The police is a profession of service, performance, dedication, patriotism and integrity. Performance speaks for the officer each time he or she is involved in the act of policing. Many who got recruited into the lower ranks or enlisted as officers leave indelible marks wherever they serve, while others are an anathema to themselves and the institution.
Policing can be described as ‘one hell of a job,’ considering a terrain like Nigeria, where society is not too friendly and many people make hate comments about the men in uniform, except when they need their service. However, the story is not so gloomy because while many officers have dents either due to their own selfishness or based on societal dislike, many others have also received commendation and awards for great performance on and off duty as policemen and women. Life is all about performance based on integrity. It is either your performance is not noticed by your constituency or it is appreciated by members of the public that have been watching your daily actions. Like every student for whom there is a day for evaluation of performance by way of examination, it is the same with policemen as their superiors assess and write reports on their performance.
It is in this light that Security File considered it very appropriate not to only appreciate but place on record the outstanding performance of some serving police commissioners in charge of state commands across Nigeria. Subsequently, a survey was carried out and questionnaires issued by this writer and many practicing and retired security professionals, including security-cum-crime writers, were interviewed. At the end, the names of these seven police commissioners resonated in all the lists sent in: Fatai Owoseni of Lagos State, Leye Oyebade of Abia Sate, Bashir Makamma of Benue State, Sam Okaula of Anambra State, Taiwo Lakanu of Imo State, Mrs. Peace Ibekwe Hamdallah of Ebonyi State and Bolaji Odesanya of Rivers State. These seven police officers have gallantly exhibited traits of dedication, patriotism and outstanding integrity. They have stood up for justice and strictly adhered to global policing standards by upholding the rights of every arrested suspect and with zero tolerance for corruption.
These commissioners have sacrificed their sleep to ensure safety and peaceful environment for the people. They have tasked their brain to device strategies to confront kidnappers, cult members, robbers and other criminals in their states. Each of the commissioners has a long list of achievements that stand out as a testimonial. Some of them are oblivious of the media but believe in doing their job to serve the society. It is high time that the police authorities created a platform to appreciate officers like these and openly commend them before members of the society. Their achievements since their posting have been from one operational success to another.
A classical example is that of Owoseni, who entered Lagos State like a new “cork” that was not accepted by the Lagos media but after few weeks stunned everyone like one of his predecessors, Marvel Akpoyobo, with his precession in crime fighting. At the last count, three of his deputies were promoted to the next rank, a feat that is uncommon in the history of the police. This is very impressive. All the criminal cases his command has foiled are front-page news in the state.
The only woman commissioner, Mrs. Hamdalah, a sound, intelligence officer, she was the first female officer to be in charge of the IGP’s monitoring team and a known investigation officer at Alagbon, who has been stinging criminals in Ebonyi State without looking back. The truth is that, though crime may occur, the swiftness and operational accuracy in tackling crime and getting results makes members of the public to nod their heads in appreciation. It is observed that over 80 per cent of all police achievements never get mentioned or see the light of the day in newspapers or the electronic media.
Commissioners like Okaula of Anambra State and Odesanya of Rivers have not left anyone in doubt of what stuff they are made of. Take Okaula, who stormed the hideout of robbers in Anambra a few days after setting foot in the state, he is a no-nonsense officer, the former officer in-charge of the Ikeja Special Anti-robbery squad (SARS). He made his mark in Kwara before his posting to Anambra State. Today, the fear of commissioners like Okaula and Lakanu is the beginning of wisdom for criminals in these states. Lakanu has been a known face since his days as the commander of “notorious” Area ‘F’ command in Lagos. You know a good commissioner by his humility and action-packed disposition, exposure and integrity. The story was told of Lagos State Commissioner Owoseni, who stopped his convoy and helped an accident victim on his way to his office. The story was also told of Mrs. Hamdalah who provided succour for a robbery victim and went all out for the suspect.
All the commissioners listed have wonderfully exhibited exemplary traits as officers who fear God and love humanity. These officers have become shining lights and examples to their subordinates in all ramifications. While researching on them, it was discovered that they all exhibited the characteristics of focused and passionate officers notwithstanding the state they were commanding. For instance, Makamma, who is 100 days in office as the commissioner of police in Benue State, has been described as one doing a yeoman’s job in curbing the menace of herdsmen in the state. A retired commissioner of police, Mr. Abubakar Tsav, described him thus: “He was posted after the herdsmen’s invasion of Agatu village and other volatile areas of the state, since his arrival, he has not rested but has been doing marvellously well. Today, the state is calm, all because of his strategies.”