By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor
During the two years he spent in office as the 13th indigenous Inspector-General of Police in Nigeria,
it was almost impossible getting Sir Mike Mbama Okiro to comfortably speak exhaustively on issues of his headship of the Police Force and other matters arising.
Though,Â the 60 -year old former police helmsman cleverly avoided exclusive interviews ,but made concerted efforts to explain his programmes and policy thrust to the world through pragmatic action.Â He even succeeded in writing a book despiteÂ Â his very busy schedule.
Last Friday at the Eagle Square in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, a hugeÂ crowd besieged the arena to witness his farewell parade.Â Â The solemnity of the event was so emotional that a serving Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) was reported to have shed tears on seeing the number of market women and well- wishers surge into the arena to bid Okiro farewell.
Soon after the parade, the crowd also moved to Okiroâ€˜s official residence at the highbrow Maitama area of the city where they were lavishly treated to music, food and wine.Â Concerted efforts made to convince the former IGP to speak on his tenure nearly hit the rocks until the following day when he reluctantly obliged, after this comment, â€œI really would have loved to rest for now. I have spoken so much. But fire on.â€
How does it feel being in office as the IGPÂ for twoÂ years?
Those were two years of momentous period. A period whereÂ I was at alert for 24 hours.Â Â I didnâ€™t have time for self, not to talk of my family and my friends. I was happy in the sense that I was answering the call of duty of my country. I was happy in the sense that the things I did was little. But that was the best IÂ could do out of 140 million Nigerians.Â It was appreciated.
I had series of awards, accolades and had nationalÂ award from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I hadÂ accoladesÂ from organisations , individuals, state governmentsÂ and other corporate bodies. So, I was so happy that whatever I did was so appreciated. Also, I had a good support and loyalty from my officers.Â Â That was why I could achieve what I did.
I could not haveÂ done everything alone. As Inspector_ General of Police,Â I am in Abuja and I could not have been in almost all the states at the same time. So, all the officers played major role in ensuring that aims and aspirations of the police force, my mission statement and objectives wereÂ achieved.
How did you cope with demands of the office?
I thank God I canâ€™t tell you how I coped. But it was the handiwork of God.Â There was never a day I went to bed before 2 a.m,Â 6 a.m I would woke up.Â I have to go to mass.Â Â I go to mass everydayÂ because I knew God is supreme. First of all, one has to go and thank God for giving me a new day.
He has to give me the strength, the wisdom , the capability to face the new day. So,Â there was never a dayÂ I had enough time, rest or sleep. But it was God that kept me going. And true to time, God fulfilled what he promised for me.
What do you mostÂ miss now that you are no longer in office?
What I miss most? To me, itÂ sounds very funny- my interaction with my officers, their telephone calls, the state of the security of the nation and the constant problems that I was already solving.
Your passing out parade was very nostalgic, especially, with the mammoth crowd that turned out to witness it. How did you feel through out the ceremony?
In fact , I was backing the crowd because of the parade.Â But when I turned around to read my speech, that was when I saw the mammoth crowdÂ that came to witness the ceremony. I was so amazed and I was humbled. I said, â€˜I didnâ€™t believe Nigerians who were criticising police would turn out in that large numberâ€™.Â My passing out parade was so appreciative and you could see that from the number of people that turned out to bid me farewell.
And a couple were weeping and again an AIG was weeping and shedding tearsÂ and some members of the public were shedding tears and I told them not to cry and I tried to console them.
I told them that my not being there again did not mean anything and that the new IGP will take care of them.Â Â So, I was really impressed and amazed.
Some people are calling me, saying that â€˜Okiro, you didnâ€™tÂ extend invitation cards to usâ€™. Even yesterday (Friday),Â people wereÂ calling me that they saw the passing out ceremony on Television, yet I didnâ€™t tell them.Â That I was not faithful to them.
But I said, â€˜ sorry, it wasnâ€™t me that organized it. But it was organized by the police. The police printed and shared the invitation cards.Â That was why I could not reach these people.â€™
I was touched and that made me continue to have faith and confidence in this country called Nigeria and in service of the nation too.
There was an attempt to tar your image in the twilight of your carrier.
