Police reorganisation committee inaugurated by Vice President Sambo

On 17 February, Vice President Namadi Sambo inaugurated a committee to re-organise the Nigeria Police Force, headed by Chief Parry Osayande.

Speaking at the inauguration, VP Sambo said the task of the committee would be to “redress the rot in the Nigeria Police Force and reposition it to face the challenges of democratic society, through the timely prevention and detection of crime in all its ramifications”.

The 8-member committee was constituted on 25 January, after President Goodluck Jonathan had sacked the former Inspector General of Police, Mr Hafiz Ringim, and his six deputies, following the embarrassing escape from police custody, of a key suspect in a Christmas Day bomb incident.

Its terms of reference as follows:

1.      To identify the challenges and factors militating against effective performance in the Nigeria Police Force and make recommendations for addressing the challenges.

2.      To examine the scope and standard of training and other personnel development activities in the Police to determine their adequacy or otherwise.

3.      To determine the general and specific causes of the collapse of public confidence in the police and recommend ways of restoring public trust in the institution.

4.      To examine records of performance of Officers and Men of the Nigeria Police Force with a view to identifying those that can no longer fit into the system due to declining productivity, age, indiscipline, corruption and/or disloyalty.

5.      To make any other recommendations for the improvement of the Nigeria Police Force.

Its chairman, Osayande, 76, a former deputy inspector general of police, had been chairman of the Police Service Commission since April 2008.

This is the sixth committee on police reform set up by the Federal Government in the last 17 years. There was a Police Reform Panel in 1995, a Vision 2010 committee in 1997, the Tamuno Committee in 2002, the Danmadami Police Reform Committee in 2006, and a Presidential Committee on the Reform of the Nigeria Police Force chaired by Alhaji M. D. Yusuf in 2008.

The Yusuf Committee, of which Osayande was a member, particularly lamented that the government had failed to implement the recommendations of previous committees. As it turned out, its own recommendations were again largely ignored since 2008, leading now to the Osayande committee!


SSS declares ex-soldier Habibu Bama wanted

On 15 February, the State Security Service (SSS) declared an ex-soldier, Habibu Bama, wanted.

A statement signed by the Deputy Director, Public Relations of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, said Bama is “wanted by the Federal Government in connection with crimes against the state”. The terse statement, which did not give further details, said that the wanted ex-soldier is a Kanuri, from Bama in Borno State.

The SSS said that Bama was known by other names such as ‘Habib Bama’, ‘Shuaibu Bama’, and ‘Habib Mamman’.

It implored members of the public with any information that could lead to his arrest to immediately contact the nearest police station, military formations or other security agencies.

Kabir Sokoto, Christmas Day bomb suspect, re-arrested by SSS

On 10 February, authorities in the Federal capital, Abuja, confirmed that the State Security Service (SSS) had re-arrested Mallam Kabir Umar Sokoto, the main suspect in the Christmas Day bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, in which 43 worshippers were killed.

Unofficial sources had earlier reported that the suspect was re-arrested by the SSS, in a small hut in Mutum Biu in Taraba State, close to the border with the Republic of Cameroon. Mr Reuben Abati, spokesman for The Presidency, later confirmed the arrest to some newsmen.

Kabir was first arrested by the police on 14 January, at the Borno State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja. He was handed over to a Commissioner of Police (CP), Mr Zakari Biu, for further investigations. 

On 15 January, the CP sent a small team of policemen in a Toyota truck, to take him to his residence in Abaji, a town in the Federal Capital Territory, for a search. As the team got into Abaji, some young men believed to be members of his group, attacked and overwhelmed them, and freed the suspect.

A statement by the Police Force Headquarters said the Police viewed that development as “serious negligence on the part of the Commissioner of Police” and therefore queried and suspended him from duty. It added that the CP might be prosecuted, if a criminal case was established against him and his team.

In the aftermath of Kabir’s dramatic escape, many Nigerians described it as a “national embarrassment” and “a shame”. The National Security Adviser, Gen. Owoye Azazi (retd), said it was “a regrettable drawback on our efforts” to fight terrorism in the country. Within the police top brass, several officers expressed muted displeasure at what they saw as a major bungle. Many citizens called on the Police chief, Mr Ringim, to either hand in his resignation or be fired by President Goodluck Jonathan.

On 18 January, at the instance of the President, the Minister of Police Affairs, retired Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, issued the police boss a query, asking him to explain within 24 hours, the circumstances surrounding the escape. The query also asked Ringim to show why he should not be punished for negligence, since the ultimate responsibility for keeping the suspect was his, as the nation’s Number One police officer.

