By Bala Ibrahim
Whatever achievement one attains in life, it comes with its ups and downs. Success is a two-way phenomenon. It has its good and bad side. Applause comes in torrent from those who appreciate the achiever, while negative schemes shoot forth from those who are envious. The two are almost always inevitable.
Less than one year at the helm of affairs of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Inspector General (IGP), Ibrahim Idris has engendered unprecedented transformations in a police force that was hitherto a source of repugnance to the Nigerian populace. While a good number of Nigerians is happy with this development, it is a source of anger to others who are out to dent the image of the force by often going to the market square with cock-and-bull stories aimed at drawing the force back to the thrashing ground.
The latest of such stories was on page 6 of Saturday Sun newspaper captioned ‘Money-for-posting racket rocks police’, in which the writer alleged that officers of the Mobile Police Unit seeking to be posted to supposedly lucrative places in Delta, Lagos and Rivers states lobby through a certain Barrister Emma who allegedly collects as much as N10 million from them. The said Emma was said to have ‘unhindered’ access to the IGP and is revered by officers and men in the IGP office because he possesses the power to influence the IGP to transfer any police to any place at any time.
What the writer has insinuated was that transfer of police officers to strategic positions are not exercises initiated and carried out by the IGP himself, rather they were motivated by a force external to the police through Barrister Emma. This was not only an attempt to indict the image of the IGP and his men, it was also an insult to the police institution in Nigeria. It is really disappointing for a paper like Saturday Sun, which is in a position to investigate and know how the police operate, to be the one to publish such a baseless story.
The statement that Emma has ‘unhindered access’ to the office of the IGP and ‘revered’ by policemen in and around the office of the IGP is portraying the police head as a person who is under the spell of Emma, an assertion which is very far from the truth. It is not a hidden fact that the IGP, as a public servant, has friends across all ethnic, religious and professional backgrounds in Nigeria and beyond, yet he is not the kind to be unnecessarily influenced by anyone in his official duties. Beyond that, he is so easily accessible that he could be reached without much hindrance, and the Saturday Sun writer, like Barrister Emma and any other person in any official capacity, could get to talk to him to clarify any knotty issue that may require clarification.
He is also open to receive worthy petitions against anyone. He is not the type to take lightly any substantive petition against anyone in Nigeria, no matter how highly-placed, and no matter how close.
So far, means through which misconducts, crimes and misdemeanors could be reported directly to police authority in Nigeria have increased since the coming of Ibrahim Idris as IGP, and responses to such reports or petitions are designed to be rapid and thorough.
If such allegations as the one in question are genuine, any of the available ways of lodging petitions could have been used, and the IGP encourages Nigerian to utilise them properly, as they are capable of assisting the police in arresting misconduct in the force. Aside the various telephone access that citizens have to all the police commissioners in all the 36 states of Nigeria as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, there is also the Police Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU) which the IGP designed to effectively bring the public into the fight against police professional misconduct. Almost all modern avenues of communication are engaged in this effort: website (https://npf.gov.ng/complaint/), phone numbers (08057000001, 08057000002), sms and whatsapp (08057000003), twitter (@PoliceNG_PCRRU), facebook (www.facebook.com/policepcrru), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), BBM (5BA2B5DE). All these avenues have been made really user-friendly and available all day
Nevertheless, the police authority has reacted to the story through its public relations officer, denying that postings have anything to do with anything other than merit, and emphasizing that postings of commanders are based purely on capability and competence, without any monetary consideration.
Fortunately, Nigeria today has an IGP whose policing trainings and experiences are grounded in the best international standards; who has zero tolerance for corruption; who is accessible; and who is meticulous in investigating petitions.
Fortunately also, the Nigeria Police is gradually transforming its hitherto battered image into of a responsible, sound and civilized force that every Nigerian can be proud of, and all these are happening, in the time of IGP Ibrahim K Idris.
– Ibrahim wrote in from Abuja.