By Christopher Oji
May 27 was the day Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Ahmed Iliyasu retired in style.
That day, tributes and encomiums were poured on the officer described as a leader with a human face.
Friends, junior and senior police officers, private sector players and members of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) were unanimous in praising Iliyasu for being a humane police boss with outstanding contributions to policing in the country.
With the police band playing melodious songs at the event, Iliyasu danced and celebrated with his guests as he expressed his gratitude to the goverment for giving him the opportunity to contribute his quota and everyone who supported him in his police career.
In his tribute to Iliyasu, security expert and chairman of the PCRC, Victoria Island, Lagos, Mr. Matthew Ibadin, urged other policemen to emulate Iliyasu, as he prayed for the AIG to enjoy his retirement in sound health and prosperity.
He said: “The first time I met AIG Iliyasu, he came to a PCRC meeting. I was shocked when he gave us N50,0000. He was smiling and this made me to wonder whether he was a policeman. He is very humble and accommodating. I pray for him to continue to excel in all his future endeavours
“The AIG has rekindled the relationship between the police and PCRC. He brought back the confidence between the public and the police because of his community policing drive. The success he recorded was because of his relationship with the public, who were furnishing his command with useful information about criminals. The PCRC will miss him, because of his open-door policy. But I believe that he is not retiring, as he will soon be given a higher responsibility.”
The national secretary for Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Comrade Folarin Olayinka, revealed that Iliyasu stopped the bastardisation of transfer of criminal cases from state commands, area commands or divisions to the zone, which often led to miscarriage of justice in a show of power.
“The trend, if AIG Iliyasu had not stopped it, had reached a dangerous point where people were afraid of criminals. A complainant could easily be turned to a suspect and people no longer went to the police to report matters because of fear of corrupt transfer of cases, which they felt could rob them of their right to secure justice at the end of the day. In Zone 2 Command, the situation had been that corrupt people in Ogun and Lagos states, who were suspects in criminal cases, came to Zone 2, Onikan, to upturn cases in their favour to the point that suspects ended up becoming complainants but AIG Iliyasu stopped the trend within a few days of assuming office, thereby restoring the confidence the public had in the zonal headquarters, Onikan.
“Now that you are retired and no longer in police uniform, you can exercise your right to advocate for the welfare of police officers as serving police officers are not given such right of advocacy.”
Ahmed Sabh, a Lebanese importer and exporter, described Iliyasu as a friendly officer who answered call anytime, no matter the inconvenience it would cause him, adding that he embodied the slogan that policeman is your friend.
A chief customary court registrar from Ogun State described him as a problem-solver, while retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police Suaibu Gambo described him as an officer among officers, who retired in good health.
On his part, the head of the monitoring unit of the zone, CSP Uba Adams, said Iliyasu would be sorely missed but his legacies would remain indelible and continue to speak loud: “Our consolation is that we know that, for every beginning there must be an ending. He started well and he ended in the force very well without blemish or scandals. I have worked closely with him in Kano, Ogun and Lagos states, so there is nothing I don’t know about him. The seven years I served under him was not a waste. He taught us so many things: discipline, dedication to duty, respect for human rights and community policing. He is an epitome of knowledge and wisdom. So, we refer to him as the encyclopedia. In fact, he is a father and a teacher.