On 19 January, the Police offered a reward of 50 million naira (about 309,600 USD) to anyone who could provide information that would lead to the recapture of the suspect. It is not known whether any informant contributed to the re-arrest of the suspect, but it is common knowledge that the embarrassment of his escape from police custody contributed to the sudden end of Mr Hafiz Ringim’s tenure as the nation’s police chief on 25 January 2012.

Abul Qaqa, Boko Haram spokesman, arrested by SSS

On 1 February, an official of the State Security Service (SSS) said the agency had arrested Abul Qaqa, the spokesman of the militant Islamist sect widely known as Boko Haram.

An unnamed official had initially told Reuters news agency that security operatives were still trying to confirm the identity of the man arrested.  He said: “We are still talking to him. Since ‘Abu Qaqa’ is a pseudonym for the Boko Haram spokesman, we want to be sure of who we have with us”.

However, a later statement by a top SSS officer in the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, confirmed the man arrested was actually the Boko Haram spokesman.

The officer said the man was arrested after security operatives had tracked signals from his mobile phone, using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. He further said the arrest of Qaqa, “a senior member of the Shura (Supreme Council) of the sect”, was “a landmark feat that was achieved through collaboration with various stakeholders”.

As there is yet no official report of this development, several accounts are emerging about how Qaqa was arrested. One source reports that he was arrested after security officials had traced the house he was staying in and that he was picked up without any exchange of gunfire with members of his group. Another account said he was seized while attempting to enter the Central Market in Kaduna. The SSS is expected to issue an official briefing that will clear up these contradictions.

Abul Qaqa had often spoken to journalists in the wake of bomb and gun attacks, claiming responsibility for several deadly incidents in the northern states and the federal capital, Abuja.

His most recent interaction with journalists was on 28 January, when he told some newsmen on phone, that security agents had arrested “many” members of his sect in Sokoto and demanded their “immediate and unconditional” release. He threatened that Boko Haram would attack Sokoto in the same manner as it bombed Kano city on 20 January, if the arrested men were not released.

One report said the arrested man is a Nigerian citizen, and that he is not from the far north of the country, but from central Kogi State, ethnically an Igala. This is yet to be confirmed by security authorities.

Wife of new Inspector General of Police Abubakar dies in Kano

On 30 January, Hajia Mariam Abubakar, wife of the newly appointed Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Mr Mohammed D. Abubakar, died at the age of 48.

Reports said Mrs Abubakar passed on in a hospital in Kano, at about 5 am. Some sources said she died of cancer, with which she had been battling for some time.

The Inspector General was in the Federal capital, Abuja, when his wife died, but rushed to Kano immediately he got the sad news.

Sympathizers thronged the Abubakar family house near the old Bank of the North building. The callers included police chiefs within the state and Abuja, prominent politicians and Muslim clerics who said special prayers for the repose of the late woman’s soul.

The late Hajia Abubakar was interred at Taurani Cemetery in Kano, at about noon, in accordance with Islamic rites.

In a condolence message to the IGP, President Goodluck Jonathan described Hajia Mariam’s death as “sad, painful and untimely”, especially coming just when her husband most needed her moral and emotional support in confronting the challenges of his new office.

In the statement issued by his spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, the President “lauded Hajia Mariam’s great concern for the welfare of the less privileged in the society, particularly orphans; and noted her several charity works even before she assumed her last position as President of the Police Officers’ Wives Association, POWA”.

The statement said: “The President, on behalf of the Federal Government, prayed Almighty Allah to grant the soul of Hajia Mariam eternal rest and grant her husband and family the strength to bear the irreplaceable loss”.

It also said the President had sent a four-man Federal Government delegation led by the Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade, to attend the burial and sympathise with the IGP and his family. Other members of the delegation were the Minister of Mines and Steel, Alhaji Musa Mohammed Sada; the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr Emeka Wogu; and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello Sali.

Supreme Court sacks five governors: Adamawa, Bayelsa, Cross River, Kogi and Sokoto affected

On 27 January, the Supreme Court sacked the governors of five states, namely Adamawa, Bayelsa, Cross River, Kogi and Sokoto, from office.

The affected governors are Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa), Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Ibrahim Idris (Kogi) and Magatakada Wamakko (Sokoto). They are all members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a unanimous decision, a 7-man panel of justices of the apex court chaired by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher, ruled that the affected governors had exceeded the four-year tenure stipulated in Section 180(2) of the 1999 constitution.

The judgment is in response to an appeal filed by the governorship candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Adamawa State, retired Brig Gen Buba Marwa, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The appellants had challenged the decision of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, which upheld the earlier decision of a Federal High Court extending the tenures of the five governors beyond 29 May 2011. The two lower courts had ruled that the tenures of the governors started to run from when they took their later oaths of office, following their victory in re-run elections, after their initial elections had been nullified.

