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Opinion / Editorial

As Solomon Arase Bows Out

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Solomon Arase will be retiring a little over a year after becoming Nigeria’s police chief. The Edo State-born cop was appointed Inspector-General of Police by former President Goodluck Jonathan in April 2015 following the removal of Barrister Suleiman Abba. Solomon Arase will bow out of office on June 21, 2016, when he would have clocked the mandatory retirement age of 60 years. He would have thus served the Nigeria Police Force for 35 years.

There are seemingly intensive lobbying and chess games among officers of the Nigeria Police over who becomes the next Inspector General of Police (IGP). Usually, the dramatis personae mainly consist of officers in the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, but this time around the lobbyists include even officers on the level of Commissioner of Police. This new development is to effect the current administration’s change mantra in the force. Interestingly, the lobbyists are placing their hopes on their connections with the leadership of the ruling party while ability to steer the ship of the exalted but challenging position has been thrown overboard.

On the other hand, the incumbent is also battling for extension, giving what he perceives as his unrivaled achievement since he came on the saddle. Unfortunately, both his colleagues in the Police management committee and other contenders to the position feel otherwise. Security experts, are aversed to the long practiced method of ascendancy in the force which they contend gave room to brazen corruption and continued decadence in the police force.

So far, majority of the opinion point to a new beginning that will herald total cleansing in the beleaguered force which, to a large extent, will eliminate tribalism, favoritism and many other vices that have bedeviled the force. It is a generally held opinion that such a move by the President would lead to the appointment of a lesser officer whose properly spelt out policies will dove tail into the much touted community policing which the country desperately deserves at this time.

One group within the force believes that the political equation as presently represented in the ruling party will ensure an easy retention of Solomon Arase as the Inspector General of Police.

Unfortunately, other groups think otherwise. Their contention is that one of the AIGs from the north must assume the mantle of leadership as soon as the present boss completes his tenure.   At last count, no fewer than eight senior officers have been interviewed for the position. This list include; a serving commissioner of police; however five top senior officers may have been shortlisted so far as the incumbent, Mr. Solomon Arase prepares to quit the stage. Already, the shortlisted officers were recently screened by top officials of the State Security Service (SSS), following a directive from the Presidency to the effect that a new IGP to be so appointed should be preparing to take over.

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The Presidency saw the need to have a change of baton in the police force thereby ending speculation that Arase’s tenure could be extended. It took the Police Service Commission’s (PSC) leadership hectic time to finally arrive at the five names that were finally submitted to the presidency. The list of persons submitted to the presidency include the following; AIG. Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, who hails from Niger State (North – Central) whose choice may be based on his track record of performance in the service. A Law degree holder from the University of Maiduguri, AIG Idris was enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force as cadet ASP in 1984 and rose through the rank. He served as divisional crime officer and traffic officer in Gusau in the present Zamfara State from January 1986 to March 1987 and was transferred to the Police Mobile Force in April 1987 where he served for 17 years during which period he held several command positions. He was Commandant, Mobile Force Training School, Gwoza Borno State, from February 1998 to January 31 2004.

AIG Idris also led a contingent of Nigeria Police officers to the United Nations Mission in Liberia on February 1, 2004 and was later seconded by the Nigerian government to the United Nations Mission in March 2005, where he served as Mission Police Operation Coordinator from February 2004 to October 2008 and was later deployed from there as Deputy Police Commissioner in charge of operation in the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor Leste (UNMIT) from October 2008 to March 20011. AIG Ibrahim Kpotun Idris was one of the few police commissioners who bagged the achievement of being posted to challenging states like Kano, to serve as commissioner.

Two times during his stay in Kano, it was gathered; Idris who had just been promoted as commissioner took part in the joint security effort that helped to cripple the activities of the insurgents in the state.

The promotion of the two-time Kano State police Commissioner Alh. Ibrahim Kpotun Idris to the coveted position of Assistant Inspector General of Police AIG is one of such steps taken by the IGP that had elicited excitement in the force and  among members of the public. His promotion was being widely held, however as a deserving reward for exemplary dedication, competence and professionalism. Coming on this critical assignment with a glowing resume of experience as well as garlands acquired within and outside Nigeria, Idris must have been deemed a square peg in a square hole by his superiors who took the decision to post him to that department.


—Ahmad wrote in from 32, Sultan Abubakar Road, Sokoto              

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