That was one issue that I did not want to talk about. But since you mentioned it, I can throw some light on it. My wife had been workingÂ with Agip. Note that Agip/ Shell had been in the wood.
She now buys from them as the contractor. By year 2002, she got this job to get a particular pipeline that caused this problem for her. By then, I was the CP Lagos state.Â Â In fact, she started working with them around 1996.Â I was a DPO.Â She got this job from Agip for $2.4 million. Agip in their own policy donâ€™t give mobilization. TheyÂ pay you as per mile stone .
She really didnâ€™t need this money fromÂ thisÂ bank. I donâ€™t know how the bank came to her and said, â€˜Madam, we heard that you had this job from Agip. Can we finance it?Â She said, â€˜Okay,Â I have no objectionâ€™. So, they started financing. She had no account with Lead Bank .
The condition the bank gave was to open an account with themÂ and they had to write to Agip to pay her through their bank.Â So, that Lead Bank would take their principal interest and give her money to continue with the job. So, the money was being paid in dollars.
At a point, she was putting in claims to Agip but any time she went to Lead Bank, they said Agip had not paid.Â Â But she kept onÂ working,Â securing money from other areas to keep the job going. At a point, she got tired and had to go to Agip to enquire why they had not been paying her.Â It was then that Agip told her that they had been paying to National Bank.
She went to National Bank and they said they did not know her.Â She went back to Lead Bank and they confessed that they had a problem with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and that they had been banned from foreign exchange transactions.Â So, she had to open an account with the National Bank with her company name, Hikiro Nigeria Ltd/ LeadÂ BankÂ Plc because Lead Bank is a signatory to the account. So, sheÂ hadÂ to come back to the Lead Bank.Â Â Lead Bank was now taking the money.
Each time Agip paid to National Bank, Lead Bank would now go and get their money from National Bank.Â Each time AGIPÂ paidÂ National Bank, they would send it to Lead Bank which was paying her in official dollar rate and she refused, insisting that she should be paid with the same currency in which Agip had paid her so that she could get someÂ higher profit.
I think they had a problem at that timeÂ but they later resolvedÂ the issue. But after some time, Lead Bank liquidated.Â My wifeÂ went to National Bank and the bank told her that she was not a signatory and they didnâ€™t know her. I was surprised at how they opened an accountÂ with Hikiro Nigeria Limited without a document. While we were saying this, National Bank printed a quotation and my wife became stranded.
So, whenÂ NDIC took over liquidated banks, she went to them and told them the problems she had with the National Bank and Lead Bank. â€˜Now that you have taken over the bank, I want you to go back to your records and tell me how much I have paid back from the loan I took from thisÂ bankÂ and how much they are owing me.â€™
They said they had no records.Â So, she was stranded. She did not know what to do. Those she was owing were on her neck. She started sellingÂ her tractors, excavators and cranes to pay the people she was owing.
But all of a sudden Lead Bank sent her a bill thatÂ she was owingÂ N 171 million. But initially, they said they did not have records. She asked howÂ they came about that amount. Immediately she sent her AccountantÂ to AGIP.Â Â AGIP had paid $2 million to National Bank.
She wrote to NDIC informing them that from her records, it appears, Leed Bank or National Bank was owing her by the calculations from her Accountant.Â Â Â She had not yet gotten any profit from the job.
This happenedÂ before IÂ became the IGP. So, she wrote to NDICÂ on July 8, 2009, with the statement of account she got from Agip, showing how much they paid to the National Bank. Of course, she would have to explain the account at National Bank because she did not have an account with the Bank. After writing to NDIC, there was no reply from them.
On July 23, I got a letterÂ addressed to me that I was owing N 121 million.Â Â Then on 24 July, I was supposed to retire and surrender my papers. So, the issue is that I was not owing them and my wife was not owing them.Â Â The company, Hikiro Nigeria Limited, is a limited liability and a legal entity.Â They could sue and be sued. Assuming Hikiro Nigeria LimitedÂ is owing so and so, it will be different, instead of saying Mike Okiro is owing N121 million. Why did he do that?
