FROM every indication, Muhammad Adamu, the 20th Inspector-General of Police (IGP), who ought to have stepped down and handed over to a new appointee, was transfixed in the office as at 12 noon on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, thereby creating a constitutional breach never experienced in the history of the Nigeria Police.
Many blame the President and Commander- in-Chief, who had signed into law the new Police Act that stipulates there would be no extension of tenure for any IGP after serving 35 years or clock- ing 65 years of age. Two days after his stipulated retirement, Adamu, by his refusal to hand over, has thrown a blanket of surprise on the faces of the police institution and and members of the public.
Unfortunately, Adamu’s later years have been clouded in poor administrative impact on the po- lice. At the forefront was lack of supervision, which is the hallmark of a successful security administra- tion. The concluding part of his tenure was smeared with gross distraction from his constitutional
role as the chief protector of the masses. First, he inherited the #EndSARS agitation, which, like a python whose tail was cut off but later regenerated, swallowed its attacker. The IGP’s visionless istration gave the #EndSARS protesters and hoodlums who hijacked the agitation the ample opportunity to create mayhem around the country, destroying property roughly estimated at several billions of naira while many citizens, including police officers, died.
Adamu clearly exhibited the trait of a man stung by bees and instantly he abandoned most of his travelling bags and flew into safety. Apart from the lackadaisical attitude before and dur- ing the #EndSARS agitation, nothing concrete was done to avert the deaths and damage the police and the country incurred as a result of the agitation that snowball into a national disgrace.
Apart from the fact that, operationally, Adamu did not fare well, many blamed the President who did not consult wider before appointing him, knowing that he was never an operational officer but an investigator.
As for his “Operation Puff Adder,” which many described as a borrowed idea of the mili- tary’s “Operation Python Damce,” apart from its initial bite, the puff adders Adamu unleashed on kidnappers were compromised and the usual inefficiency and lack of supervision crippled the operation to the extent that even bandits had a field day killing police officers travelling in the North.
Record shows that a total of 101 police of- ficers and men were killed in the line of duty in Nigeria in 2019. More disturbing was the almost non-existence of the “elite force,” the Mobile Police, on the roads or highways. Suddenly, Nigerians could no longer feel nor see Mobile Police personnel protecting them, instead they have been engaged to protect only those in gov- ernment or rich personalities in society.
In May last year, Adamu embarked on what he described as “new strategies to stem the rising tide of criminalities in Nigeria.” This was disclosed by the police spokesman, CP Frank Mbah, who explained that “the police will em- ploy undercover activities, decoy operations and
high-level tactical missions.”
He added that “officers from the police unit,
the Force Intelligence Unit, the Special Anti-Rob- bery Squad (SARS), the Special Anti-kidnapping Squad and the Police Tactical Unit, comprising the Police Mobile Force, the Counter-Terrorism Unit and the Special Forces, will be instrumental in the new scope of operations.”
Every of these operational strategies was aimed at reducing the crime rate, especially kidnapping. Unfortunately, the kidnapping tempo is yet to abate as more Nigerians and even serving police officers were among those kidnapped last year. Even the counter-terrorism squad exhibited abys- mal failure, with the daily attacks unleashed on many communities in the country by the Fulani herdsmen and terrorist-bandits.
Security experts are surprised that the police nearly abdicated their constitutional responsibility to the military in combating internal insecurity, which is specifically the constitutional mandate assigned to the police.
The IGP’s reharshed strategies never met
the desired goal, as those alleged to have been arrested were never charged to court with the same media glee when they were arrested.
The copy-and-paste syndrome during Adamu’s administration further made the police institution a laughing stock. For instance, the establishment of SWAT, an American special police squad, was meant to replace the SARS, yet the idea did not fit in well, and it looks like a dead strategy. Also, the reintroduced community police, initially estab- lished during the tenure of IGP Tafa Balogun, is experiencing its own hiccups.
When a leader surrounds himself with job seek- ers and retired officers who have nothing to offer the institution, the result is always catastrophic di- saster as initiative is always at zero level. The Nige- ria Police has become a testing ground for leaders without any vision for the security of the country. Nigerians are yearning for a police institution
that has a “human face,” whose leader would be a
thoroughbred officer, morally upright, disciplined, professionally up-to-date and with no blemish in his record. The two last police administrations have not impacted positively on the growth of the police. Mass promotion of policemen and women has nothing to do with improving the institution on the one hand and the public assessment of the police on the other hand.
The police force needs IGPs like the late Etim In- yang and M.D. Abubakar who would not post men to beats without provision for their welfare and monitoring their activities. The police need skillful IGPs like Tafa Balogun, the late Gambo Jimeta, Suleiman Abba and Sir Mike Okiro. The Nigeria Police Force needs a professionally sound IGPs with integrity and vision like IGPs Solomon Arase, Aliyu Attah, and the late Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie.
The general clamour for either ethnic or religious considerations has not helped in improv- ing the standard of policing, no wonder during Adamu’s administration ethnic and religious considerations were uppermost in recruitment of new recruits and posting of state commissioners in the eastern, western and South-South states of the country. The recent disclosure by Hajatu Muham- mad a serving board member of the Police Service Commission (PSC) on a radio station, painting a picture of gross professional ineptitude around the police authorities under Adamu leaves much to be desired.
Frankly, the way the police force is being run, by attracting castigations from governors, members of the public, civil society groups and international bodies, there can be only one conclusion: Nigeria has a dire need to completely restructure the police, decentralizing the institution through the creation of state police system.