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!
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.
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.
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”.
1. Fellow Nigerians, it has become necessary to address you on recent events in some parts of the country that have threatened our collective security and shaken the foundations of our corporate existence as a nation.
2. You are all aware of the security challenges which the activities of the Boko Haram sect have foisted on the country. What began as sectarian crises in the North Eastern parts of the country has gradually evolved into terrorist activities in different parts of the country with attendant negative consequences on our national security.
3. Government, in an effort to find a lasting solution to the security threats occasioned by the activities of the Boko Haram sect, constituted a Presidential Committee under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Usman Gaji Galtimari, to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the crises. While efforts are being made to implement the recommendations of the Committee, the crises have assumed a terrorist dimension with vital institutions of government including the United Nations Building and places of worship becoming targets of terrorist attacks.
4. While the search for lasting solutions is ongoing, it has become imperative to take some decisive measures necessary to restore normalcy in the country especially within the affected communities. Consequently, I have in the exercise of the powers conferred on me by the provisions of Section 305(1) of the Constitution, declared a state of emergency in the following parts of the federation, namely:
(i) BORNO STATE
a) Maidugiri Metropolitan LGA
b) Gamboru Ngala LGA
c) Banki Bama LGA
d) Biu LGA
e) Jere LGA
(ii) YOBE STATE
a) Damaturu LGA
b) Geidam LGA
c) Potiskum LGA
d) Buniyadi-Gujba LGA
e) Gasua-Bade LGA
(iii) PLATEAU STATE
a) Jos North LGA
b) Jos South LGA
c) Barkin-Ladi LGA
d) Riyom LGA
(iv) NIGER STATE
a) Suleja LGA
The details of this proclamation will be transmitted to the National Assembly as soon as they reconvene from their current recess, for their necessary action.
5. The Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector-General of Police have been directed to put appropriate measures in place to ensure the protection of lives and properties of residents in the affected parts of the country. I therefore urge the political leadership in the affected states and Local Government Areas to give maximum cooperation to the law enforcement agencies deployed to their respective communities to ensure that the situation is brought under control within the shortest possible time.
6. The Chief of Defence Staff, in collaboration with other Service Chiefs, has also been directed to set up a special force unit within the Armed Forces, with dedicated counter terrorism responsibilities.
7. As part of the overall strategy to overcome the current security challenges, I have directed the closure of the land borders contiguous to the affected Local Government Areas so as to control incidences of cross border terrorist activities as terrorists have taken advantage of the present situation to strike at targets in Nigeria and retreat beyond the reach of our law enforcement personnel.
8. Let me assure our neighbours, especially within the ECOWAS sub-region, of Nigeria’s commitment to its international obligations as provided by the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons. The temporary closure of our borders in the affected areas is only an interim measure designed to address the current security challenges and will be reviewed as soon as normalcy is restored.
9. I commend the efforts of our political leaders at various levels as well as our traditional and religious leaders for their support for the various conflict resolution mechanisms and peace building measures that have been initiated by this administration. We call on the citizenry to continue to provide useful information to our law enforcement agencies to enable us arrest the situation.
10. Terrorism is a war against all of us. I call on all Nigerians to join hands with government to fight these terrorists.
11. I wish all Nigerians a very happy New Year.
12. Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
On 25 November, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of ‘F’ Department at the Nigeria Police headquarters, Mr Mohammed Yusuf, said Inspector-General Hafiz Ringim had ordered massive deployment of police personnel ahead of the Christmas and New Year season.
Addressing officers of the Rivers State Police Command in Port Harcourt, Yusuf said: “There is going to be massive deployment of police personnel across the country during the Yuletide. The Inspector-General of Police has so directed. All of us are going to be busy. There will be no Christmas, no holiday, for any policeman”.
Yusuf reiterated the appeal to all citizens to support the police in their efforts to fight crime by providing information that could lead to the arrest of suspected criminals.
He said: “The police are conscious of their responsibilities. We are ready to deal with crime in the country…Members of the public have a role to play in the fight against crime. Many of the criminals live among us. I assure you that any information given to us will be treated with complete confidentiality”.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Hafiz Ringim, has ordered new postings for six Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) who are to take over command of five zones across the country as well as the Police Staff College in Jos.
The new Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and their new posts are as follows:
- AIG Mohammed D. Abubakar, formerly the AIG in charge of Zone 6, Calabar, is to take over as AIG Zone 12, Bauchi.
- AIG Christopher Ola, formerly Commandant, Police Staff College, Jos, takes over as AIG Zone 2, Lagos.
- AIG Suleiman Dauda Fakai, formerly AIG Zone 2, is now AIG for Zone 3, Yola.
- AIG Johnson Uzu-Egbunam, formerly AIG Zone 12, is moved to Osogbo as AIG in charge of Zone 11;
- AIG Saidu Gaya, formerly AIG Zone 11, is now AIG in charge of Zone 6, Calabar.