Now, let me tell you why he did that. You remember that sometime,Â either February, March or AprilÂ this year, depositors of the failed banks wrote a petition to the National Assembly that NDIC was with their money. People with N10 million, N20 million N100 million, NDIC gave them onlyÂ N 50, 000.Â And sat on their money. So many of them had died out of hypertension and heart break.
There was a public hearing which was shown on television and broadcast on radio also.Â The National Assembly invited NDIC to come along with the list of all debtors to the failed banks.Â Â My wifeâ€™s company name was not there. So, at the end of the day, the Senate Committee on Banking and Finance wrote me a letter to investigate NIDC.Â Based on that letter from the National Assembly, IÂ investigated NDIC andÂ charged Ogunloye and five others to court for fraudÂ and misappropriation.
So, a week before my retirement…. BeforeÂ this,Â he was sending emissaries to me, making promises. And I said, â€˜ I am not going to see anybody. You have to go to court.â€™Â So, one of those peopleÂ he was sending to meÂ met me at the airport and claimed Ogunleye told him,
`Yes, your friend ,Okiro.Â I think he will soon retire. I will embarrass him.â€™
The man came and told me all this and I waved it off, wondering how he would embarrass me.Â He didnâ€™t go to tell the court that I was sharing NDIC money or how he was going to embarrass me. I didnâ€™t know this was the angle he was going to use.
My wifeâ€™s company is not owing this bank or NDIC. Instead, the banks are owing herÂ and again it wasnâ€™t me that took the loan. The company in question was opened by my wife in 1984.
So, howâ€™s the case now?
Well,Â I leave everything to God. I have forgiven them alreadyÂ in the spirit of Ramadan.Â God, Allah (whateverÂ name he is called ) is one and he preaches forgiveness. Once I have forgiven him, let him and God settle the matter.
When you saw the publications, how did you feelÂ especially, whenÂ you recalled that some of yourÂ predecessors were disgraced, either while in office or immediately after leaving office?
I didnâ€™t even know that this was on. I was busy. My daughter called me, I think Thursday night and she told me that she went to the internet and she saw my name on some of the papers. I asked, â€˜what had happened?â€™Â My daughter called my wife who gave details of the story.
That was why I was able to give a sketchy reply the following day.Â Â So, I felt,Â very , very bad. This man said he was going to embarrass meÂ and that was how he wanted to embarrass me.Â I wonâ€™t say I was an angel all the same.Â Â I made very conscious efforts not to be a devil.
I did my job. I kept to the rules. I played the games by the rules and I made sure I did the right thing at the right time. I donâ€™t think anybody can say Okiro did this or did that to him. So,Â when this came up and I saw some commentatorsÂ trying toÂ paint some pictures.
They mentioned Tafa. They mentioned Ehindero. They mentioned me.Â I felt very bad. But what made me very happy at last was when I got a letter from the President commending me. Probably after he had read the papers, he felt there was nothing in all these.
But the question people asked was that even if Okiro had done anything, he had only been on this seat for just two years,Â yet this bank transaction started inÂ year 2000Â when he was not even a DIG, not to talk of IG.Â Â Why wait until the last day and he thought it good to carry out his threat to embarrass me?
It goes to show that it was a hit back because I charged him to court.Â Â This transaction took place in 2000 and he never did anything until I took him to court.Â So, I felt bad but that letter from my President gave meÂ a lot of hope that after all said and done, Nigeria is a place worth serving.
What about media houses that celebrated those things. Are you going to court?
The media houses only gave the stories they were given.Â Â They didnâ€™t know the facts. LikeÂ that day when the press men asked the question, and I gave the answers. People were surprised, and I gave the documents and I gave the letter from the National Assembly asking me to investigate the case.
The charge sheet in which Ogunleye and five others were charged to court, the report from the NDIC to National Assembly listing all theÂ companies owing theÂ liquidated banks in which my wifeâ€™s company was not there. So, people were surprised.
What really happened? Many thoughtÂ that President Yarâ€˜Adua would extendÂ your tenure?
The PresidentÂ believes in the rule ofÂ law and due process. The law says that one should retire from public service when one is 60years of age or 35 years of service or whichever case. I served 32 years in the police force and left at 60 years.
The President has done the right thing. So, there was no intrigue. He is a man that keeps to his word to keep the laws as he expects the people to keep the laws and obey the law themselves.Â Â He has done the right thing.
