Re: IGP’s Scorecard: How Abubakar’s Police Shut Out South (The Sun Dec 25, 2013)…….About The Sun Story and Unbiased Reporting
By Seyi Oduyela/Washington DC
The media have crucial role to play in presenting the facts, bringing out the arguments and generating in-depth knowledge and perspectives that spark ordinary people to action
The role of the media is no doubt critical in promoting good governance and presenting the truth to the public. The media does not only raises public awareness about bad governance, corrupt practices, causes, consequences and possible remedies but also investigates and reports incidences of corruption aiding other over sight bodies.
A critical element of a country’s anti-corruption program primarily should be an effective media; and the effectiveness of the media depends on access to information and freedom of expression, as well as a professional and ethical cadre of investigative journalists. The corrupting of the media mission through excessive reliance on advertisers and sponsors is one of the major problems in Nigeria and Africa in general, where political manipulation remains a more powerful influence, but increasing commercialization carriers with it real.
Ordinarily, It is not in my character to respond to feature articles written by “Our Correspondent,” but based on the following reasons, I felt compelled to respond to this article:
- Without being judgmental, I think the writer of this article and the editor left a lasting impression that there is a tribal agenda behind this writing. This was so clear because of the one-sided approach and some misrepresentations.
- From personal experience during my recent visits to Nigeria which is based on personal encounter and interactions with people within the police and outside the police force, I think some of the issues raised in this article fell short of constructive criticism and professionalism. I visited Nigeria after 9 years in June 2012 and drove for 14 days out of my 16-day stay and I can boldly say that there were no road blocks. I was never stopped by police throughout my stay. I drove from Lagos to Ibadan, to Abeokuta and Ijebu area, sometimes till 9pm without any police harassments.
First, may be this is deliberate; the cover picture in the article did not represent the current rank of the Inspector General of Police.
Let me start to address some of these issues.
Second Term Gamble
There is nothing in this article with evidence that Mr. Abubakar was the master mind of the Niger Delta gathering, while there is nothing wrong in the man showing off what he has accomplished as the IGP. My enquiry revealed that a group of people called “Friends of MD Abubakar” organized the Niger Delta gathering just like the one organized in Lagos earlier in the year to celebrate his first year in office which the IGP could not attend. So the mention of this in connection with second term agenda appears to be a misinterpretation.
Security Cars for President.
The cars may have just be presented, I am sure the writer of this article( if he is truly a crime correspondent) will know and attest to the fact that the cars were acquired since March 2012 and not for the purpose that the writer claimed. All the principal officers- President, VP, Senate President, and the Speakers got their security cars changed. I was wondering why the author left the issue of cars given to all retired IGPs with special numbers, and for raising the standard of vehicles allocated to AIGs when he gave them Toyota Prado SUVs as official cars.
I am not sure when it has become a crime for an incumbent IGP to identify someone who he believes will continue the good works he has been doing. The problem with the Police, from my observation, has been lack of quality continuity. From the time of Tafa Balogun, the Police have been experiencing the inconsistency in leadership policies. Tafa Balogun came with “Fire-for-Fire” Sunday Ehindero, who succeeded him, changed the policy to “To serve and protect with integrity.” Ehindero’s successor, Mike Okiro dumped Ehindero’s program to launch his own while Onovo also came up with something different. The last time the Nigeria police enjoyed smooth transition and continuity was when Coomasie handed over to Musiliu Smith. Rather than covering this with political garb because of the obvious intention of the writer, this should have been seen as a welcome idea.
The article prompted me to look into the dossier of AIG Abba and I discovered that rooting Abba as possible successor won’t be a bad choice after all. I remember that as a reporter for Tempo magazine in 2000, ACP Abba was the AC CID that personally led the team that arrested the millionaire armed robbers terrorizing Abuja then. Shortly after that he moved on as the Deputy Force Secretary where he was able to assist in redefining the administrative structure of the Force Secretary’s Office.
As the CP River State Abba ensured that all monthly allocation for the commands get to all divisions and department to enable them carry out their police duties. A DPO who claimed to have served under Abba in River State confirmed that he (Abba) helped to alleviate their logistic problems in River State which was not the case in other commands.
Abba rejuvenated “Swift Operation Squad” making the State government to provide logistics- vehicles, allowances, bullet-proof vests and arms and ammunitions for the command. The outfit as at today is dysfunctional due to the problem (political) between the state governor and the present CP in River State which has led to increase in crime rates in the Niger Delta State.
As the AIG Zone 7- Abuja, Kaduna and Niger, Abba has succeeded in reducing crime in their three states.
