This writer was away in Cairo, Egypt, in 2019 when news filtered into the security community in Cairo that a new helmsman had been appointed to replace the incompetent 19th Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris. The new police chief was Mohammed Abubakar Adamu. Days after I wrote a piece in my column titled “My Cairo security observation,” a radio journalist with the popular Nile FM radio station interviewed me in Cairo, requesting that I speak about the new Nigerian police chief. Some of the content of my information about Adamu formed part of my first piece in my column, titled “A Daniel has come to judgement.”
The Egyptian journalist probed to know why I described Adamu like that. I recalled as I enthusiastically explained that Nigerians were fed up with his predecessor and he represented a new broom that would sweep away the rot created by his predecessor. Adamu, many had envisaged, would bring to an end the incessant criminality that had stained the reputation of Nigeria just as corruption and terrorism were almost tearing the image of the country apart. However, midway into his administration, this writer had already returned to Nigeria and did a cursory assessment in what was titled “One year appraisal of IGP Adamu.”
The assessment spanned from January 15, 2019, to January 15, 2020. When he took over from Ibrahim Idris, the level of insecurity was at its peak. Killer herdsmen, bandits and vicious kidnappers were on rampage in virtually all the states and the Federal Capital Territory. The elite, religious leaders and ordinary Nigerians were not spared along the highways. Adamu’s experience as an Interpol top-notcher propelled him to immediately put on his thinking cap.
Unfortunately, Adamu did not know the gravity of the rot left behind by his runaway predecessor, who had polluted the police system, before he was appointed. The truth blasted him and his management team in the face and there were cries of “help, help!” from innocent members of the public who were daily being kidnapped like fowls. There and then, Adamu realized that the office he was occupying was not for tea party. Impressively, Adamu changed his security strategy and, from the blues, on April 5, 2019, a security exercise codenamed Operation Puff Adder was launched. It was to be an answer to the excesses of the marauding criminals.
Puff Adder was to be a special proactive and intelligence-led police operation aimed to rid Kaduna-Abuja Expressway, Kogi, Katsina, Niger, and Zamfara states of crime. Before Nigerians could come to realise the effectiveness of the new security strategy, it led to the arrest of over 1,527kidnappers, 2,627armed robbers, 758 murder suspects, and 1,621 cultists, and also recovered over 2,037 assorted firearms, while 945 kidnap victims were rescued and 1,662 stolen vehicles recovered.
Adamu was not yet done. He was now spitting fire in every direction. Yanking off state police commissioners that could not fit into his new dream of a secured country, Adamu was having sleepless nights, researching on better strategies to better enhance security in the country. Coincidentally, that was the period the President, who was had travelled out of the country, returned. At the airport, where all the service chiefs were on hand to welcome him, the President sighted Adamu in company with other service chiefs and drew their attention to the attenuating stature of the IGP, describing him as “lean” while working very hard.
Adamu was making his mark. He further noticed that a man does not live by working alone, so he started pushing for abetter welfare of police personnel.
It is a truism that, out of every 12, there must be a Judas. So, Adamu did not spare the rod of discipline on any erring police officer, as many of them were shown the way out of the police system. As the 20th indigenous IGP, Adamu started relating better with all past IGPs in a bid to tap from their wealth of experience, and this paid off in the way and manner he related with traditional rulers, politicians and leaders of other security services.
As the results emerged from the operational adventures of Operation Puff Adder, Adamu further gave more teeth to other operational squads within the police: the tactical police departments, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Special Tactical Squad (STS), Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU), and the dreaded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
All were re-energised to carry out major police operations by checkmating the activities of violent criminals around the country.
However, while all his attention was on how to strengthen the police, he allowed himself to be distracted. When a leader loses focus while embarking on a national assignment, many issues would be neglected, as it happened during the recruitment saga between the Force Headquarters under Adamu and the Police Service Commission. The tug-of-war was merely to see who blinked first. The distraction cost the nation sleepless nights as the media feasted on the situation. This offered criminals tme to feather their nest. By the time both sheathed their swords, many innocent Nigerians had been kidnapped. Newspaper headlines were rife with stories of insecurity. Because there was distraction, the police were either stepping on the big toes of other security agencies or the police were on the receiving end. One of such instances was the unfortunate shooting of police officers on duty to arrest a kidnap kingpin in Taraba State, as well as the police clash with men of the Civil Defence Corps in Lagos. These infringements were diversionary and unnecessary.
Many still regard Adamu as a very committed, quiet and soft-spoken officer who wants to leave a legacy.
(To be continued)
Turn in your resignation letter
It must have come as a surprise to many when the news broke Tuesday, January 27, 2021, that all the service chiefs had turned in their resignation letters to their Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari. This exercise brings to an end the long public demand for their removal, from restive civil rights agitators to federal legislators, traditional rulers and most northern governors. In fact, the demand for their removal became a sing-song on all the electronic media across the country. It was as if some spirits were beating the drums for the agitators to intensify their demands for their removal from office.
The President must have been inundated with these clarion calls, which were becoming deafening, such that, for the first time, he was so overwhelmed with the people’s demands that he had no other option than to capitulate and asked them to turn in their resignation letters.
(To be continued)