At least 15 high-ranking police officers may proceed on early retirement following the emergence of Mohammed Adamu as acting-inspector-general earlier this week.
President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mr Adamu to replace Ibrahim Idris, who retired on Tuesday when he clocked 60 years in line with Nigeria’s public service rules.
Mr Adamu, 57, was an assistant inspector-general by rank when the president elevated him to the highest office in the police on January 15, a day after PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported that his emergence was all but assured.
He was a director at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies in Plateau State before he was appointed.
Seven ‘retiring’ DIGs
But days after Mr Adamu settled in office, questions are being raised about the fate of at least 10 officers who were his seniors but were bypassed in his favour, as well as five others who were his coursemates.
There are seven deputy inspectors-general (DIGs) manning seven directorates and departments in the Nigerian police, with the most-senior often said to be Maigari Dikko, the DIG in charge of finance and administration.
Mr Dikko is followed by Habila Joshak, the DIG in charge of operations.
The remaining five DIGs are Emmanuel Inyang, information and communications technology; Agboola Oshodi-Glover, logistics and supply; Mohammed Katsina, research and planning; Sani Mohammed, training and development; and Peace Ibekwe-Abdallah, federal criminal investigation and intelligence.
Their potential departure is in furtherance of the convention that recommends the retirement of senior police chiefs when an officer junior to them in service or lower in rank is appointed to lead the institution.
When Mr Idris was appointed IG in 2016, more than 20 DIGs and AIGs were compelled to retire from service to enable him constitute his management team.
However, Messrs Katsina, Mohammed and Ibekwe-Abdallah may be spared because they were coursemates of Mr Adamu and were only promoted DIGs last year.
Police sources told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Adamu was considering leaving the three officers who were his mates because of the approaching general elections, but the senior ones may be retired as soon as next week.
“His thinking is that because they have been working at their various departments towards the 2019 elections, it would be better for him to just allow them to remain in place,” a police source said. “But the first four DIGs are his senior and it is expected that they could leave as early as next week.”
Eight AIGs await fate
The police have over 20 AIGs in active service, after nearly a dozen were retired or promoted to DIGs in the last weeks of 2018.
Mr Adamu was the fourth most-senior of the 20 active AIGs when he was appointed earlier this week. The three AIGs ahead of him, Usman Abubakar, Usman Yakubu and Abdulmajid Ali, in seniority order, are likely to be retired by Mr Adamu, according to police sources briefed on the arrangements.
Messrs Abubakar and Yakubu are the AIGs in charge of Zone 6, Calabar and Zone 10, Sokoto, respectively.
Five AIGs who were coursemates of Mr Adamu but may still be retained, or retired, depending on whom he wants to work with in the police management team, are: Aminchi Bamaila Baraya, Godwin Nwobodo, Abdul Daniru Danwawu, Lawal Shehu and Yakubu Jibrin.
“These AIGs are currently confused because the IG is keeping the decision on those he would keep or ask to retire close to his heart,” a police source said.
Waiting in line
If the seven DIGs are retired, the most senior AIG from each of the six geopolitical zones would be promoted DIGs by the Police Service Commission, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
Currently, however, only five geopolitical zones have active AIGs, the South-South does not have any officer in the AIG rank. This would mean that a police commissioner from the South-South would have to be promoted to AIG in order to fill the region’s slot.
The most-senior AIGs from their respective regions are: Usman Tili Abubakar from Kebbi State, North-West; Usman Yakubu from Niger-State, North-Central; Aminchi Baraya from Taraba State, North-East; Taiwo Lakanu from Lagos State,South-West; and Godwin Nwobodo from Enugu State, South-East.
Furthering a wasteful legacy
As the highest, and perhaps most influential, position in internal security, the position of police IG has always been elicited the interest of all segments of the country. Politicians and top businessmen often ingratiate themselves with police chiefs to have their ways in political or business activities, and those with direct access to the IG are almost sure to always have their interest protected using state apparatus.
At state levels, governors usually prefer to nominate a police chief who would be amenable to their demands. Successive Nigerian presidents since 1999 have elevated junior officers over DIGs to IG, often amidst controversies.
At least four senior officers who were interviewed by PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday said they could not find any positive reasons why Mr Buhari embraced the practice of promoting AIGs over their seniors.
Okechukwu Nwanguma, an advocate for police reform, criticised Mr Buhari for continuing the controversial practice.
“It is sad that President Buhari also continued the discredited and wasteful practice of jumping over DIGs to appoint AIGs as IG, which he has now done twice in his first term,” Mr Nwanguma said. “Appointment of IG should be by seniority, if an IG is going, there are seven DIGs amongst whom the president could choose a successor.”
Mr Nwanguma said the president has failed to consider competence, professionalism and public expenditure in appointing Mr Idris three years ago, and the same may turn out to be the case with Mr Adamu.
“They spent a lot of money to train those DIGs and AIGs who may now be forced to retire with their vast wealth of experience paid for by the taxpayers,” Mr Nwanguma said. “This will also have a serious concern about the morale of those currently in service and may affect national interest.”
Mr Nwanguma said he is amongst those championing the adoption of a new bill to reform the police.
“The Police Reform Bill that has now gone through public hearing would take care of all these distasteful practices,” Mr Nwanguma said. “There would be no business as usual.”