I know that the position of the IGP requires someone with both administrative and operational experience and since Abba seems to have these, what stops him from succeeding MD Abubakar. I am not saying that Abba is the only one with such record presently in the police force but if we are looking for the next IGP based on these charismatic qualities, then it should be based on competency and not on some CPs holding nocturnal meeting with the president’s wife in the Villa or on some ethnic consideration.
I think, as journalists, we should be very careful of misinformation and outright lies. If the writer mentioned earlier that Abubakar established Mortgage bank for the police, how then did he not take into consideration the welfare of his men and women? For the purpose of integrity, it would have been great if the writer had mentioned just one family member of Police officers killed by Boko Haram who is yet to be compensated by the Police. Failure to do this, it might appear that the article was just feeding his/her audience with gist from pepper soup and beer parlor. I am not sure the article writer knew that recently some police officers in the FCT were suspended for allegedly selling uniforms to rank and file. The Police under Abubakar started the Mortgage bank for the benefit of police rank and file and I think the information that the housing scheme goes for 22 Million naira may not be very accurate. There are houses in Abuja that are sold for 7 million naira and the purpose of the mortgage bank is to assist police rank and file for financing. The housing scheme at Idimu in Lagos is being sold for 8 Million naira and 70% for those houses are reserved for Inspectors and rank and file.
Are there officers who have been denied their promotions, or skipped during the promotion exercises?
I am very sure that the author of the article is aware of the fact that the present promotion process in the Nigeria police is a product of quota system which has been there for a long time. For example, in the case of the DIGs, apart from Suleiman Fakai and Atiku Kafur, others are beneficiaries of special system. They were promoted to represent their geo-political zones- Akpoyibo (Delta), Akano (Osun), Udoji (Abia), and Peter Gana (Niger). They were all promoted from the position of Commissioner of Police to Deputy Inspector Generals of Police respectively as result of quota system. They all skipped the Assistant Inspector General of Police ranks.
Biased AIG Appointments
It is either the source here is lying to the author of this article or the author made this up. All those who were promoted got promoted based on seniority. A good investigative journalist, without biases or agenda would have verified information from different sources and not rely of just one party.
Rather than looking at the postings as some getting juicy postings based on their tribes, why not look at the efficiency. The argument here would have made more sense if those posted to those areas have been incompetent that would have been good supporting evidence to the claim of nepotism but the author failed to establish that. May I also wonder why a news media would be promoting a sectional ideology? Those who are CPs today got there through quota system that has been there for long which were not the making of the present IGP. However, what I expected the author of the article to ask is why the IGP has not called the CP River State to order. It appears CP Mbu’s actions have been more of political maneuvering than that of the constitutional role of the police in being neutral while performing their duty. It seems as if the CP River State is out of the control of the IGP. The role of the CP River State in the present impasse between the president and the Governor of River State is putting the Nigeria Police in a bad light before the public.
As a result of the IGP’s in ability to call the CP River State to order, he appears to be losing some of the support and goodwill of most of his civilian admirers and officers and men in the force.
I wonder who and where the author of the article got his information. The MOPOL Commanders were not all appointed by the present IGP. The present IGP appointed only three Commanders- MOPOL 20- Lagos, (a Yoruba Christian); MOPOL 33-Ekiti (a Christian the South-South) and MOPOL 48-Ahoada, River State (Kano State). IGP Abubakar is still maintaining the Commanders he inherited from his predecessor. What I was expecting from the author was a criticism of the IGP in failing to remove over-stayed Commanders and inefficient ones if any.
For the first time, Nigeria Police now competes on the same level with other law enforcement agencies in Nigeria. Take the Special Fraud Unit for example; the Unit has been able to show that it can do better what EFCC and ICPC cannot do. The man, Abubakar, though with his faults has succeeded in making sure that the Police rise to its constitutional duties, evident in the successes of the Special Fraud Unit in combating crimes. Though the SFU does not receive the same funding as EFCC and ICPC the unit has been able to do more with the little resources it has.
It is interesting to mention that the renovation of the Force headquarters in Abuja and Police College Kaduna, were done by MD Abubakar’s friends not from Police allocation. Also it is to the IGP’s credit that the moribund Police Day that was last celebrated in 19976 was resuscitated and celebrated in March 2013. He created Police Hall of Fame to honor police officers and men for their service and a Police Museum is in progress now.
What I noticed that baffled me was that the writer did not present Mr. Abubakar’s side of the story or attempt to speak with the Force PRO. Despite all the allegations, Abubakar was not given the opportunity to defend himself and the writer did not indicate any failed attempts to speak with the IGP or the Force PRO.
For the sake of integrity, an opinionated article should not be presented to the public as an investigative one. This article should have been subjected to serious editorial scrutiny or at best presented as an advertorial.