By Akanimo Sampson
Nigeria’s Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, has landed in a seeming unending worrisome scandals in the Police. This time, Divisional Police Officers across the country are allegedly abusing the rights of citizens in a bid to meet their target levy for their big boss.
Two children of the police chief are said to be preparing to marry. To assist the IGP make the occasions great for them, DPOs are saddled with levies. In Rivers State for instance, each division is to raise N60,000.
To raise the levy, some of the DPOs have started to carry out raids, aimed at extorting cash from the innocent citizens.
In Rivers, policing is a gold mine. Suspects in some police divisions in the state pay as much as N20,000 for bail. Operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the state occasionally escort suspects to the ATM at night to ‘’settle;; them.
The alleged IGP’s children marriage levy, is not going down well with some police personnel who are said to be opposed to some of the unwholesome methods being employed by their DPOs to meet their target.
For them, the levy is an act of corruption.
Adamu was officially announced as the new acting IGP, and decorated by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 15, this year. He replaced the former police chief, Ibrahim Idris, who retired after spending 35 years in the force on January 3rd.
His retirement was however, announced after the Coalition of Opposition Political Parties (CUPP) threatened to embark on a mass protest on January 15 should the president dithers to remove him.
Born on November 9, 1961, the new police boss was the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Plateau State. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography and joined the police force in 1986. He hails from Lafia in Nasarawa state.
Adamu was formerly a director of peacekeeping operations and one-time commissioner of police in Enugu.
Before this marriage levy, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) had alleged that former Inspector-General of Police, Sunday Ehindero, fraudulently received interest on the Nigeria Police fund lodged in a fixed deposit account with a bank.
Spokesperson of the anti-graft body, Rasheedat Okoduwa, claimed in a statement that the allegation was contained in a statement made by a banker, Aibangbe Maifuwa, to a Federal Capital Territory High Court 7, sitting in Apo, Abuja.
According to the ICPC, ‘’the banker, Aibangbe Maifuwa, a Business Development Manager with WEMA Bank Plc, who testified before Justice S. C. Oriji, in a case brought against Ehindero by the ICPC, said the money which was N10.3 million was part of proceeds from N300 million police fund he allegedly kept in a fixed deposit account with the bank.
‘’The banker, who was led in evidence by the ICPC’s lawyer, Zainab Nass, told the court that the retired police boss had fixed the money at a 10 per cent interest rate per annum, between July 11, 2006 and January 19, 2007.
‘’In his response to questions put to him during cross-examination by Ehindero’s lawyer, K. O. Omolola, the banker said the former IGP had written to the bank requesting that the accrued interest on the N300m fixed deposit, amounting to the sum of N10, 364,283.77, be paid to him in cash, while the principal sum be paid through a WEMA bank cheque in his favour.’’
Similarly, the Senator representing Bauchi Central, Isah Misau, had accused Idris of collecting bribes from oil companies and banks where police officers were posted to provide security.
While speaking in the Red Chamber of Nigeria’s bicameral Legislature, Senator Misau alleged that Idris impregnated two female police officers and arranged for a secret wedding with one in Kaduna, and also accused the ex-IGP of awarding special promotions to female officers and ‘his boys’ at the expense of merit.
According to Misau, ex-IGP Idris was openly having two relationships with policewomen who he allegedly gave special promotions. ‘’One of them is Amina and one of them is DSP Esther, which he got married to that woman DSP. Under police act and regulation, you cannot marry a serving woman police unless that woman retires.
‘’He quickly did a secret wedding in Kaduna because the lady is four months pregnant. I am saying this because of the institution – that institution I am supposed to be a stakeholder in that institution. It is the institution that brought me here which I’m proud of. There are serving police officers who now demoralised because of the activities of the office of the IGP.
‘’Mr. President, even when it comes to appointment, the IG decided to have his own boys who are just assistant commissioner of police, he will give them special promotion. He will give them deputy commissioner of police, they won’t spend three months or six months he will just give them acting commissioners of police.’’
Senator Misau equally alleged that Idris was using his office to undermine the power and function of other high ranking officers: ‘’The IGP has decided that all posting of mobile combatants be done in his office meanwhile there is Commissioner of Police in charge of mobile force and that of the Special Protection Unit. All postings which is supposed to be done by these commissioners are done in the IGP’s office.
‘’Under the police act and regulations, every investigations into the force is supposed to be done under the office of the DIG Investigations and Intelligence but now, the IGP has created so many units under him putting junior police officers as heads thereby undermining the statutory office of the DIGs.’’
Not done. He added: ‘’Mr. President, there is illegal diversion of funds by the IGP. Under the 2016 appropriation act, there is the provision where the IGP is supposed to purchase armoured carriers. Instead of purchasing the 8 armoured patrol carriers to help the President in fighting insurgency in the North East, he diverted the fund to something else.’’
