By O’star Eze
Tuesday, January 15, 2018 had 60 year old Ibrahim Idris Kpotun, the immediate past Inspector General of Police bowed out from the position as President Muhammed Buhari bulged to the pressure from opposition party to retire Idris and appoint a new IGP. The Nasarawa-born Abubakar Adamu Mohammed was appointed and this marked the end of a phlegmatic era in Nigeria police force.
Ibrahim Idris Kpotun’s reign as IGP from September 2016 to January, 2018, is said to be the most controversial in the history of the police force given the high rate of insecurity problems witnessed within this period compounded by the people’s serial allegations of abuse of position, complicity with Fulani herdsmen, insubordination and ultimately Idris’ terrible performance during one of his public addresses which inspired the “transmission transmission” parody that made him the butt of jokes much to the embarrassment of the noble police force.
It all began with the appointment of Idris to replace Solomon Arase with the hope that he was going to contain the upsurge of criminal activities and insurgencies across the country. On the contrary, Idris’ reign only seemed to fuel the herdsmen/ farmer clashes with many accusing fingers pointing at Idris for complicity and embezzlement of funds meant for procurement of armaments. It actually took the intervention of the Nigerian army to contain the recurrent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Enugu, Plateau, Ondo, Kaduna and so on which claimed no fewer than 168 lives in January 2018 alone.
According to statistics, 386 people died from herdsmen attacks in the first 3 months of 2018 alone. Putting this into perspective, that was about 4 deaths per day.
Over 300,000 people were displaced due to these attacks. This affected farming and crop production in the affected areas.
Director of Amnesty International in Nigeria, Ossai Ojigho, stated concerning police reaction to the herdsmen/ farmers clash that “the responses of police authorities were ineffective, too slow, totally inadequate, ineffective and in some cases, unlawful”.
Three times did the National Assembly summon Ibrahim Idris to explain some of those allegations and three times was it snubbed. The Senate President, Bukola Saraki reportedly tried to reach the IGP to no avail and described the attitude as disrespectful. All this was as Senator Dino Melaye was hospitalized after his altercation with members of the Nigeria Police Force.
Earlier the House of Representatives had summoned Mr. Ibrahim Idris, over the alleged diversion of N1.2bn voted in 2016 for the purchase of 10 Armoured Personnel Carriers for the Nigeria Police. He did not honour the summon and never appeared before the house committee on police affairs to explain his actions.
Chief among Idris’ accusers was Senator Isa Misau, representing Bauchi Senatorial zone. At the plenaries, he kept reading out a plethora of allegations against the IGP, which ranged from marriage to a serving policewoman which is against the public service rule to collecting over 120 billion naira from corporate bodies and high profile personalities for security services.
Misau accused the IGP of extorting money ranging from 10m to 15 million naira from commissioners of police, state mobile commanders and special protection unit commanders, for favourable postings. He also accused the IG of police of falsifying his retirement date which he said was doctored on the Staff list of senior officers from January 5 to January 15. He also accused Idris of buying SUVs for the wife of the president for her personal use.
But much to the chagrin of many Nigerians especially members of the opposition party, nothing came out of the allegations as the Police Service Commission charged with promotion and discipline of police officers went to press to say they could not probe Idris for corruption. On their part, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) insisted that no formal petition had been sent to them over the activities of Idris and that they are therefore not investigating him.
Even President Mohammed Buhari seemed unable to control Idris’ excesses as he disclosed that his orders were defied during his visit of Benue State, the hardest hit by the herdsmen attack.
“I’m not aware that the I-G did not spend 24 hours in the State as directed by me, I am getting to know in this meeting,” Buhari said as he showed up at a gathering of farmers, herdsmen, government officials, senators and members of the House of Representatives in Benue at the peak of the massacre of Benue people by suspected herdsmen.
It would be recalled that Governor Ortom of Benue State accused Ibrahim Idris of taking sides with the herdsmen. Yet all these were treated with a kid’s glove by the presidency and nothing was done about it despite agitations and cry of repeated cries of foul play on the media by Nigerians.
The cycle of controversies came to an end on January 15, 2019 with the appointment of Acting IGP Abubakar Adamu Mohammed. Mohammed is already receiving accolades for reversing some of the last minute postings and redeployments ordered by Idris few days before his retirement.
Idris’ redeployment of Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal, one of the commissioners of police that were redeeming the image of the police force amidst the controversies, was overturned. Other senior officers who were posted to new commands and formations were asked to stay action until further notice.