s elections, ask President Buhari not to renew the appointment of Idris. There is the saying that, ‘He who pays the piper, dictates the tune’. The Federal Government will naturally dictate what the IGP will do in 2019. Let me put it this way, IGP Idris has enjoyed power in the last four years after allegedly betraying or sabotaging the then President Goodluck Jonathan’s PDP administration to work for the opposition APC.
“Idris was believed to have rigged the election when he was not even the IGP. Nigerians believe that he was promoted beyond his rank as a reward. As a result of this, several senior police officers were sacrificed through forceful retirement just to pave way for him to climb to the top echelon of the Police Force. This is because of the job APC used him to execute as than State Police Commissioner in Kano State.
“The question of fears being expressed by the PDP and many Nigerians about possible renewal of the IGP’s tenure is a genuine concern because many believe that Idris is not very good in his job. My worry is that the security situation will be worst if he continue in office.
“Check out the rate of killings of innocent Nigerians, not by Boko Haram, but through other forms of crimes or civil related crimes today compared to the previous years. Check out the number of policemen that have died in the past three years alone compared to the years past.
“When former President Goodluck Jonathan made the declaration that his political ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian, many people, including me, saw wisdom in what he was saying. Today, he is being celebrated world over as a hero of democracy.
“But, what this government is doing is beginning to send fears that they were not prepared to quit if the outcome of the election is not in their favour. So, I don’t think it will be out of place concluding that IGP has exhausted all that he has in his thinking box if he has any. Now, he is being deliberately kept by President Buhari to help them execute the 2019 general elections, no matter what it takes to do that.
“Again, President Buhari came in as ‘Mr. Integrity’ because of what many Nigerians believed about his person. But, what we are witnessing today is direct opposite of all the good things that were said about him. For instance, Nigerians were told that work had gone far on the Second Niger Bridge. But, it turned out to be one of the lies or propaganda by the APC government to further deceive Nigerians ahead of the coming elections. That is why Nigerians today no longer believe in the sincerity of Buhari they used to know.
“If you are talking about corruption, I tell you it is more pronounced under this Buhari administration than any other. How much is our foreign debt profile as a country? How much is our foreign reserves? How much of professional training, I mean training to be civil and unbiased on the line of duty, does Nigerian police of today has? I can go on and on. The entire system has fallen short of the expectations of Nigerians. That is why I am not supporting renewal of his tenure as the Inspector General of Police (IGP).”
APP Takes Buhari, PSC, Others To Court
Action Peoples Party (APP) has sued President Buhari, Police Service Commission (PSC) to the Federal High Court, Abuja, urging it to declare that “any person or an officer of the Nigeria Police Force, who has attained the retirement age of 60 years or 35 years of service cannot be deemed to be a serving member of the Nigeria Police Force, for the purposes of being appointed or re-appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, as an Inspector General of Police.”
IGP-Idris and other defendants in the suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/1570/2018, include the Nigeria Police Force and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Kpotun Idris. The first National Spokesman of Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, made the copy of the court process available to newsmen, during a press conference in Owerri.
According to the court process, the plaintiff prayed the court to declare that upon the attainment of the mandatory retirement age of 60 years of service in the police by January 3, 2019, Idris cannot be deemed or taken to be a serving member of the Nigeria Police Force.
The other prayers sought by the plaintiff included: “A declaration that the fourth defendant (Mr. Idris), being due for statutory retirement by January 3, 2019, when he would have attained 60 years, is due to immediately proceed on one month pre-retirement leave.
“An order of court, directing and compelling the fourth defendant (Idris) to immediately proceed on one month pre-retirement leave forthwith.
“An order of perpetual injunction, restraining the first defendant (Buhari), from further re-appointing or in any other way, extending the tenure of the fourth defendant (Idris) in office, as the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Force.”
Explaining why the opposition approached the court, Ugochinyere said that extending the IGP’s tenure, after reaching the constitutional retirement age, “is a violation of the Constitution.”
He added: “The plot to retain the IGP after retirement is Buhari/APC last minute desperate attempt to politicise the Police Force and use security forces to thwart the electoral will of Nigerians.”
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