By Esezobor Okaima, Abuja
The battle for next Inspector-General of Police (IGP) is taking new dimension, as former IGP Sir Mike Okiro and other retired officers are stressing on the implication of appointing a junior officer as the next IGP.
Speaking with Crime Tracker on phone on Tuesday, Okiro said, “there is nothing wrong if the President picks from the rank of Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG).
Irrespective of tribe or religion, he should pick a capable hand. But not a junior officer because those that may be forced to retire have the experience and it is not healthy to just ask them to retire.”
Also speaking in the same vein, a retired DIG from Katsina State, DIG Yakubu Mohammed said on phone that, “it is not healthy to appoint a junior AIG (Assistant Inspector-General of Police) because many AIGs who are senior to the appointed IG would be forced to retire The next IG should not be appointed based on ethnic or on religion basis but an officer who has the experience.
There is genocide going on the north. I did not really want to talk because you can only give an advice when your advice will be valued. He opined that, if possible, “the judiciary system should be applied in appointing IGs.”
He noted that, in the judiciary, the most senior judge is appointed when the incumbent judge retires.
Toeing the same ideology, an aide to chairman of Police Service Commission (PSC), retired Commissioner of Police (CP) Dr. Yinka Balogun from Ogun State said:
It is not ideal to appoint a junior AIG. Of course the Constitution states that an IG must be appointed not below the rank of an AIG. But it is not healthy to appoint a junior AIG because the new IG may want to retire all those ahead of him.
And if he needs an advice in a particular area, he may not get it because one of those retired may be the one who has the answer to the problem.”
There had been intense lobbying for more than three months, over who succeeds the incumbent IGP Mohammed Adamu, who is statutorily due for retirement on February 1, next year 2021.
A lot of intrigues have been manifesting on the next IGP.
The crisis became heightened last month, when Adamu promoted former Force Secretary, an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Usman Alkali Baba to the rank of acting Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), and deployed him to head “A” Department, the most senior department. By his promotion, Alkali is heading existing DIGs.
We exclusively reported this supposed anomaly last month titled, Outrage At Police Force Headquarter As AIG Heads DIGs.
The DIGs are Aminchi Baraya, Taraba, who is due for retirement on February 1, 2021 Anthony Michael Ogbizi representing South South region from Cross River, due for statutory retirement on February 1, 2021. Celestine Okoye, from Anambra representing South East due for retirement on December 22, 2020.
Another DIG is Lawal Shehu, from Katsina State, also due on December 24-12-2020.
Others are: Abdul Danwawu from Kano who has retired on 26-10-2020; DIG Adeleye Oyebade, from Lagos State due on, 01-02-2021.
However, Okoye, Oyebade and Ogbizi have submitted letters of retirement last month and have proceeded on retirement leave.
Investigations reveal that the new Police Act stipulates that only officers who have up to four years and above should be appointed IGP as contained on Section 7(6), while for retirement age or length in service is on section 18(8). Among 22 AIGs on seniority basis, Usman Alkali Baba from Borno State, has less than four years in service. He is due for retirement 01-03-2023.
He is followed by Tijani Baba who also has less than one year to go, 08-10-2021.
Others are Karima Hassan, Taraba – 08-01-2021; Ibrahim Lamorde, Adamawa – 01-02- 2021; Mohammad Mustapha, Borno – 01-02-2021; David Oyebanji, Oyo – 21-11-2021; Zanna Mohammed, Borno – 26-11-2022; Nkpa lnakwu, Cross River – 01- 02-2021; Moses Jitoboh, Bayelsa – 10-06-2029; Jonah Mava, Adamawa – 01-02-2021; Olushola David, Lagos – 01-02-2021; Yunana Babas, Bauchi – 01-02- 2021; Dan-William Mohammed, FCT Abuja – 18-12-2023; Sanusi Lemu, Niger is 31-01-2023; Armed Iliyasu, Kaduna – 27-05- 2021; Zaki Ahmed, Kebbi, 15-02- 2022; Gwandu Abubakar, Kebbi – 01-01-2022; Zama Senchi – Kebbi – 05-10- 2022; Bello Zadiq, Kebbi – 20-11-2022; Austin Agbonlahor – Edo – 30-08-2021 and Lawan Ado, Kano, 27-03-2021.
Among the AIGs from the North, only Alkali Baba, Sanusi Lemu and Dan William Mohammed have up to three years more in service.
If Buhari has to appointment any officer from the north, he will have to pick one of the three officers.
If he picks a junior AIG either from the north or from the south, over 35 AIGs would be forced to retire prematurely.
Another retired senior officer from the north told Saturday INDEPENDENT on phone that, “that idea is not helping the system, because many of them were trained and have proven ability to perform. And you just retire them, it discourages and does not encourage patriotism.”
And in the south, only Moses Jitoboh has more than four years to serve among the first 25 AIGs on seniority basis. If he is appointed, only two AIGs would be forced to retire, or retain them. That will favour majority AIGs, who will still be in service.”
Meanwhile, the IGP Mohammaed Adamu last Friday paid unscheduled visit to the chairman of Police Service Commission (PSC) Alj Musiliu Smith a retired IGP, in his office.
Details of the closed door meeting were not made public, but a source at PSC disclosed that, “it was a mutual meeting, both of them came out of the meeting with cheerful faces.”
Also at Force Headquarters, a senior officer who does not want his name in print confirmed the meeting. He said, “we were very happy that he (IGP) was there. We are now confident that, those of us due for promotion that have been delayed since July will now be promoted. There is now peace between them.”
It will be recalled that the IGP and Chairman of PSC had been at loggerhead over power supremacy, especially in relations to recruitment. The imbroglio resulted into litigation.
A source at Force Headquarters opined that, “the IG is already aware that his tenure would not be extended maybe that was why he went to reconcile with the chairman, so that his candidates would be promoted next (this) week.”