The Police had earlier declared Misau a deserter after he first raised allegations of corruption in the police hierarchy. The former police officer, however said he retired following due process, a fact confirmed by the Police Service Commission.
Following the senator’s allegations, the Senate set up an eight-member ad-hoc committee to investigate the allegations. The senate also mandated its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate police allegations against Misau, and present its findings to the Senate.
In a related development, the Coalition of Civil Society for Integrity and Justice (CCSGIJ) had equally leveled allegations of graft against Idris.
The coalition which is made up of lawyers and civil society organisations, was making their claims four days after the Senate resolved to probe the allegations raised by Senator Misau, against Idris.
Convener of the group, Shehu Adamu, said their investigation revealed that Idris sold 30 government vehicles to ‘’fictitious claimants’’, claiming that the addresses associated with the said buyers of the vehicles were incomplete, making it impossible to authenticate the identity them.
According to the coalition, ‘’the records would show that one of the most alarming allegations against Mr. Idris relate to the unlawful sale of about thirty government vehicles which are known to have been released to fictitious claimants. According to our private investigation, the unlawfully sold vehicles include a Honda Accord, registration number BP 529 KMC, sold to Ahmed Sani Mohammed of Kano state, a Honda Civic, registration number BH 742 NSR, to Ibrahim Jamilu of Kano State, a Toyota Sienna, registration number RBC 501 AM, to Hajiya Safiya Danlami of Kano State, a Nissan Murano, registration number NSR 389 XV, to Datti Abubakar of Kano state, an unregistered Honda Civic to Garba Shehu of Kano state and an unregistered Toyota Matrix to Friday Kassimu also of Kano state.
‘’Other vehicles disposed of in shady circumstances include an unregistered Mercedes-Benz, a Volkswagen Golf 111, and a Toyota Lexus Jeep. It has been uncovered that the addresses associated with the so-called buyers of the vehicles are incomplete—often without street numbers or telephone contacts, making it impossible to authenticate the identity of the buyers. This points to the fact that Idris must have acquired most, if not all, those vehicles for himself. After all, Idris is notorious for selling of public property for private profit, as he played a key role in the unlawful sale of police property in Kano State outposts for personal gain during the height of the Boko Haram insurgency.
‘In a similar vein, Mr. Idris has continually proved himself to lack operational expertise and courage to lead the Nigeria Police Force. Little wonder that as the then Commissioner of Police in Kano, he locked himself inside a toilet for hours at the Kano state police command headquarters during a raid in 2012 by Boko Haram insurgents. It was his hiding that allowed Boko Haram fighters to move through Kano unimpeded, killing men, women and children as well as police officers.’’
Continuing, the coalition said the raid carried out by the police on the office of the Nigerian Peace Corps hours after it was opened with lawmakers in attendance, ‘’was an affront on the National Assembly.It was uncovered that Idris in a secret meeting held immediately after both chambers of the National Assembly passed the harmonised bill and prior to the unlawful invasion of the Peace Corps of Nigeria office spoke in Hausa language boasting that he would use the last drop of his blood to stop the agency from functioning. We shall make copies of the audio recording to the press.’’
Meanwhile, speaking before the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs to defend the 2019 budget proposal for the Police, the incumbent police chief said the Police needs more funding ‘’to maintain neutrality and avoid compromises in the performance of its statutory duties’’.
While lamenting that the Police received less than 20 per cent of the N25 billion capital budget for security outfits, Adamu pointed out, ‘’on my assumption of office as the Inspector-General of Police in January 2019, I began taking determined steps, drawing from national and international policing leadership experiences, to provide the highest possible level of professional and responsible leadership for the Nigeria Police to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness. However, at every turn, I am confronted with the issue of inadequate funding.
‘’Nigeria is a large country with a huge population and policing a nation as large and diverse as Nigeria requires enormous funding. Also, to maintain neutrality and avoid compromises in the performance of its statutory duties, the Nigeria Police Force should obtain its funding requirements from constitutionally recognised sources.’’
He also stressed that the meagre allocation to the force is grossly inadequate to meet the day-to-day running and need of every personnel, adding, ‘’presently, the Police depend on the government for the provision of funds for day-to-day operations. However, the annual budgetary allocation for the Force, especially with regards to capital and overhead costs, does not reflect the enormous size, scope of responsibility and actual needs of the Force.
‘’Arising from the limitations of funding occasioned by the budgetary constraint, most of the requirements that would enable the Force to perform are never met. For instance, as against a capital budget estimate of N342.9billion proposed for the 2018 fiscal year, the Force was given an appropriation of N25.5 billion. Appropriations in respect of the overhead cost and capital budget to the Force over the years have failed to meet the funding requirements of the police.’’