In setting aside the judgments of the two lower courts, the Supreme Court held that the tenures of the governors started to count from the time they took their oaths of office after emerging winners in their respective state governorship elections in 2007 and not from when they took their second oaths of office after emerging winners of the re-run elections.

Following the judgment, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, issued a statement directing Speakers  in the  five states affected to take over and preside in acting capacity until fresh polls are conducted and new governors emerge.


Mr MOHAMMED ABUBAKAR, New Police chief. Courtesy: NAN

Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan, as Acting Inspector General of Police on 25 January 2012, was born in Gusau, Zamfara State, on 5 May 1958.

He enlisted as a Cadet Officer  in the Nigeria Police Force on 31 July 1979.

From 1991 to 1993, he read for and obtained an Advanced Diploma in Public Admininistration from Sokoto State Polytechnic, Sokoto. From 1995 to 1997, he again pursued and obtained a Diploma in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Lagos, Lagos. While on that course, he also obtained a Diploma in Disaster Management and Control from Isreal in 1996.

For his professional training, Abubakar undertook several courses in Nigeria and abroad.

These include: General Detective and Security Course with the Metropolitan Police, West Hendon, England (1982); Police Mobile Training in Malaysia (1983), Police Mobile Training at Gwoza, Borno State, Nigeria (1983), General Security and Intelligence Course at the Police Academy, Cairo, Egypt (1986), Basic Intelligence Course at Military Intelligence School, Badagry, Nigeria (1987); General Security and Anti-Terrorism Course with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the United States (1988-89); and the International Security Course 9 at University of Surrey, England (1991).

He also attended the Intermediate Command Course at the Police Staff College, Jos, Nigeria (1991); Senior Command Course at the Police Staff College, Jos, Nigeria (1995); General Security and Intelligence Course with the Israel Defence Force, Isreal (1996); Disater Management Course at Haifa, Israel (1996);  Senior Executive Course (SEC) 27 at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), in Kuru, near Jos, Nigeria (2005).

Since joining the Nigeria Police Force, Abubakar has held several appointments and positions. He was Assistant Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Sokoto Police Command (1991 – 1993); Assistant Commissioner of Police, Federal Operations, Force Headquarters, Lagos (1993); Assistant Commissioner of Police, Murtala Mohammed International Airport Police Command (1993-1995); Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Airport Police Command, Lagos (1995-1998) and Deputy Commissione of Police, Administration (and second in Command), Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja (1998-2000).

Abubakar has held command as Commissioner of Police in Plateau, Abia, Kwara, Kano and Lagos States. He was also Commissioner of Police, Airport Police Command, Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. In 2008, he was promoted Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) and posted to Zone 2 Command Headquarters, Laogos, comprising Lagos and Ogun States. He was also AIG Zone 5, Benin, comprising Edo, Delta and Bayelsa States. He was later posted to Zone 6, comprising Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Ebonyi States.

His most recent command, since 15 November 2011, was as AIG in charge of Zone 12 of the Police encompassing Bauchi, Borno and Yobe States.

Abubakar is a member of several professional bodies. These include the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), member International Association of Black Police Officers, Fellow of the International Institute of Professional Security (FIIPS), Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Economics (FCE), Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Local Government and Public Administration of Nigeria (FCIPA), Fellow of the Safety Management Institute (FSMI) and Life Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Industrial Security (LFNIS).

Through his years of service in the Police, Abubakar has received several commendations and awards. In 2007, he was decorated with the Nigeria Police Medal (NPM).

He is married and blessed with children.

President Jonathan sets up Special Committee towards urgent reorganization of Nigerian Police Force

Mr PARRY OSAYANDE, Chairman of the Special Committee

On 25 January, President Goodluck Jonathan established a Special Committee to oversee the urgent reorganization of the Nigeria Police Force.

The committee is to be chaired by the current Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Mr. Parry B.O. Osayande, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police.

The Committee’s other members are the following:

1.      Mr. Cashmir T. Akagbosu, AIG (rtd.), mni

2.      Mr. Bashir A. Albasu, AIG (rtd.), fwc.

3.      Major Gen. S.N. Chikwe (rtd), fwc.

4.      Professor S.D. Mukoro.

5.      Dr. Fabian Ajogwu, SAN.

6.      Aisha Larai Tukur.

7.      Solicitor General of the Federation.

8.      Permanent Secretary, SSO, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) who is to serve as Secretary to the Committee.

The statement further listed the committee’s terms of reference as follows:

1.      To identify the challenges and factors militating against effective performance in the Nigeria Police Force and make recommendations for addressing the challenges.

