On 14 February, the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Abubakar, announced that training programmes for police personnel this year have been suspended on account of poor and obsolete facilities.
Addressing officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force on his maiden visit to Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom, since his appointment as Police chief, Abubakar said that while every police officer was entitled to training courses, the training institutions were in shambles. “Our training institutions are bad enough”, he said, “I will not allow my officers to go on courses and use their money to buy water, bread and other needs”.
The Inspector General said: “There is need for national rebirth in the Nigeria Police”. He told his officers and men that: “The era of corruption is over. We must allow competence and merit to take over its place”. He warned that failure at courses after second attempts would no longer be tolerated, that posting in the police would henceforth be based on the individual’s capacity to deliver, while promotion would be based on performance at promotion courses.
The police chief regretted that “So many things have been done unprofessionally” in the organization, and stressed that the time had come to turn a new leaf. He said: “We must redouble our effort in changing the damaging image that we have in the police today. There is need for you to change your attitude to work. There is need for us to go back to the basics of policing in this country”.
Abubakar also disclosed that plans were underway to change the uniform of the nation’s police personnel. He said: “We are making efforts to change the police uniform to a better uniform that will make you to be respected”.
The IGP, who was on a working visit to the Akwa Ibom Command, used the occasion to inaugurate a special crime-fighting squad funded by the state government and code-named Quick Response Squad (QRS). He commended the Akwa Ibom Police Command for reducing the crime rate in the state but urged its officers and men not to rest on their oars.
On 9 January, the police officer who shot and killed at least one man in Lagos during protests against the removal of fuel subsidy earlier in the day, was arrested and detained on the orders of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Hafiz Ringim.
The officer, identified as the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) heading the Pen Cinema Police Station in the Ogba suburb of Lagos, reportedly shot at four youths who were playing football on an empty road. One of the victims who died instantly was identified as Ademola Aderitan. A second victim, who was said to have died later in hospital, was yet to be identified.
Reacting to reports of the incident, the IGP ordered that the DPO be arrested and charged with murder. The Commissioner of Police (CP) in Lagos State, Mr Yakubu Alkali, immediately carried out the order and directed men of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) to investigate the incident in order to establish proper grounds for his prosecution.
The headquarters of the Lagos State Police Command has not yet issued a statement on the incident, but a source quoted the DPO as claiming he was compelled to shoot after one of the youths attempted to disarm him. Neither his superiors nor anyone else believes his story. The CP is reported to have said that the killer DPO “would have to carry his cross, because the command did not send him to kill any innocent Nigerian”.
On 31 March, the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Mohammed Ringim, removed and redeployed the commissioners of police in all the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Deputy Inspectors General of Police (DIGs) have also been deployed to the six geo-political zones, to coordinate security arrangements through the period of the elections.
Redeployment of Commissioners of Police in the States
A signal released in Abuja shows the new postings as follows:
1. CP Ibrahim Maishanu, Abia State;
2. CP Musa A Daura, Adamawa State;
3. CP Felix Uyana, Akwa Ibom State;
4. CP Mohammed Indabawa, Anambra State;
5. CP A. J. Abakasanga, Bauchi State;
6. CP Adenrele Chinaba, Bayelsa State;
7. CP Sani Magaji, Benue State;
8. CP Michael Zuokumor, Borno State;
9. CP Bala Nasarawa, Cross River State;
10. CP Baba Adisa Bolanta, Delta State;
11. CP Adeola Adeniji, Ebonyi State;
12. CP Orubebe Ebikome, Edo State;
13. CP Muktar Ibrahim, Enugu State;
14. CP Sabo Ringim, Ekiti State;
15. CP Suleiman Lawal, Gombe State;
16. CP Tambari Yaro Mohammed, Imo State
17. CP Abdurahman Akano, Jigawa State;
18. CP Haruna John, Kaduna State;
19. CP Da’azumi Doma, Kano State;
20. CP Ibrahim Mohammed, Katsina State;
21. CP Adamu Hassan, Kebbi State;
22. CP Fatai Adio Stittu, Kogi State;
22. CP Mammam Tchafe, Kwara State;
24. CP Suleiman Abba, Lagos State;
25. CP Obiakor Emmanuel, Nasarawa State;
26. CP Bala Hassan, Niger State;
27. CP Olayinka Balogun, Ogun State;
28. CP Joseph Ibbi, Ondo State;
29. CP Peter Gana, Osun State;
30. CP Saliu Hashimu, Oyo State;
31. CP Emmanuel Ayeni, Plateau State;
32. CP Yakubu Alkali, Rivers State;
33. CP Olusegun Solomon, Sokoto State;
34. CP Aliyu Musa, Taraba State;
35. CP David Omojola, Yobe State;
36. CP Mohammed J Abubakar, Zamfara State; and
37. CP Samson Wudah, FCT.
Deployment of DIGs to the 6 geo-political zones
The redeployment of police commissioners was followed by the deployment of the deputy inspectors general of Police to the six geo-political zones to take charge of, and supervise security operations for the duration of the elections.
