It is already 365 (one year) since President Muhammadu Buhari accented to the retirement of over a dozen top police officers to make way for Mr. Idris Kpotum Ibrahim to become the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
The appointment was not pleasing to many, as they saw the retirement of the top brilliant officers as unhealthy. Some of them were also eyeing the top position. This made a retired IGP to complain bitterly to the president in writing, expressing his dissatisfaction and pointed at the implications.
To some observers of the police force, the one year of IGP Idris could be likened to a baby who is learning how to walk, as each step comes with a staggering fall, but having a concerned parent makes it easier as they come handy each time the baby takes a faulty step. To many others, the IGP has made some remarkable progress and should be commended for advertising signs of better steps to be taken in reshaping the Nigeria Police into an internationally acceptable security institution, by policing with integrity in line with the rule of law. Although some of his policies are rather belated, it is better late than never.
From all indications, it has become very clear that ldris’ foresightedness has helped him not to jettison the Abba Kyari platform created by his predecessor, the wise Solomon Arase. Leveraging on the platform and re-naming it the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) is like re-clothing a Tiger, its actions would still expose its true nature. By the way, of what effect is the re-naming of existing units or functional department? It only shows lack of better alternative ideas.
In one year, it has become very clear that the baby is gradually finding its footing but the legs are still maturing to be able to carry the growing weight of his body. ldris’ policy guideline says he shall respect diversity, display courage, show compassion and demonstrate professionalism; unfortunately, his failure to arrest the hate-speech suspects, the Arewa youths, speaks volumes.
It seems his vision is gradually getting clearer, as his administration is already showing signs of what a good leader is all about. Where most lGPs fail is in their erroneous bid to undermine other sectors of the police force by not imputing on the vastness of the organisation.
Among the areas that can be scrutinised to measure where the IGP intends to go are his policies, utterances and operational plans and output. Oftentimes, it has always been much talk or media hype with no results. In the eyes of the public, it is the daily operational activities of the police that form the basis for judgement, like the commendable crackdown on the notorious and evasive kidnappers, Evans and Vampire. These feats are not uncommon with the Nigeria Police. Oftentimes, it is when there is public outcry of insecurity that such victories are recorded. Why must it be so? What happened to intelligence and public cooperation with the police?
Years back, it took a while before notorious armed robbers like Shina Rambo, Anini, Oyenusi and Alhaji Tijanni of Benin Republic were arrested. Arresting criminals is the constitutional duty of the police, so while being commended with one hand, their ear must be drawn to the fact that there are more criminals to be detected and arrested.
On their part, police officers would score the IGP based on how he has been able to improve their welfare via promotions and international training of police officers, while the media would score him on his ability to open up the institution to public scrutiny with the new public complaint rapid response unit.
Idris’ “stubbornness” in not giving a listening ear to advice from other top security officers might be counter-productive, as no man is an island in security issues neither can anyone claim to be a repository of knowledge. Nigerians have not seen the result of the fight against corruption in the police, as it seems to be mere rhetoric, the case of a barking dog that cannot bite.
From available reports and evidence, the administrative initiatives of the IGP are gradually impacting positively on the entire spectrum of the Nigeria Police Force. His tenure has helped to position departments of the police to embrace the new policy thrust of the police leadership, which is in tandem with the present Change mantra of the government.
On the aspect of posting of officers to man state commands, there are perceptions that cronies of the lGP are more favoured, instead of looking at the capability, professionalism and competence of such an officer.
Operationally, IGP Idris is doing comparably well in his one year in office. Many of the cases of kidnapping that occurred during his tenure have been tackled, with the kidnapped being rescued as a result of police rescue strategies.
The success stories that followed the Edo and Ondo states governorship elections and the re-runs National Assembly elections in Imo, Kogi and Rivers States are commendable.
A good leader listens and addresses issues of concern to the people he is constitutionally appointed to provide security for. IGP Idris has shown early signs of doing well in this area. For instance, a report by the Amnesty International lambasted the police for some human rights abuse incidents. The IGP responded immediately and announced the creation of a Complaints Response Unit and a reform initiative for the SARS.