By Abubakar Atiku Nuhu-Koko
President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) appointed AIG Muhammed Abubakar Adamu, as the nation’s 20th Inspector General of Police (IGP); the nation’s highest ranked Police Officer on acting capacity on Tuesday, January 15, 2019.
He took over from his predecessor IGP Ibrahim Kpotun Idris Kutigi who had attained the mandatory retirement age of 60 years. Prior to his appointment, Adamu was an Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police posted to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, near Jos, Plateau State as a Directing Staff.
He was also the Commissioner of Police in Ekiti and Enugu States and also Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 5 Police Command Headquarters, Benin, Edo State.
The Acting Inspector-General of Police, Adamu, who was decorated with his new rank by President Muhammadu Buhari hails from Lafia, Nasarawa State and is a holder of Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in Geography in 1983 from the famous and prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria.
He enlisted in the Force on February 1, 1986 as Cadet Assistant Inspector and had attended several Senior Officer Courses on Law Enforcement, Crime Prevention, Control and Management within and outside Nigeria.
He brings into the office 33 years of unbroken record of service experience gained from both here in Nigeria and at the Interpol Headquarters at Lyon, France where he spent more than a decade representing Nigeria. His Curriculum Vitae (CV)/Resume, professional dexterity and performances and impeccable character easily convinced Mr. President that he is the right person to wear the Cap of the 20th IGP.
Adamu was confirmed as the nation’s 20th IGP on May 23, 2019; after a meeting of Council of State that was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari and attended by the 36 State Governors, Minister of FCT and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), retired IGP Musliu Smith.
It is now a year since IGP Adamu took over the affairs of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Frank Mba has done an excellent job of presenting to the public a catalogue of successful accomplishments of IGP Adamu during the period in review. Thus, this write-up does not intend to repeat them here.
Hence, the intention of this piece is to review the policy and operational environment under which those accomplishments were made; with a view to making some policy recommendations where necessary.
The policy and operational environments under which Adamu took over from the former IGP Ibrahim K. Idris changed slightly from that time to the present.
Some of the key policy changes that took place include the re-establishment of the Ministry of Policy Affairs and appointment of Minister of Police Affairs, the passage of Policy Reform and Police Trust Fund Bills by the National Assembly and their Assent by President Muhammadu Buhari and the introduction and gradual implementation of Community Policing Strategy by IGP Adamu.
These key policy changes were made to provide the right enabling environment for effective and efficient operationalization of Policing Reform Agenda of this administration; in search for an enhanced and robust provision of Police services in the country to address the myriad cases of insecurity facing the country over the years.
Thus, one of the many operational challenges that Adamu confronted was the issue of conducting the 2019 general elections with just 38 days to the start of Nigeria’s most highly engaged Presidential contest and other levels of general elections across the country.
These include Gubernatorial, Senate, House of Representatives and States Houses of Assembly. Subsequent supplementary inconclusive and off-Season elections were similarly successfully conducted according to their respective schedules established by the Independent National Elections Commission (INEC).
These elections were not without security breaches and challenges perpetrated by political thugs under the sponsorships of politicians here and there. But, nevertheless, progress was made in dealing with those challenges.
These herculean tasks were all accomplished by the new IGP Adamu with his team and in collaboration with other national security services; the Armed forces and paramilitary agencies; within the then existing policy and operational environments vacated by the former IGP Ibrahim Idris.
Having successfully completed the conduct of the general elections, the new IGP focused on confronting the other security challenges especially those posed by rural armed bandits on the one hand; whereby armed bandits continue to terrorize rural folks – particularly farmers and herders. Very sad situations whereby, rural settlements are raided; people killed, kidnapped, raped and maimed and properties destroyed and stolen, cattle rustled and billions of naira collected as ransom money by the bandit kidnappers.
On the other hand, he was similarly confronted with the nefarious, barbaric and deadly activities of well-armed highway and urban kidnappers and robbers. These are all in addition to the activities of the dreadful Boko Haram and other organized militants, cults and regionally-biased armed terror groups.
