In Nigeria’s modern history, few bad eggs in the Nigerian Police Force have worked corruptly to tarnish the image and reputation of the force. This anomaly has, to a large extent, corrupt the people’s opinion of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). The development is made more complicated by incessant cases of extra-judicial killings, extortion and other unwholesome practices.
On assumption of office in 2015, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu set out to redeem the image of the force by embarking on incremental reforms. Issues got to a head recently by way of the protests that broke out across Nigeria.
One distinguishing feature of a courageous leader is the ability to carry out the needed reforms. The scrapping of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS), Sunday, by IGP Adamu demonstrates in eloquent terms the leadership courage needed to cause a social change. This singular action has demonstrated for once that the IGP’s vow to Reform, Reposition and steep the Nigerian Police up to global standard was not a fluke. The disbandment of SARS is one of the many charismatic steps taken to reform the Police into a full fledge ‘Peoples’ Police.
On a flip side, one would have been surprised if the Police under IGP Adamu had remained the way he inherited because in global policing community, Adamu has proven his mettle, haven served and excelled for more than 10 years of his service carrier in International Police (Interpol).
The primary purpose of any government is first the security of lives and property. To effectively achieve this objective, the policing system must be ‘people-centred’. In many countries, particularly those with a federal system of government like Nigeria, there may be several law enforcement agencies, police or police-like organizations, each serving different levels of government and enforcing different subsets of the applicable law.
IGP Adamu’s efforts at Reforming the Nigerian Police is premised on the solid support he has been enjoying from the Commander in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, who on Monday in Abuja, declared that the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is the first step to extensive police reforms by his administration. Again, President Buhari’s directive that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts be brought to justice is a clear indication that better days are here for the Nigerian policing system. ”We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts are brought to justice,” President Buhari said.
Nigeria is a Democracy and the character and conduct of elected leaders must reflect such. One of the hallmarks of a democracy is the freedom of the people to make demand on their government, sometimes through protests and for the voice of the majority to be respected. By that, President Buhari has breath fresh life into Nigeria’s fledgling democracy by promptly listening to the voice of the people and directing the IGP to disband the F-SARS Outfit. This is what it should be in a democracy.
As the president rightly stated at the launch of the P-YES programme, “the disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people.”
Good leaders are humble and always ready to take responsibility. President Buhari demonstrated this when he apologised for the death of a protester in Oyo State. ”We deeply regret the loss of life of the young man in Oyo State during the recent demonstrations. I have directed that the circumstances of his death should be thoroughly investigated,” he said.
Lest we miss the point, there are wonderful, incorruptible, gallant and excellent Police Officers discharging their duties as acknowledged by the president when he said “the vast majority of men and women of the police force are hardworking and diligent in performing their duties.”
Apart from the scrapping of FSARS, which has drawn deafening applause from Nigerians, since IGP Adamu assumed duty on 15 January, 2019, dynamism has been injected into our policing system though incrementally. For instance, the long talked about Community Policing has received tremendous boost under him.
IGP Adamu’s open-door policy has positioned him closer to all police commissioners and top ranking officers of the force as practiced in developed countries. We must not forget the efforts of the IGP to purge the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of crime. This informed his decision to appoint Bala Ciroma, a shrewd crack detective, as FCT Commissioner of Police. The former Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (CIID) of the FCT Police Command, in complete response to the IGP’s order to burst criminals for prosecution, is yielding tremendous positive result.
To begin with, IGP Adamu is a thorough bred security czar who has a good grasp of what modern standards is. In retrospect, Adamu has extensive international experience. He worked at Interpol’s NCB in Lagos from 1989-1997. He was the first Nigerian to be seconded to Interpol General Secretariat, Lyon in 1997 where he served as specialized officer in Economic and Financial Crime, Sub-directorate from 1997- 2002. He became the first black African to be appointed Assistant Director in charge of African Sub-Directorate from 2002-2005. He was again the first African in the history of INTERPOL to serve as Director when he was appointed director of NCB Services and I-24/7 Development from 2005-2007.
When he returned to Nigeria, he was appointed as Director in charge of Peacekeeping and Training at the Nigeria Police Headquarters, Abuja. Between 2013 and 2015 he was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police and Commissioner of Police in Enugu State command.
– Ibrahim is director of communication and strategic planning of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC).