By Lateef Adegbite
Usman Alkali Baba, the Yobe state born Inspector General of Police, IGP, who ought to have retired on March 1, 202023, having clocked the mandatory 60 years, appears to have known that his days in the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, are numbered.
Former President Mhammadu Buhari, has said to have extended the tenure of IGP Baba, in 2021. That much was confirmed by Mohammed Dingyadi, immediate past minister of Police Affairs. The former minister had said that the Karina state born Nigerian President had extended Baba’s tenure going by the Provisions of the 2020, Police Act. This may have informed why the former Police Affairs minister had said that the incumbent Police IGP, leaving the service during the election period in the country do not arise.
President Bola Ahmed TInubu, who incidentally was a former governor of Lagos state may not take that as he was said to have started shopping for a replacement for IGP Baba. This may have informed why the Nigerian Civil Society Contact Group, CSCG, an amalgam of non-governmental and Civil Society Organisations , with primary focus on ‘’good governance and protection of human rights’’, would want the Lagos state born Nigerian President to appoint a replacement for the current IGP, in keeping with the provisions of the Police Act.
Taiwo Akindolu, an Engineer, and Director General, CSCG, was said to have made the Nigerian President to understand that Buhari, blatantly disregarded the provisions of the Law in the appointments of three past IGPs that had served in his government in the last eight years. The CSCG, Director General, would not want the former Lagos state governor ‘’to emulate the unconstitutional steps of the former Nigerian President that could re-ignite controversies and a judicial logjam’’.
Engr.edolu, was said to have drawn the attention of Tinubu, to the 2020, Police Act signed into Law by Buhari, which stipulates ‘’the requirements for the appointment of a new IGP’’, warning that ‘’any action outside of the provisions of the Law would breed controversy which the ruling All Progressive Congress government of Tinubu can ill-afford’’.
The 2020, Police Act, has made it clear that that ‘’the senior officer to be appointed to the office of IGP, shall not be below the rank of an Assistant Inspector General, AIG, of Police with the requisite academic qualifications of not less than a first degree or its equivalent in addition to professional and management experience’’. The Police Act , was said to have further stated that the new IGP, to be appointed by the President on the advice of the Police Council must be of an AIG or DIG ranks and who still has four years and above, in the service before retirement.
The Vanguard had reported that there are two, out of the over 20 members of the Current IGP Baba led Management team, who still have four in the service before retirement while others may be forced to retire having attained the mandatory 60 years or 35 years in the service.
This may informed why Frank Mbah, a former spokesperson of the Force, from the south eastern geopolitical region, who was promoted to the enviable rank of Commissioner of Police in 2020, and erstwhile CP, of Ogun, former President OLusegun Obasanjo home state , was promoted to AIG in March 2023 .
He was upgraded to DIG, representing the south east region in the NPF current Management Team. He was said to have been promoted to enviable rank of DIG, by the PSC, under the close watch Police Service Commission, PSC, under the close watch of Solomon Arase, CFR, a Lawyer and former, IGP, alongside Bala Ciroma, a former Commissioner of Police, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, as well as 14 CPs to AIGs and 22 DCPs to CP.
There is no gain saying the fact that either DIG Mbah, who is the most senior officer from the south eastern region or any of the AIGs, from the south western region, may be appointed by Tinubu, as the next IGP, as a replacement for Baba, who ought to have retired since March 1, 2023.
In preparing the ground for the appointment of a new IGP, the PSC, has approved new policy guidelines for deployment of Management and Tactical Commanders in the Force and the imperativeness for gender –sensitivity in the deployment of the AIGs and CPs to the zonal and state Command Headquarters.
The Commission was said to have approved the guidelines at its first plenary meeting held at Jabi, FCT, on Thursday, June,15, 2023. The Commission, according to Ikechukwu Ani, the spokesperson, had impressed it upon the Force Management team that ’’it must be guided by the principle of Federal Character in both recruitment at all levels and deployment of its personnel at the Management and Tactical levels ‘’to ensure balance, equity and fairness in the system’’.
The Commission had observed at its recent meeting that’’ the deployment of CPs, to the state Commands by the Bala led NPF, Management, leaves much to be desired in reflecting the principle of equity and fairness to the all the six geopolitical zones of the country’’.
The Commission was emphatic that the deployment was against the north eat and the south east regions, meaning that that it has put the two regions at a great disadvantage, particular, the south east in producing the next IGP. Given’’ the pronounced disproportional distribution and lopsided deployment of state Command Commissioners’’, may have informed why Arase, the ex-IGP, and Chairman, PSC, has told those that cares to listen in the Force that sections 6e and 7 of the Commission Act empowers it ‘’to formulate and implement policies aimed at the efficiency and discipline in the NPF.
This may have forced the Arase led PSC, o read the riot act to the Baba led NPF, Management team, that ‘’hence forth request for deployment of CPs, to state Command Headquarters must ensure that the disadvantaged regions are considered first in the proposals to the Commission in order’’ to address the present imbalance and lopsided deployments skewed against the north east and south eastern geopolitical regions of the country’’.
The Commission was said to have made it as a rule that ‘’all geopolitical zones of the country must have at least 15% representation in the deployment of AIGs to the Police zonal offices , across the country, CPs to t state Commands, and posting of Commanding officers of the Police Mobile Force, Counter-terrorism Unit, CTU, and Special Protection Unit, SPU.
The Commission may have sent a message to IGP Bala, to ensure that he is appropriately guided by the new guidelines that has been formulated based on the principles of fairness and justice to all members of the Force., noting that ‘’ it is geared towards eliciting trust and confidence of the Nigerian people to the system and taking ownership of their Police in showing greater understanding , cooperation and support to theForce , towards improved community safety and adequate internal security in Nigeria’’.