Confronting these multifarious groups of insurgents was already being done by the combined forces of the Nigerian armed forces, the Police and other paramilitary agencies pooled together; under various operational task forces (i.e. Operation Lafia Dole etc.) and coordinated by the Office of the National Security Advisor to the President (ONSA).
IGP Adamu unfolded a grand policy and strategy for dealing with these internal security challenges head-on. He pronounced Community Policing as his preferred policy framework of tackling the various domestic security challenges facing the country. Similarly, he put in place Operation Puff-Adar as his operational strategy.
Hence, he toured the country to intimate and enlighten his operational command officers, police formations, the general public and key stakeholders across the nation’s socio-cultural, religious and political landscapes of this policy and the strategy of accomplishing it.
He particularly sought the support and understanding of his then Minister of Internal Affairs, Retired Lieutenant-General Abdulrahaman Dambazzau, the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the leaders of the National Assembly.
All things being equal, IGP Adamu was not unmindful of the grim fact that the NPF faces severe problems of inadequate funding, inadequate number of police personnel and operational equipment; vehicles, air crafts, boats, communication gadgets and training and general welfare of the officers, men and women; including poor salary and inadequate office and residential accommodation facilities etc. And, equally, the indiscipline prevailing in the NPF itself.
Addressing these soft challenges necessitated the re-establishment of the Ministry of Police Affairs by President Muhamadu Buhari when he reconstituted his cabinet on August 21, 2019.
Hence, a Minister of Police Affairs was equally appointed in the person of Alhaji Muhammed Maigari Dingyadi (Katuka Sokoto) from Sokoto State. This masterstroke by Mr. President provides IGP Adamu the much needed political leverage for moving his reform agenda of the NPF to the next-level of sustainable implementation and delivery; to the great expectations of the Nigerian populace.
All these developments could not have been possible without the generous support and confidence being received by IGP Adamu from President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly, the Nigerian public and the international community.
The seeming friction between the Police Service Commission (PSC) and Force Headquarters, office of the IGP particularly on the issue of police recruitment exercise was finally resolved through judicial intervention in favour of the Force Headquarters, office of the IGP.
This healthy development further creates favourable enabling environment for the two important arms of the management of the Police affairs, together with the newly re-established Police Affairs Ministry to work in a seamless, cordial and collaborative manner; each working within its statutory mandates for the overall benefit of enhancing the internal security of the nation.
All the accomplishments listed and made available to the public recently by the Force PPRO, DCP Frank Mba, in commemoration of one year in office of IGP Adamu were made possible largely as a result of the new solid enabling policy, institutional reform and leadership acumen brought and put in place by Adamu.
These also could not have been possible without the ample support and confidence provided to him by Mr. President and other key stakeholders during the period in review. This is a great feat indeed.
Building on the strength of the progress made thus far, there is the need to further deepen the holistic reform initiative and its agenda in order to address some of the emerging issues cropping up recently.
For instance, issues such as the regional security outfits being established by some state governments collectively across the country are worrisome developments indeed.
They need to be addressed in a holistic and determined manner; using the instrumentality of the Constitution and the judicial process under the extant laws of the federation.
Hence, it is pertinent to recommend to IGP Adamu that he should hasten the full rollout of the Community Policing mode of establishment and operation across the country without further delay.
Using the Electoral Ward Units as the basic geographical or spatial units of organizing Community Policing is the surest way of preventing it from being hijacked by politicians with inordinate ambitions of turning it into something else different from its intended purposes.
Furthermore, it is equally of necessity to recommend to the Presidency, the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Police Service Commission and the Force Headquarters to expedite action with regards to putting the necessary organizational and other structures for the immediate take-off of the Police Trust Fund Bill signed into law by Mr. President late last year.
Doing this will go a long way in providing the much needed money for implementing the lofty Police Reform agenda in all its ramifications.
Lastly, I wish to conclude this piece by way of making a strong prayer that may almighty God continue to guide, enrich and sustain the Police Reform initiative and processes under the abled and strong-willed leadership of IGP Adamu and his management team in the year 2020 and beyond. Amen.
Abubakar Atiku Nuhu-Koko is the founder/pioneer executive director, The Shehu Shagari World Institute for Leadership and Good Governance (SSWi), Sokoto, Sokoto State, Nigeria.