2.      To examine the scope and standard of training and other personnel development activities in the Police to determine their adequacy or otherwise.

3.      To determine the general and specific causes of the collapse of public confidence in the police and recommend ways of restoring public trust in the institution.

4.      To examine records of performance of Officers and Men of the Nigeria Police Force with a view to identifying those that can no longer fit into the system due to declining productivity, age, indiscipline, corruption and/or disloyalty.

5.      To make any other recommendations for the improvement of the Nigeria Police Force.

The statement added that the Committee’s recommendations shall be implemented along with those of previous committees set up by Government towards reforming of the Force.

President Jonathan fires Police chief Ringim, appoints AIG Abubakar as new IGP

HAFIZ RINGIM: Down and Out

On 25 January, President Goodluck Jonathan relieved Mr Hafiz Ringim of his post as Inspector General of Police, and approved the appointment of Mr. Mohammed D. Abubakar as new Acting Police Chief.

In a statement by Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), Jonathan also “approved the retirement” of all Deputy Inspectors General of Police (DIGs) with immediate effect.


Those affected by the “approval” are: Mrs. Ivy Uche Okoronkwo, DIG POL 2i/c Force Headquarters, Abuja; Mr. Azubuko J. Udah, DIG Administration (“A” Dept); Mr. Sardauna Abubukar, DIG Training (“E” Dept); Mr. Audu Abubakar, DIG Operations (“B” Dept); Mr. Saleh Abubakar, DIG Works (“C” Dept) and Mr. Mohammed A. Yesufu, DIG Planning and Info-Tech (“F” Dept).

Some sources said the President had summoned Ringim to his office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, for a brief meeting earlier in the day. Shortly after the meeting, the President told the embattled police chief that his services would no longer be needed and directed him to hand over to his next in command immediately, and proceed on compulsory retirement.

Ringim’s retirement is the climax of a huge national controversy triggered by the escape of Kabiru Umar (a. k. a. Kabiru Sokoto), suspected to be a key member of the militant Islamist group widely known as Boko Haram. Kabiru, believed to have masterminded the Christmas Day bombing of a church in Madalla, near Abuja, in which over 40 people were killed, escaped from police custody on 15 January.

Outraged by that embarrassing incident, many Nigerians had called on Jonathan to fire the police chief and probably try him for complicity in the suspect’s escape. Sources said the President initially resisted those pressures for two reasons. First, Ringim had been a good friend from Jonathan’s days as deputy governor and governor of Bayelsa State; second, the police chief had only one month more in service, as he was due to retire on 1 March this year.

It does now appear that after the 20 January multiple bomb and gun attacks in Kano, in which the police suffered an embarrassing number of casualties, Jonathan could no longer overlook Ringim’s personal lapses and the badly sunken image of the police under his watch.

Ringim’s successor, Mr. Abubakar, was, until today’s appointment, an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 12 of the Police, encompassing Bauchi, Borno and Yobe States – the states that have suffered the most of Boko Haram’s attacks.

Insiders say his appointment could be President Jonathan’s first step towards a comprehensive and long-overdue reorganization of the Nigeria Police Force, to make it more effective in dealing with emerging internal security challenges.

President Jonathan visits Kano, vows relentless fight against terrorism

President Jonathan arriving Kano, with Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Petinrin (L) and Kano State Gov Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (R)

On 22 January, President Goodluck Jonathan paid a visit to Kano city, the commercial nerve centre of northern Nigeria, following multiple bomb attacks on the city two days earlier which killed over 180 people. A spokesman for the militant Islamist group widely known as Boko Haram had said his group was responsible for the attacks.

During his two hour visit, the President stopped at the palace of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, the bombed headquarters of the Police Zone 1 (covering Kano, Katsina and Jigawa States) and the military hospital where some victims of the bombing were being treated.

In his speech at the Emir’s palace, Jonathan vowed that the Federal Government will not relent in its fight against terrorism, until the terrorists are defeated. He said those behind the bombings were not invisible spirits but “people that live with us”, and urged greater security consciousness and vigilance by citizens, in order to fish them out.

The Kano monarch, in an unprecedented show of emotion, broke down in tears repeatedly, as he reviewed the human loss caused by the bomb attacks on his city.

He expressed deep appreciation for the President’s visit, but regretted that Kano, a sprawling city with a population of over 9 million, was under-policed with only 8,000 law officers. He appealed to the President to boost police presence in the city, as a step towards preventing further attacks.

President Jonathan was accompanied on the visit by the National Security Adviser, retired General Andrew Azazi; Defense Minister, Dr Bello Haliru Mohammed; Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin; and several other top government and security officials.

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