Prior to January 15, 2019, the name Mohammed Abubakar Adamu did not ring a bell among many Nigerians. One year on, the story has changed, as almost every household in the country is familiar with not just the name but also the face of the Inspector-General of Police, M.A. Adamu, NPM, mni. But then, who is Mohammed Abubakar Adamu? And how well has he fared in the task of policing Nigeria within his one year in office as the 20th indigenous IGP?
While many police officers are fit for employment only in Nigeria, IGP Adamu is eminently qualified for employment as a law enforcement officer anywhere in the world. In addition to his vast policing experience within Nigeria, he also has in his kitty robust international law enforcement experience garnered while he was on secondment to the International Criminal Police (INTERPOL) Secretariat, Lyon, France, between 1997 and 2002. While at the INTERPOL, he served as a specialised officer on economic and financial crimes, a position he held creditably well, leading to numerous promotions and commendations, culminating in his appointment as a full-fledged director in charge of the African sub-directorate at the secretariat.
Today, he holds the record as the first African to be made a director in the over 82 years of the INTERPOL. IGP Adamu has led several criminal investigations for Nigeria in the United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc. To make him perfectly global, IGP Adamu, in addition to speaking Hausa and other Nigerian languages, speaks English and French fluently.
An erudite and cerebral cop
IGP Adamu holds a B.Sc (Hons) degree in Geography from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1983), and a master’s degree in International Criminal Justice System from the University of Portsmouth, UK (2018). He is a proud alumnus of the prestigious National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, Plateau State, where he graduated as a member of the Senior Executive Course 38 in 2017. In recognition of his international professional exposure, the Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, awarded IGP Adamu an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in International Relations. Other courses he has attended include Advanced Detective Course at the Police Staff College, Jos; Financial Crimes Course at the International Training Institute of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington DC; Criminal Analysis Course at the Ecole National Seperieure de la Police (ESPN), Saint Cyr Au Mont dor, Lyon, France; Senior Management Development and Planning Course, and the Staff Assessment Course, both at the INTERPOL headquarters in Lyon.
A dynamic and pro-technology cop
It is a well-known fact that no police force can function optimally without modern tools for crime prevention and detection, especially state-of-the-art communication and database management. This has made IGP Adamu champion the cause of providing for the Nigeria Police Force a modern Joint Command and Control Centre (JCC) that enables the force get live feeds from special surveillance vehicles strategically positioned at scenes of incidents anywhere in the country. In addition to this, all security agencies in the country have representation at the JCC and work in harmony to ensure a crime-free country. Also, the first of its kind, the Nigeria Police Force Crime and Incident Database was also established within one year of the IGP taking office. Now, not only will criminals be profiled and run through the database during subsequent arrests, employers can do thorough background checks of would-be employees. Furthermore, IGP Adamu purchased for the force 217 tactical vehicles with advanced capabilities for surveillance, crime-fighting and detection, and crowd management. The new patrol vehicles can be described as smart police vehicles with on-the-move CCTV cameras. All these have further enhanced the capacity of the police, thereby boosting the morale of the workforce.
Dogged crime fighter
On April 5, 2019, shortly after assuming office, IGP Adamu launched a security exercise, codenamed Operation Puff Adder, a special proactive and intelligence-driven police operation designed at reclaiming the landscape from criminals through the massive deployment of well-trained, well-equipped, and motivated personnel and operational assets, especially in the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway axis, Kogi, Katsina, Niger and Zamfara states. In the past one year, Operation Puff Adder, supported by other tactical police departments such as the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Special Tactical Squad (STS), Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) and Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) carried out major police operations aimed at checkmating the activities of violent criminals. In the year under review, these concerted efforts have led to the arrest of over 1,527 kidnappers, 2,627 armed robbers, 758 murder suspects and 1,621 cultists; recovery of over 2,037 assorted firearms; rescue of 945 kidnap victims; and recovery of 1,662 stolen vehicles. Now, there is evident respite on the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway, while Zamfara State, which had hitherto become a killing field, has regained its lost glory as a peaceful state.
The crime rate across the country has been stabilised, while the IGP is currently working with other stakeholders and security agencies to further improve on security within Nigeria.
