By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor
LAGOS â€” Outgoing Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mike Okiro, hasÂ thanked Nigerians for their support during his two years in the saddle as the nation’s number one policeman.
In a letter he personally signed dated Tuesday, July 21, Mr Okiro said: “I wish to cease this opportunity to convey my sincere appreciation to you for your support, assistance and encouragement to me during my two year tenure as the thirteenth indigenous Inspector-General of Police of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I am indeed very grateful.
“As you may already have known, by Friday 24th July, 2009, I will be sixty 60 years old and therefore be leaving the service of the Nigeria Police Force.
My years in the service have been most interesting and I will relish quite candidly, the warm relationship which I had with your Press Organization during the length of my service years.
“I write quite particularly in respect to the friendship we have both enjoyed and use this medium to wish you the very best in your service to our noble profession. It is my prayer that the good Lord will see you through and grantyou a successful service to rise to the top of your career as He did for me.
“My exit from the Nigeria Police Force will not in any way affect the relationship which we have developed over the years.
I am leaving the Force with fulfillment knowing that I have left the Nigeria Police Force in competent hands and that you will cooperate with my successor the way you assisted me.
“Once again, I wish you Godâ€™s guidance as I pray that He grants you the ability and wisdom to live right and embrace the victory tape at the end of your journalist career.
“Please remain blessed and keep in touch and accept this as my little appreciation.”
However, alleged plans by some faceless groups to rubbish the name of the outgoing Inspector-General of Police has been uncovered, this is just as Aso Rock sources hinted, last night, that the presidency may be planning to extend Okiroâ€™s tenure based on his track records, including the maturity and high professionalism he exhibited during his tenure as IG.
According to a source, â€œthe towering stature and image of Okiro, especially in the media coupled with his unblemished records as an achiever are so overwhelming that some people who have coalesced into a group have sworn to paint him with tar by making wild, frivolous and fictitious allegations against him.
â€œThe group is not comfortable with his rising profile, especially based on the national assignment given to him by President Yarâ€™Adua on the issue of Niger Delta crisis and Haliburton scam. They have therefore discreetly permeated the presidency using very powerful and well-connected lobby groups.â€
According to the sources, they have perfected plans to paint him black by embarking on campaigns of calumny, blackmail and unnecessary subterfuge. â€œThe groupâ€, the sources continued, â€œare not happy that Okiro may emerge as the only IGP that left office without blemish. They are so optimistic and will go to any length to sway the mind of Mr President because they are also very uncomfortable with the media which they think will always sway their opinions in Okiroâ€™s favour,â€ the source stated.
Meanwhile, anxiety has continued to heighten over the appointment of a new IG as the tenure of Mr. Okiro expires tomorrow. It is widely speculated in police circles that President Yarâ€™Adua will either announce the extension of Okiroâ€™s tenure next week or choose a new helmsman for the Force amongst many of the contenders to the exalted position.