The IGP himself and the DIG in charge of Operations, Alhaji Audu Abubakar, will co-ordinate security operations from Abuja. The DIG second in command to IGP, Mrs. Ivy Uche Okoronkwo is responsible for the South East Zone, DIG ‘A’ Azubuko Udah is responsible for North Central zone, DIG ‘D’Ganiyu Daudu is responsible for South West zone; DIG ‘F’ Mohammed Yesufu, is responble for South-South; DIG ‘C’ Saleh Abubakar is responsible for North East, while DIG ‘Training’ Yusuf Abubakar is responsible for North West zone.
A determined Hafiz Ringim has repeatedly promised that the Police would ensure that all votes count and that he was ready to make security of the 2011 elections the best so far. Early reactions to the redeployment welcome the IGP’s action as a great step towards neutralizing vested interests and guard against electoral malpractices.
On 10 March, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Hafiz Ringim, disclosed that no fewer than 240,000 policemen and women would be deployed across the country for the April 2011 general elections. He said each of the 120,000 polling units would have at least two police personnel, who would be joined by personnel from other paramilitary organizations.
The IGP laid out the security arrangements at a meeting between the police and political party leaders at the Force Headquarters in Abuja. Ringim said: “This meeting has been called, not only to appraise how far we have gone but to look forward to what we hope to happen and what to guard against, in order to have the most successful, free and fair general elections. We have done the best that we can do under the circumstances and we need the cooperation of each and every one of you, political parties as well as members of the press”.
Ringim also warned the parties, as well as state and local governments, not to give any money to the policemen in their domains, as the Federal Government had already provided adequate funds to enable the police ensure security during the polls.
He said: “The police will pursue its mandate of ensuring violence-free and fair elections. The government has made adequate funds available for the allowance of personnel that would be involved in election duty. We don’t need financial assistance from states, local government councils or political parties”.
The IGP further appealed to the party chairmen to educate their members on the need to shun violence and urged them to cultivate the spirit of sportsmanship. He warned that anyone found to be involved in electoral fraud would not be spared, no matter how highly placed.
The police boss also cautioned his men against partisanship. He said: “The need to have a free and fair election cannot be over-emphasised. The whole world is watching us. Africa and the sub-region are watching us. Only last week, we received members of a delegation led by the former Ghanaian president. Only last week also, we received members of the European Union. So many observer groups have been here to see and find out the state of readiness of the police’’. He therefore stressed that any policeman linked with acts of partisanship would be made to face the law.
However, only 10 of the 63 registered political parties invited to the meeting attended. The major political parties, including the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) did not attend. Ringim said the invitation extended to the parties was not a “summon”, and that they reserved the right to decline. However, a participant at the meeting said the failure of the other parties to honour the invitation was “the height of political irresponsibility”.
The parties in attendance very much welcomed the IGP’s assurances of police neutrality in the elections. However, the National Chairman of the Africa Liberation Party (ALP), Chief Emmanuel Okereke, observed that only the ruling PDP and some major political parties were provided police security, while the smaller parties had been neglected. He urged the IGP to extend similar protection to all the 18 political parties that have presidential candidates.
In another contribution, the National Chairman of National Transformation Party, Emmanuel Mok, suggested the setting up of a team to monitor the conduct of police personnel on election duty.
On 5 February, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Hafiz Ringim, disclosed that the Federal Government has released over N15 billion to the Nigeria Police Force to purchase equipment and for other logistics necessary to ensure a successful general election in April.
Addressing journalists at the passing out parade of 1,074 Cadet Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASPs), Specialist Course 1, at the Police College, Ikeja, Lagos, the Police chief said the provision was for “the purchase of equipment, to train manpower, purchase other necessary logistics and to pay the allowances of men and women of the Force that will take part in the 2011 general elections”.
With this provision, he said, “the Police Force, the Inspector General of Police, the men and women of this great service have no excuse whatsoever and we will not fail”. The IGP also promised that the police would remain strictly neutral in providing election security, saying: “You have seen what the police did during the parties’ primaries; no police person was accused of supporting one candidate against another. In the same manner, the police will not take sides with any political party or candidates. We shall provide security for all, during and after the elections”.
On 18 January, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Hafiz Ringim, disclosed that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) had uncovered extensive fraud perpetrated by contractors, who took over N9 billion for 350 projects that have not been executed. In a statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Olusola Amore, the IGP said some contractors went away with over N4.6 billion without executing the contracts awarded to them, and that 171 projects were abandoned after contractors had received over N4.7 billion from the NPF.
The statement also revealed that several projects for which payments had been made were observed to have been executed outside the agreed specifications, while many others were not executed at all, even after payments. Amore said the IGP, who got to know about the unexecuted contracts through the reports of the Special Task Team, had given contractors handling police projects nationwide one month with effect from 7th January 2011, within which they must fulfil their contractual obligations or face prosecution by the police.