Did you clamour for extension of tenure?
I didnâ€™t.Â Â I know the law and I know that the President keeps to the law. So, how can you go ahead struggling for second term or extension of tenure?
Is Onovo your anointed IGP?
What do you mean by anointed?
The impression people have is thatÂ you recommended Onovo highly among other contestants.
If you realized…. The appointment of an IGP is a prerogative of Mr. President with theÂ recommendation and approval of the police council.Â IÂ am not the President.Â Â Â The President decides who should be his IG, who he will take to the police council for approval.
Your tenure.Â Â What would you say were your greatest achievements while in office?
I have a lot of land mark achievements.Â Â I would not really say which is the greatest achievement. It is left for people who have been affected to say which of them is the greatest. And the police is so wide. There is nothing you can do to affect 377 people at the same time. So, each person is affected in a different way.
The way an area affects you could be the best achievement. But for me, I think itâ€™s the salary structure that was introduced and policemen had to smile home on a proper pay day than before. I think it is a very good achievement.
The police housing scheme which is very basic to human nature. Anybody, whether you have a job or not, whether you eat or not, you must put your head somewhere, must rest somewhere. So, housing is very, very basic. That is why I think the police housing scheme is one of the most important policies I have put in place.
This police housing scheme. It seems the centre can no longer hold.Â The banks are not showing much interest in the deal. What is happening?
I wouldnâ€™t know because the issue is that developers sought for land from government, and some gave us land while some have not given us C of O .Â If they give C of O,Â we refer to developers who will now go to the banks. It is on-going.
First Bank, Oceanic Bank are financing.Â Â The idea is that these people will build these houses, Federal Mortgage Bank will buy them over. The officers will apply for them on individual basis from Federal Mortgage Bank.Â Itâ€™s on-going.Â We have Cintage developers and Aso_ savings. You cannot expect all the banks to respond. They have their own way of doing things. Some are opting out why some are not.
Now, that you are out ofÂ office, can you honestly tell us what you would have wished to accomplish that you were unable to doÂ whileÂ in office.
When I took over as acting IG, I had a 9- point programme which I followed assiduously. I touched all of them. There is no one I did notÂ touch. The success or achievement could be another thing. So, I cannot say there was something I did not do. I did all I wanted to do.
By the way, donâ€™t you think that the posting and appointment of IGP is being politicised at the expense of professionalism.
I would not think so because before you appoint an IGP, you must take so many things into consideration. Professionalism is one of them and of course politics too.Â Nigeria has 36 states and six geo- political zones.Â Â So, every section of the country should be taken into consideration when appointments are being made. That is why the appointment of the IGP should have a political and professional face.Â Â You cannot divorce one from the other.
Removal of Ribadu seems to be one of the most contentiousÂ issues during your tenure. What really happened?
That issue of Ribadu is in court.Â Â I donâ€™t want to comment on it.
What is the relationship between you and your predecessors in office like, especially Tafa Balogun and Sunday Ehidero?
Very cordial.Â I had a robust relationship with them.
They were my bosses.Â Â I had that boss and officer relationship with them. And also, before they became IGs ,we were very friendly. I needed them. So, we had a very cordial relationship. One thing was that I still give them the respect I gave them while I wasÂ the IG, and a DIG under them.
While in office, you embarked on extensive overseas tours.Â Â What, in concrete terms,Â were the gains of such tours?
A lot.Â Let me remember three areas. I went to Spain. I discussedÂ about forensic aid from the Spanish government. I sent some police officers to Spain at no cost to the police and the Nigerian government. They trained our men in forensic science,Â free of charge.
Also, when we went to the Interpol conference in Russia, I also met the Russian minister of Interpol.Â Â I talked about trainingÂ of police officersÂ and I sent about 12Â police officersÂ Â to Russia Police AcademicÂ for training.Â Â They also agreed to train fiveÂ helicopter pilots free of chargeÂ from Nigeria Police Force.Â I went to ScotlandÂ Yard andÂ discussedÂ the possibility ofÂ training men on anti-terrorism.
