Former Inspector General of Police, Chief Etim Okon Inyang, died on September 28 at the age of 84. With his demise, Nigeria lost an illustrious, patriotic and dedicated police chief who made an indelible mark in the battle against crime while he held sway at the Police Headquarters between 1984 and 1986.
Inyang joined the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on October 1, 1949 as a recruit and rose through the ranks to its topmost position.
He was one of the best cops ever produced in the country and his passage has been eliciting tributes from notable persons around the country. President Muhammadu Buhari, in a glowing eulogy, said that the deceased, who served as a member of the National Security Council and Vice Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee in 1987, contributed immensely to the reforms. He affirmed that the processes heralded good governance and democracy in the country.
In the same vein, Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State, said that the late Inyang’s life illustrates the true Akwa Ibom spirit of hard work, industry and honesty. He described his passage as a sad loss to the Nigerian law enforcement community in particular and the nation in general. As Udom put it, Inyang served Nigeria well and left indelible footprints in the sands of time. The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, also commiserated with his family.
Born on December 25, 1931 in Ewang, Oron, Akwa Ibom State, Inyang was educated at Roman Catholic School, Uko Akpan Ewang, Oron, 1936-1937; Akani Obio Group School, Oron, 1938; Methodist School, Oron, 1939-1940; Oyubia Central School, Oron, 1941-1945.
He taught from 1946-1949 before joining the Nigeria Police Force on October 1, 1949 as a Recruit Constable. He was promoted to the positions of Lance Corporal in 1957; Corporal in 1958; Sergeant in November 1958 and Inspector of Police in 1959.
On October 1, 1960, he was promoted Assistant Superintendent of Police, and Deputy Superintendent of Police in December 1964. He rose to become a Superintendent of Police in June 1965, Chief Superintendent of Police in 1967; Assistant Commissioner of Police, 1971 and Deputy Commissioner of Police, 1974.
The ex-police boss became the Commissioner of Police, May 1975; Commissioner of Police, Kano State Police Command, 1975-1977; Commissioner of Police, Bendel State Police Command, 1977-1980. He was promoted Assistant Inspector General of Police on April 15, 1981 and appointed the Inspector General of Police, Nigeria Police Force, 1984-1986.
He also served as a member of the Supreme Military Council (SMC), 1984-1985; reappointed member, Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC), August 1985—October 1986. Inyang retired voluntarily from the Nigeria Police Force in October 1986.
During his service years, he established and headed the International Criminal Police Organisation and International Police Organisation (ICPO/INTERPOL), 1961-1971. He also played a leading role in the establishment of the Traffic Warden Service and the Police Medical Service, in 1974. He was the Deputy Chairman, Constitution Review Committee (CRC), Abuja, September, 1987-March, 1988.
He was the Patron of Oron Development Union, 1987. His traditional titles include the Ikpoto of Oron; the Ada Idaha Ke Eburutu of Calabar. His numerous awards include the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON); Nigerian Independence Medal (NIM), 1960; Nigeria Police Long Service Medal (NPLSM), 1972; Nigeria Police Meritorious Service Medal (NPMSM), 1974; and General Service Medal (GSM).
Inyang contributed so much to the development of the Nigeria Police Force. He headed the Force during the turbulent period of the renowned armed robbery kingpin, Lawrence Anini, who terrorised the old Bendel State before the police busted his gang.
For his meritorious services to Nigeria during his distinguished career in the Force, we advise the government to immortalise him.
We commiserate with the Nigeria Police Force, the Federal Government, Akwa Ibom State Government and his family on his demise. May God grant him a sweet repose.