A report on Monday that Ibrahim Kpotu Idris had been retired as the Inspector General of Police, IGP, sent shock waves across the country, with the social media, as usual, in the lead in disseminating the announcement. And even before the report was confirmed, speculations were rife as to who was going to be his successor.
Idris, it will be recalled, had been the subject of controversy over alleged plans by the Federal Government to extend his tenure as IGP even after reaching his retirement age. Indeed there were spirited campaigns in several quarters, especially the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, that the presidency should in consonance with the enabling law retire the Police boss and announce his replacement.
Nigerians were still reeling from the shock engendered by the report when there was another attendant bombshell. First was the official confirmation that IGP Idris had indeed been retired, and then the announcement of his successor in the person of Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, an Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG. The identity of the new Police boss, who will be operating for now in an acting capacity, had triggered a quake in the Police hierarchy. The reason for this is not far to seek. Since he was an AIG at the time of his appointment, the implication is that seven Deputy Inspectors General of Police, DIGs, who by virtue of their appointment in 2018 became his seniors would inevitably be sacrificed and made to proceed on retirement.
Affected top police officers
The affected top police officers are Deputy Inspector General of Police Muhammad Dikko, DIG in charge of Administration; Joshak Habila, DIG in charge of Operations; Mohammed Katsina, DIG in charge of Research and Planning; Peace Ibekwe Abdallah, DIG in charge of Investigations; Emmanuel Inyang, DIG in charge of Information and Communications Technology; Oshodi Glover, DIG in charge of Logistics; Mohammed Sani, DIG in charge of Training.
Before now four former Deputy Inspectors General of Police who formed the first management team of the IGP Ibrahim Idris led administration had resigned. They are DIG Foluso Adebanjo in charge of ICT; DIG Shuaibu Gambo in charge of Administration, DIG Valentine Ntomchukwu in charge Research and Planning, DIG Hyacinth Dagala in charge of Force Criminal Investigation Department and former Force Secretary, AIG Abdul Bube.
Following their retirement in 2018, DIG Dikko formerly in charge of Logistic was moved to Administration, DIG Emmanuel Inyang formerly in charge of Training was moved to ICT, DIG Peace Abdallah was appointed as DIG in charge Administration, DIG Mohammed Katsina was appointed as DIG in charge of Research and Planning, DIG Oshodi Glover was appointed DIG Logistics and DIG Mohammed Sani was appointed DIG in charge of Training.
Ordinarily, this should not elicit any surprise given that this has become the pattern over the years once a junior ranking officer is appointed as the Inspector- General of Police, all the senior ranking officers will have to be retired.
It will be recalled that a similar scenario played out when these seven DIGs were appointed after the retirement of 21 Assistant Inspectors General, AIGs, on July 1, 2016.
The 21 AIGs of police who were retired following the appointment of the Ibrahim Idris as Inspection General of Police were: Bala A Hassan, Yahaya Garba Ardo, Irmiya Yarima, Danladi Mshebwala, Tambari Mohammed, Bala Nasarawa, Musa Abdulsalam, Adisa Bolanta, Mohammed Gana, Umaru Manko and Lawal Tanko.
The others were Olufemi Adenike, Johson Ogunsakin, Adenrele Shinaba, James Caulcrick, Olufefemi Ogumbayod, Edgar Nanakumo, Kalafite Adeyemi, Patrick Dokumor, Joseph Mbu and Sabo Ringim.
No doubt, these seven Deputy Inspectors General of Police also benefited from this systemic arrangement as some of them were immediately elevated from the position of Commissioner of Police to Deputy Inspectors General and later from AIGs to DIGs.
Reacting to the retirement of the seven DIGs, human rights activist and Director General, National Coordinator Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, NOPRIN, Okechukwu Nwanguma said: “As we have said in the past, we need to move away from the practice of handpicking an Assistant Inspector General, for appointment as Inspector-General of Police, IGP, thereby forcing several Deputy Inspectors General of Police to retire prematurely.
“It means that seniority is not followed in appointment of Inspectors- General of Police. Presidents simply pick who they like. When seven DIGs are forced to retire before they are due, we waste human capital and financial resources; we wipe out institutional memory and we waste the financial resources used in training and retraining them over the long period of their service. It is also not being fair to the affected senior officers.”