By Kingsley Omonobi b& Daniel Idonor
ABUJA â€” MISTER Ogbonna Onovo, who was the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Administration, was, last night, named the 14th indigenous Inspector-General of Police confirming Vanguardâ€™s exclusive story of Monday. He takes over from Mr. Mike Okiro who attains the mandatory retirement age of 60 today.
A statement issued last night by the Presidency and signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, said the appointment is in accordance with the powers conferred on the President by Section 216 of the Nigerian Constitution.
â€œIn accordance with the powers vested on him by Section 216 of the Nigerian Constitution, President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua today appointed DIG Ogbonnaya Onovo as the acting Inspector-General of Police pending his confirmation by the appropriate authorities.
â€œMr. Onovo takes over from Mr. Mike Okiro with effect from tomorrow, July 24, 2009.â€
Born in Enugu, Enugu State on February 7, 1953, Mr. Onovo graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1976 with a Bsc. Degree in Political Science and began his career as an Assistant Superintendent of Police on August 1, 1977.
He rose through the ranks to become a Deputy Inspector-General of Police on March 14, 2002 and has held several career positions in the Police.
Mr. Onovo was also the Chairman/CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) between 1998 and 2000.
NDIC owes my wife â€” Okiro
Meanwhile, the outgoing Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, yesterday debunked the allegation by the National Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) that he contributed to the failure of Lead Bank by refusing to pay back a loan of N161 million from the bank, saying rather, it was the NDIC that owed his wife who took a loan from the defunct Bank.
He said the “false accusation” against him “is one of the hazards of public office”.
He also gave his valedictory address to senior Police officers including DIGs, AIGs and CPs from across the country with a declaration that President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua who gave him the appointment in 2007, â€˜is God sentâ€™ for the country as his commitment to the needs of the Nigeria Police towards providing adequate security in the country is unparalleled.
On the NDIC loan, Okiro said â€œBeing in public office especially and office of the Inspector-General of Police has many hazards and this false accusation from the NDIC is one of the hazards of public office. No matter how you try to keep your nose clean, people must throw mud on it.
â€œAbout the issue with N161 million, let me explain it this way, when we graduated from school, I got married after joining the police. My wife was working in the bank then. At a point, I got transferred five times within a short period. Sometimes, as soon as I reported, before my wife would join me, another transfer would come. I got fed up and wanted to resign. My father warned me against it insisting my wife should resign instead. But her salary was twice my own.
â€œAfter some time, we agreed she resigns. She then got another job with Agip Oil Company. Later, she established a company and became a contractor to Agip. Over time, her company was doing jobs for Agip and employed staff. At one point, Agip Oil Company awarded her a contract of $2.5 million on construction of pipelines. She went to Lead Bank to secure a loan of N100 million, with Agip guaranteeing the repayment.
â€œIn the course of doing the job and the repayment of the loan to Lead Bank by Agip anytime it paid some money to Mrs. Okiro, the bank had a problem with Central Bank of Nigeria and they were closed down. However, sensing they would be shut down, Lead Bank had opened an account with National Bank which my wife was not aware of, and Agip was paying both the loan and my wifeâ€™s money to National bank.
â€œShe knew when she went to Agip to ask about her money and they told her the balance of everything plus the loan totaling $2 million had been paid to National Bank. By the time she could go there, the bank was distressed and taken over by NDIC. When she heard that NDIC was going to pay those with funds in distressed banks, she even wrote NDIC over this matter and till today, nothing has been said by NDIC.â€
Okiro gives valedictory address
Addressing senior Police officers at the Force headquarters, the outgoing I-G said: â€œAs you all know, by tomorrow, Friday 24th July 2009, I will be sixty years old and therefore due to leave the service of the Nigeria Police Force. To serve is a call to duty and to retire is a deserved honour. I am happy to have had the privilege of serving this country at this level and Iâ€™m grateful to God for the opportunity to see the last days of that service.
â€œThe happiness that pervades my heart cannot be imagined but it is spectacular because I make this speech today surrounded by my colleagues and confidants, the people who have laboured and weathered the storm of the past two years with me, the best men and women that I have ever known.
â€œAt this point, I must say that the dawn of a new era is approaching for the Nigeria Police force. I say this because we are a people unduly faced with risks, with a life expectancy less than that of normal people, always in the public eye, hardly appreciated, always burying our dead and mourning our colleagues who fall on duty. Yet in recent times, we have had cause to rejoice and celebrate among ourselvesâ€.
Okiro continued â€œOnly recently, we rallied around one another to publicly celebrate the retirement and pull-out parade of the Cadet Inspector course 21/1974 totaling 24 senior officers. Today, the 13th indigenous Inspector-General of Police is about clocking the ripe age of 60 years and retiring from the noblest profession on planet earth.
â€œI look around, each face I behold; I see in it, the strength that has kept us and the resilience that has sustained our vision and the understanding, love and loyalty with which we survived the difficult times. You have all been wonderful. We fought the battle together and today we take the credit togetherâ€.
Until his new appoitment as Inspector-General of Police, last night, then Deputy Inspector-General in charge Administration, Ogbonna Onovo, responding on behalf of officers and men of the force described the outgoing Inspector-General as a child of destiny pointing out that from the work he has done since becoming the IG, â€œwe can say that he came, saw and conqueredâ€.