- AIG Johnson Morenike, formerly in charge Police Academy (POLAC), Kano, takes over as Commandant, Police Staff College, Jos.
The IGP advised the senior officers to treat issues of negligence by their subordinates very seriously, especially those relating to terrorist threats and attacks.
The postings, which take immediate effect, are expected to inject new energy into policing across the country.
On 29 August, the Federal Government reassured the diplomatic community in Abuja, that it would make every effort to safeguard their embassies and personnel, following the 26 August suicide bomb attack at the United Nations House.
Addressing over 50 diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, said the UN House attack had made it necessary to intimate them of steps being taken by the government towards their security. The minister then invited the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Hafiz Ringim, to update the diplomats.
The IGP told the envoys that following the UN House blast, President Goodluck Jonathan summoned the heads of all security agencies to a meeting, “where far-reaching decisions were made on how to ensure, not only the security of foreign missions’ property and facilities, but of their personal as well”. He said the Presidency subsequently mandated security agencies, particularly the IGP, to meet with the diplomats on how to strengthen security around their personnel and facilities.
In furtherance of that mandate, the IGP informed the diplomats that security agencies would be meeting them soon, to re-assess their security needs and work out new modalities for ensuring better security in their missions. He said: “We will go round, from mission to mission, and discuss what specific security assistance you require that would make you feel more secure”.
The IGP said he was aware that some of the missions and diplomats had already requested for information and for additional security coverage, following the bomb attack. He said he had been mandated to grant all such security requests, as much as is possible.
He said: “Security agencies have been directed to leave nothing to chance and nothing can stand in the process of providing each and every one of you the necessary security that you need, in order to function peacefully and effectively while you are in this country”.
Updating the diplomats on investigations of the 26 August blast, the IGP disclosed that “our security agencies have made some arrests”, but he did not provide any details. He said: “The President would soon make pronouncements in that regard to you and the nation”.
On 23 August, armed robbers attacked a vehicle that was conveying cash to a branch of Equatorial Trust Bank in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State, killing five people including two policemen, and snatching millions of naira.
Local sources said the incident occurred around 11.50am near Ukana Offot junction on Abak Road, a short distance from the bank’s premises.
They said the robbers waylaid a Peugeot 504 car conveying money to the bank and shot all the occupants of the car dead, including two policemen, a staff of the bank and the driver. As they shot their way to the vehicle, a stray bullet also hit and killed a passer-by.
The robbers then carted away about seven sacks, popularly referred to as ‘Ghana-must-go’ bags, loaded with cash. Some witnesses said they saw a lady wearing a bullet proof vest, who joined other members of the gang in removing money from the Peugeot car, before they escaped without encountering any challenge from security officers.
The raid is the third major armed robbery incident in Uyo, involving the killing of policemen, within the last two months. On 7 July, robbers attacked a bullion van a few meters from the Government House, killing two policemen and escaping with millions of naira. On Friday, 19 August, a gang also pursued a bullion van to the entrance of the State House of Assembly, shot and killed two mobile (anti-riot) policemen and snatched cash.
Rattled by the rising tide of bank robberies and kidnappings in the state, the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly has passed a resolution demanding that the Inspector General of Police redeploy the current Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Felix Uyanna, immediately.
On 25 July, the Minister for Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd), solicited the assistance of the Ministry of Defence in training more Police officers for counter-terrorism duties and operations.
Speaking during a visit to the new Minister of Defence, Dr. Bello Mohammed, in his office in Abuja, Captain Olubolade expressed concern over the current security challenges in the country, particularly the activities of the militant Islamist sect, widely known as Boko Haram. He observed that the group’s activities had not only aggravated the country’s internal security situation, but also done great damage to her image abroad. He said it had therefore become imperative for the Military Forces, the police and all other security agencies to work together towards meeting the challenges.
Responding, the Defence Minister, Dr. Mohammed, stated that the armed forces would continue to work with all other security agencies, to ensure peace across Nigeria. He observed that the joint operation involving the armed forces and police, code-named “Operation MESA”, was currently underway in some parts of the country. He said such joint exercises and operations were crucial in forging stronger relationships among the forces and agencies.
With particular reference to the police, Dr Mohammed said the military would continue to offer the police any assistance necessary for meeting the nation’s security challenges. He pledged that the military forces would extend to the police whatever training opportunities it desired.
The Nigerian Army is already extending joint training opportunities to the Nigerian police. For instance, on 14 January 2011, 500 police officers graduated from a counter terrorism training course at the Anti-Terrorism and Insurgency Centre of the Nigerian Army School of Infantry (NASI) in Jaji, Kaduna State. At the graduation ceremony, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Hafiz Ringim, stated that more than 1,000 police officers were also receiving training at the Nigerian Army School of Intelligence in Lagos.
In March this year, another batch of police personnel was also trained under the ‘Basic Counter Terrorism Course Batch 2 of 2011’ at NASI in Jaji.
However, the number of policemen thus far trained appears higly inadequate given the scope of the challenge at hand. Hence the need for further training opportunities for the police.