I have followed with interest newspaper reports that tend to suggest that a decision had not yet been be made on the replacement for the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) as the incumbent, Mohammed Adamu is due to retire.
I find it hard to believe that the government is only now considering the replacement for the top post in the Nigeria Police Force.
I find it even harder to believe reports that senior officials of the administration are currently divided on the issue of the IGP’s succession with some working for extension of Adamu’s tenure, and others pressing for a fresh and younger officer.
My difficulty stems from the fact that I have witnessed many IGP transitions in my career as journalist spanning 28 years and there had always been a remarkably smooth transition of power when one retired.
This perhaps was basically due to a succession plan that was effectively implemented. There was no second guessing who the new IGP would be as the succession plan determined the next in line to take over. It would appear that overtime, this succession plan has gone haywire or been discarded and replaced with political expediency.
We have three major governmental agencies that oversee the control and supervision of the Nigerian Police Force; the Police Service Commission, the Nigerian Police Council and Ministry of interior.
The PSC is the civilian oversight body responsible for appointment, promotion, and discipline of all police officers except the Inspector General of Police. It functions by collaborating, cooperating and working with all the stakeholders, namely the Police Council with the President of Nigeria as chairman, all the Governors of the federating states, the Minister of Interior and the Inspector-General of Police as members.
It therefore beats every reasonable imagination that these powerful bodies expected to turn the police force around and enable it to meet the challenges of the times, would take so long to craft an enduring framework for succession to the office of the nation’s police chief.
Even from a layman’s standpoint, we are very much aware that the next IGP is by a standing convention supposed to be chosen from officers in the rank of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police which ought to have sufficiently made the selection process easier and not clumsier as is the case today.
Going by this tradition, all Deputy Inspectors General of Police are expected to go with the substantive IGP by the time he retires next month.
And since we all know that it has not been in the tradition of the Nigeria police to extend the tenure of IGPs once it expires and in addition, if we consider the raging clamour for the change of the nation’s Service Chiefs, it becomes unwise to think of extention for Adamu beyond February 1.
The current Police Act 2020 signed by President Buhari in September last year is clear with its provision for a tenure of four years for the Inspector-General of Police.
Specifically, Part 111 Section 7 (6) of the Act, which repealed the Police Act Cap. P19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, prescribed a four-year single tenure for a person appointed to the office of the IGP.
The Act provides among others, that a person to be appointed IGP shall be a senior police officer not below the rank of an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), with the requisite academic qualification of not less than a first degree or its equivalent in addition to professional and managerial experience.
And whereas senior officers in the rank of DIG are by convention expected to leave with the IGP on February 1, or soon after, a few of them are believed to be nursing hopes of getting the post.
Again, the 2020 Police Act has unambiguously taken care of that when it states: subject to the provisions of clause 18 (8), which stipulates that every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the Nigeria Police Force for a period of 35 years or until he attains the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier.
In this regard, a scrutiny of the police nominal roll shows that none of those on the rank of DIG has up to four years before retirement to be able to complete a full tenure as IGP. The DIGs with the most time left are Dan-Mallam Mohammed, Usman Alkali Baba and Sanusi Lemu. They will all leave the service in 2023; Mohammed, born in 1963, will be due for retirement on December 18, 2023, Lemu and Baba will leave the service in January and March respectively.
On the AIG rank, available record shows that only three persons have up to four years left in service. While two of them will retire in 2025, the other has nine more years to retire.
Two course mates, Dasuki Danbappa Galadanchi and Hafiz Mohammed Inuwa have four more years to spend in the force. Both were enlisted in the police the same day in March 1990.
Inuwa, believed to be the favourite and most closest to the outgoing IGP Adamu, is currently the AIG in charge of Zone 13, Ukpo-Dunukopia, Awka, Anambra State. He has a Bachelor’s Degree and a master’s in Public Policy and Administration (MPPA). He was DC Akwa Ibom and CID Alagbon Close, Lagos before getting promoted Commissioner of Police on October 31, 2017.
Unfortunately, Inuwa, born on March 21, 1964, despite the huge backing from Adamu and a couple of retired IGPs, is caught up by the 60 year ceiling placed by the scheme of service as amplified by Clause 18 (8) of the Police Act currently in operation.
Born on January 10, 1966, with a two-year age advantage over Inuwa, Galadanchi was Commissioner of Police in Imo State, from where he was redeployed to head the Police Cooperative Society in Lagos. He earlier served as deputy commissioner of police in Ekiti, among other postings. Galadanci is currently the AIG in charge of Force CID annex, Alagbon Close, Lagos State.
An Alumnus of NIPPS and multiple degree holder, he holds an Msc Development Studies (MDS), a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Policy & Administration (PGDPPA) and BSc (Hons) Mathematics.
Before his current posting as AIG awaiting ratification, he was promoted from Deputy Commissioner of Police to Commissioner of Police in 2017.
But for his recent elevation to the rank of DIG, the officer with the most number of service years left would have been
Then Moses Ambakina Jitoboh, who was AIG in charge of border patrol before his recent promotion to the rank of DIG. Born in 1970 and enlisted in the force in 1994, Jitoboh has advantages in terms of age and service years if not for his elevation to DIG which by standard practice, eliminates him.
He was Commissioner of Police in Adamawa State, CP General Investigations at the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department before he was appointed an AIG. As AIG, he headed Zone 8 headquarters in Lokoja before he was transferred to border patrol.
His candidacy is believed to be pushed by influencers including former President Goodluck Jonathan, who was responsible for Jitoboh’s multiple rapid promotions when he served as his ADC for many years.
Those said to be in contention for the job but have no requisite four years are AIG Dan-Mallam Mohammed and Zanna Ibrahim.
With this permutation, it therefore follows that any further delay in this matter or attempt to jeopardize due process, would not speak well of the police force, which is the main law enforcer in the country.
In doing this, it must not be forgotten that with a police force that is ill-equipped, poorly trained, and understaffed, Nigeria needs a police chief who can work in tandem with the state governments and communities to curb crimes and maintain peace.
It is my sincere hope that the succession plan will be executed accordingly to have the best officer to helm our police force.
Abdulrauf Muqaddas writes from Dutse, Jigawa state.