President Muhammadu Buhari has persistently refused to summon a meeting of the Nigeria Police Council for the past 21 months despite the rising insecurity in the country and the fact that the tenure of the Inspector General of Police ends Monday 1st February.
Punch investigations indicated that the last time the council met was on May 23, 2019, when it confirmed the appointment of Abubakar Adamu as the substantive Inspector-General of Police at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President had on January 15, 2019, appointed Adamu as acting IGP following the retirement of IGP Ibrahim Idris.
Adamu’s appointment was ratified in May by the council members, comprising the President who is the chairman, all state Governors and Minister of Interior.
Though Adamu is expected to leave the office on Monday (today), having reached the mandatory retirement age, the silence from the Presidency and failure of the council to meet are giving confusing signals in the police.
We had reported moves by Adamu to secure tenure extension to enable him to complete the ongoing reforms in the police.
The silence from the Presidency and the inability of the Police Council to meet and appoint Adamu’s successor is strengthening rumors that the President may have approved additional months in office for him.
Buhari had granted the privilege to the immediate past Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Muhammadu Gana, the service chiefs who overstayed in office by five years and the Comptroller-General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede.
Meanwhile, the President did not summon a meeting of the Nigeria Police Council to deliberate security challenge confronting the country.
Under the IG, the country recorded an increase in mass abductions, including the kidnapping of over 333 students of the Government Science School, Kankara, Katsina State, by suspected bandits; rise in banditry and killings in Zamfara, Katsina, Niger and Kaduna states and the killings by hoodlums last October during the #EndSARS protests.
The inability of the security system to manage the security crises across the country led to the creation of the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Amotekun and the planned establishment of a security group by the South-East governors.
Commenting on the failure of the police council to meet during various national security crises, a security risk management and Intelligence Specialist, Kabir Adamu, observed that apart from the police council, other key security platforms, including the Joint Intelligence Board have also not been meeting.
He said, “To our utter amazement, it is the National Economic Council that issues directives in the realm of security. You remember when #EndSARS happened, it was the National Economic Council that issued directives that led to the formation of the state judicial panels. That is one grey area that this administration has not been effective.”
The security expert argued that several security crises in the country should have prompted the convening of the meeting of the police council and other key platforms.
Adamu further stated, “For the police council, several things have come up, including the controversy surrounding the formation of Amotekun, the Eastern Security Network; and the banditry and kidnap-for-ransom all across the country but more in North-Central.
“All these are serious security issues that should have led to the convening of the police council meeting because they affect principally the policing in the country and how the deficiency of policing is negatively affecting national security.”
He noted that the piecemeal security arrangements by Governors would not work, stressing the importance of convening the meeting of the various national security platforms.
A Presidency official who did not want his name mentioned, however, told The PUNCH that the issue of the retiring IGP and his possible replacement was not complex.
He said, “It is not a complex issue at all. If a government official is given an assignment to do and his term expires, even if a replacement has not been named, the natural step is to identify the most senior official after him and hand over to the person.
“It is a straightforward matter. The IGP knows when he is due for retirement based on records. Once no directive has been given to him officially to continue and no replacement has been announced, he knows who is next to him. It is a simple matter.”
Meanwhile, The Presidency has denied allegations that its new appointments of service chiefs are by ethnicity stating that they were chosen by their ability to secure lives and property in the country.
Reacting to calls by interest groups in the country that the Inspector General of Police should have a South-Eastern extraction, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the government has always been fair to all regions in the country.
The call for a South-Eastern IGP heightened as the present IGP, Abubakar Adamu, is expected to leave office on Monday, having reached the mandatory retirement age.
According to the spokesman, who spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Monday, the President was fair in his recent appointment of service chiefs by making two appointments each from the South and the North.
His words, “The language that is being used is that there should be an Igbo Service Chief and this is a country with more than 250 ethnic groups. If you are going to appoint a service chief from every ethnic group in this country, you are going to have more than 250 Inspector General of Police, 250 Chief of Army Staff, 250 Chief of Naval Staff. Things are not going to work like that.
“If we said that we are going to use ethnicity or religion as the basis, then, we have lost it. This is about law and order and not about ethnic identity. Look at what happened with the service chiefs appointed now – two from the South l, two from the North. If you are talking about religion, two Muslims, two Christians.”
He said the fate of the Adamu who reached retirement age today lies in the hands of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “I haven’t spoken with the President but if I read his mind correctly, the President would rather have an Inspector General of Police who would make you and I safer, who would protect lives and property than one who is more pronounced by his tribal marks.”