They agreed and I sent some men to metropolitan police to train on anti- terrorism.Â In Egypt, I went to Interpol conference, general African conferences. I equally spoke to their police.Â Â They agreed to train some of our men on anti-terrorism. When we went for Interpol conferences, I met Mr. Noble of Interpol.
I spoke with him about communication in the Nigeria Police Force, about I_247, LAGOS ABUJA to link up other west African countries and being hooked in Interpol I-247.Â It means thatÂ onceÂ a car is stole in Nigeria, you cue in toÂ I_247, itâ€™s all over the world. He did it for us withÂ Interpol â€˜s money. Also, some of our men were trained in ItalyÂ as a result of my encounter with these people during Interpol conferences.
When I went to New York on United Nations Peace Keeping, I talked about the need for our officers to be trained. A total of 24 policemen were trained in Italy.
The chairman of Police EquipmentÂ Funds, Chief Kenny Martins, has been alleging witch-hunting against you and some others based on pecuniary interests. Can you throw some light on that?
That sounds very funny. Kenny Martins is known every where. I donâ€™t need to give you his background and pedigree.Â Â Every body knows that. Thatâ€˜s all I can tell you. I never demanded anything from him and he never gave me anything.
There was a public hearing and all the people who demanded money, whom they gave money. It is public knowledge. Did you see Mike Okiro there when they were calling names on Radio, Television etc?Â Â Nobody mentioned my name or the IG. He never gave me anything.Â Â Â For him to say, as a drowning man, that itâ€˜s witch-hunting based on pecuniary demands, is unfortunate.
The Niger -Delta issue and incessant kidnapping in the South East tookÂ a more dangerous dimension, even before you left office.Â Â Will it be true to say that these hydra_headed problems overwhelmed you?
It canâ€™t overwhelm me.Â Â When problems come, and we are fighting crime, sometimes a new crime rears its head. You have to devise ways ofÂ tackling it. Before this Niger Delta issues came to the fore, not much was heard of kidnapping.
Though it has been an issue for a while, but not in this magnitude we are experiencing in Nigeria.Â Â They started as a way by which Niger Delta militants showed their grievances against oil companies and neglect by government by kidnapping oil workers and demanding ransom from them.
This has snowballed to other parts of the country and the South-East where people are kidnapping, this time around, not only oil workers but other Nigerians, children going to school, rich people in the house. I looked at this and said the problem with kidnapping in Nigeria is that most of the time, theseÂ kidnap cases are being championed by insiders.
Weâ€™ve had cases where a driver would hand over the children they were taking to school and say they were kidnapped. Cases where a house help will hand over or provide information about relations of their master in order to get money from the kidnappers.
The most disturbing aspect is that sometimes,Â these kidnapping are being faked. Weâ€™ve had a situation where a girl faked she was being kidnapped. She ran way with her boyfriend andÂ the boyfriend was calling the father for money. So, all these things, we found out that it would be difficult to achieveÂ success.Â This is because we found that in as much as we advisedÂ victims not to pay ransom, some still went ahead and paid,Â and we found out.
Like I explained to you,Â most of the kidnap cases are being planned by insiders. So, if Mr. Aâ€™s relation was kidnapped and he reported to the Police and Mr. B knows he reported to the police, he tells Mr. B. Probably, Mr. B is in alliance with the kidnappers and Mr. A says, â€˜Aah! See. What I discussed with the police yesterday, kidnappers are already awareâ€™.
So, this time, they donâ€™t want to go to police. I look at this and I said it is not easy. With all this, I think it not easy for the police to provide security forÂ over 140 million peopleÂ in this country since they can go for not only VIPs but after old men in the village, school pupils.
I feltÂ the best way was to lookÂ at the modus operandi of the kidnappers and try to stop it. I found out that once a victim is kidnapped, they contact relations, via their mobile phones. I felt that the best way to check this was to ensure that all the GSM sim cardsÂ were registered.
So that whoever has a sim card will have his name, photograph, fingerprint and addressÂ registered so that once a number is dialled from any of the providers, the Nigeria Police Force would know who made those calls. I put that bill before the National Assembly.
