Today, whenever his name is mentioned in security circles, ears turn to hear more about the officer the Inspector-General of Police described as “an exceptional police commissioner.” Mohammed Dan Mallam has not seen it all, but at every stage of his career he has glowed like a shining star.
Webster’s dictionary defines “exceptional” as “rare; unusual; extraordinary or excellent.” In security circles, for a superior to describe an officer in such glowing terms means that officer has the sky as his limit.
As a cub reporter with the defunct Daily Times of Nigeria newspaper in 1974, my first investigative story commanded the front page of the Daily Times of Nigeria newspaper (DTN). The editor, Mr. Martin Iroabuchi, and Dele Giwa walked into the expansive newsroom and asked after Ben Okezie. All eyes turned to me. My heart pounded in my chest, a young boy like me being sort for by two giants of the profession? As I stood up, Mr. Iroabuchi commended my investigative effort and dashed me N300. On his part, Mr. Giwa, who I later worked with in Concord newspaper, thrust out his hand to shake me and said, “You area goddam good reporter, keep it up. The sky is your limit.”
Immediately both men left, my colleagues flocked around me to congratulate me. Such remarks from a boss speaks volumes. Today, I have reached the pinnacle of my career as prophesied by Dele Giwa, who stands out as one of Nigeria’s best writers.
Surely, when the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, made that proclaimation, the eyes of every officer in that hall would have been transfixed on Dan Mallam, a trained investigator whose humility has turned to be his strength, coupled with his strong belief in his creator.
As a young police officer, Dan Mallam was selected to be the police aide-de-camp (ADC) to President Olusegun Obasanjo. Also, he was exceptionally decorated as an Assistant Commissioner of Police. According to the IGP, “Dan Mallam has been exceptional in his ability to key into our policing vision of utilising actionable technical intelligence towards preventing and cracking several high-profile crimes in his command. Through this, he has succeeded in proactively arresting several terror elements, kidnappers and armed robbery syndicates with significant recovery of firearms.”
Before his posting to Edo State, he was the police commissioner in Enugu State, where he was able to drastically reduce the crime rate. Residents of Enugu and Edo states cannot easily forget this fine gentleman and apt anti-crime strategist. Criminal elements in those states who have been sent to reform centres would attest to the bravery and the upper hand of the police in fighting crime under his leadership.
Commendation is a morale booster. It encourages men and women to greater feats, spurs them to achieve more goals and success.
Former head of the State Security Service (SSS) and one-time commissioner of police in charge of Rivers State, Aliyu Ismaila Gwarzo, once singled out a one-star police officer, Mike Okiro, for commendation before his colleagues in Rivers for what was described as “exceptional policing.” That singular act propelled Okiro to greater heights. Many Dan Mallams exist in the police, officers who are “exceptional,” disciplined and committed to their profession.
Many exhibit outstanding integrity that needs to be commended. A time was when the police used to invite journalists and members of the public to witness the public decoration of police officers and men who earned the Inspector General of Police medals of commendation.
Apart from commendations, officers’ welfare and training should be encouraged, as these are also a tonic for better policing.
Nigeria’s boarder patrol
Control of nigeria’s borders is a herculean task for agencies entrusted with the responsibility. No government worth its name can afford to be nonchalant about its national boarders, especially when its neighbouring countries are hostile and parasitic. As such, it is very important for nations to dutifully embark on strict aerial and land patrol of borders.
Patrolling boarders has entailed new technologies, as countries all over the world employ sophisticated gadgets to help in the control of human traffic and in turn stopping illegal trading and drug activities.
It is, therefore, a commendable move for the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), under the new Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, that such synergy is operational. Records show that trillions of naira worth of goods were in the past illegally exported or imported into Nigeria without being captured or scrutinized.
This is why the inauguration of a forward operation base (FOB)at the Oja-Odan border axis in Ogun State is an effort in the right direction. It will further strengthen border security in Nigeria. From every indication, the minister who had claimed being a novice on issues pertaining to his new portfolio, is making a remarkable impression on Nigerians after all. At the ceremony, he noted that establishing the FOB was a demonstration of government’s commitment to strengthen the nation’s border security and to boost the morale of personnel by providing them with a befitting working environment.
Comptroller-General of Immigration Muhammad Babandede posited that the FOB would complement the fight against cross-boarder vices like smuggling, trafficking in persons and others.
Oja Odan, like other FOBs established by the service, is equipped with modern communication gadgets and furnished accommodations for operatives to be able to maintain 24/7 patrol and surveillance activities along the nation’s borders. At the last count, such effort had been replicated in areas like Megateri in Jigawa State, Mazanya in Katsina State, Shaki in Oyo State, Chikanda in Kwara State and Seme boarder in Badagry, Lagos State.
Such foresightedness in ensuring the welfare of border personnel would surely go a long way to boost their morale, to safeguard Nigeria’s boarders.