Mop-up of illicit weapons
Under his tenure, IGP Adamu initiated and implemented an initiative aimed at mopping up illegal weapons across the country. This initiative paid off on May 25, 2019, with the arrest of a notorious transnational firearms/ammunition smuggling syndicate in Oyo State and the recovery of 6,000 rounds of AK47 ammunition and several AK47 rifles. Several other arms smuggling syndicates were later smashed by the police.
In the year under review, a total of 2,037 sophisticated firearms and two rocket launchers were recovered from criminal elements; while 21,870 rounds of live ammunition were also recovered across the country.
Successful conduct of national elections
IGP Adamu came on board a few weeks to the February 16, 2019, general election. Due to the proximity between the time of appointment and the date for the elections, cynics and naysayers doubted his ability to deliver on the successful policing of the electoral process. In his inaugural speech, however, IGP Adamu promised to “work with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and sister security agencies in guaranteeing a peaceful and secure space for all political parties and citizens to freely exercise their electoral rights.”
He equally assured the nation of the determination of the force to play its role “fairly but firmly towards guaranteeing a peaceful electoral process and a credible outcome.” He promised to provide a level playing field for all political parties and their candidates during the elections. He did exactly that. The simplest and best way to sum up his performance in the election is to say he lived up to every of his words!
Passionate advocate of community policing
Perhaps, no one believes in community policing more than IGP Adamu. In his determination to fully engage the people in the successful policing of the country, the IGP worked with state governors and other stakeholders to organise “regional” security summits across the different geopolitical zones in the country and personally assessed security deployments in the areas visited. So far, the summit has been successfully held in four geopolitical zones, while those in the South-East and North-Central will hold anytime soon. The IGP is equally implementing the Community Policing Concept, which involves the engagement of 40,000 citizens in the interim as Community Policing Officers (CPOs) to perform low-risk and non-sensitive law enforcement functions. This is to be followed by a soon-to-be-rolled out School Visitation Programme – an initiative aimed at meeting with primary and secondary school pupils/students and giving them early warning on the dangers of crime. It is hoped that this strategy will cut the supply chain of would-be criminals and help nurture our youths from the cradle.
Perhaps of greatest importance in the area of community policing is the nationwide launch of the Police Campaign against Cultism and other Vices (POCACOV), a programme, as the name implies, designed to engage students, youths, guardians, parents, religious leaders, community elders, etc, in the joint fight to drive cultism and other vices to the barest minimum within the Nigerian society.
Passion for staff welfare
On assumption of office, the IGP made it clear in his inaugural speech that the welfare of his officers would be one of the major focuses of his administration. This he has done by recommending to the Police Service Commission nothing less than 5,000 officers that are due for promotion to their next ranks. He has equally ensured that the heavy backlog of promotion arrears, from 2012, were cleared, while all outstanding burial expenses from 2013 and all insurance benefits to next of kin have been duly paid. In the same vein, the IGP has ensured the continuation of the yearly recruitment of 10,000 constables, an initiative that will improve the police-citizen ratio and alleviate the stress on the workforce.
Mobilising international support against crime
Under IGP Adamu, the Nigeria Police Force set a record of hosting for the first time the West Africa Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO), a meeting where transnational security issues affecting the West African sub-region were discussed. The IGP equally hosted for the first time in the country the INTERPOL Week, a meeting of the International Criminal Police. It was at this all-important occasion, again for the first time in the history of the country, that the IGP gave the Nigerian Immigration Service full access codes to the Interpol 1-24/7 Global Communication System – a communication system that helps in the tracking of wanted persons across the globe. In both meetings, the IGP successfully galvanized regional and international support against organised and transnational crimes. These international collaborations have helped a great deal in combatting arms trafficking, cross-border car theft, cattle rustling and terror financing, among others.
The present police administration is determined to remain focused in the discharge of its statutory duties. This will be better achieved with the expected implementation of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari. It is anticipated that, with the additional inflow of funds from the fund, the Nigeria Police will be better equipped and trained to face the challenges of 21st century policing. Nigerians from all walks of life are, therefore, called upon to continue to support the Nigeria Police Force in its sacred and important task of providing safety and security for all Nigerians.
•Mba is a Deputy Commissioner of Police and the Force Public Relations Officer