It had not been passed into law before I leftÂ office.Â Â I also worked on the law on kidnapping. It was very weak and I tried to strengthen it by puttingÂ it before the National Assembly. Yet, it has not seen the light ofÂ day. I am sure that by the time this comes into effect, it will not wipe out kidnapping completely but it will reduce it.
What happened to the intelligence unit of the force during your tenure with regards to the massive illegal importation of arms ammunitions which aided the Niger Delta commotion?
You know the police had their intelligence unit called E- branch in those days.Â Â By 1975 or thereabout, the E- branch was scrapped and it metamorphosedÂ into the National Security Organisation (NSO).
The essence of E- branch of those days was to tap information, criminal intelligence, so to say, and pass it to the mainstream of the police.
Even when we were younger, we heard about policemen pretending to be mad men, trying to gather information. But after sometime, that has died down. So, when I came on board, I invigorated CIB into a full- fledge intelligence unit headed by an AIG.
I equally sent them toÂ placesÂ like Israel, Italy, Great Britain, Russia and Egypt to tap their style. I realised that it was better, more cost effective for us to stop the criminals before they operate and if you carelessly allow them to operate ,there would be loss of humanÂ lives and even a lot of time would be wasted. By the time you arrest and take them to court, you must have wasted a lot of time. So, itâ€™s better you stop them before they operate.
That is why intelligence is very good. That is also one of the areas I brought up.
Were they able to checkÂ illegalÂ importation of arms and ammunitions in the country?
We made some catches through intelligence.Â Sometimes,Â we infiltrated the criminals and made a lot of arrests, mostly on oil bunkerers and arms importations.
You were head of those that investigated the Haliburton affair. Now that you are out of office, what becomes of the case?
It was said that the chairman was to be the IG. It never said that he, Chairman should be Mike Okiro. Mike Okiro is gone.Â Â He is no longer the IGP. The new IGP takes over from Mike Okiro.
During your tenure, President Yarâ€™Adua gave marching orders to the police to fish out perpetrators of high- profile killings in the country. DidÂ you achieve any success in that regard?
Yes, I did something, most especially, the case of the Igwes at
Onitsha. I was able to get through the case file and I re-investigated and charged the suspects to court. But I got stuck somewhere and found out that in the Nigeria Police Force, there are only two sources of evidence in investigation.Â One is confessional statement, which meansÂ after arresting a suspect, heÂ confessed that he committed the crime.
The second is when a suspect was seen committing the crime or offence. Aside from these two ways,Â there are no other aid. Forensic aids are very essential. Every criminal leaves a trace. TheseÂ can easilyÂ be traced through the aid of scientific methods which we donâ€™t have in Nigeria.
That is why in some of these cases,Â I got stuck because when there is nothing to analyse the evidence found on the scene of a crime, it becomes very difficult to prove. But I am sure we were able to track down two to three of those cases.
Can you beat your chestÂ and say you fought corruption to a standstill during your tenure?
Yes, I did. The X-squad has been in existence since. But I tried to equally extend it and I made it very effective. I got a very good Commissioner of Police in-charge and I made Commissioners in their states establish their own X-squadÂ Â to control their men.
I made them realise that it was expensive for them to get vehicles for the men,Â pay them allowances, service the vehicles so that they could travel through the 36 states and Abuja.Â Â It was easier for me if the CPs came on their own and established their own X-squad and arrested their men. I told them that if I had to leave Abuja for a state and I met a policeman on the road, I would hold the CP responsible and I did that.
Some CPs were queried and they sat up and started controlling their men. I would not say corruption was completely eradicated because to bring it done to zero level was not possible but I brought it down to a respectable minimum.
What about your human right records?
I wanted to say that unfortunately, some police officers have not seen democracy. Some of them were born during the military rule and they grew up as police officers in the military regime, and they donâ€™t know the differences between democracy and the military regime.
When I was the CP of Lagos state, every week, I took ten policemen from every division to the police training to teach them tenets of democracy, the constitution, the section that bothers on human rights, etc.Â Â I did that every week and at the end, I gave them certificate of attendance .
When I was the IGP, IÂ also sent some policemen to the United States of America to learn how to police Nigerians and they were sent to institutions to learn human rights. Apart from that,Â I made sure that at every division,Â they should post human rights officers, mainly lawyers, who should look at every case with human rights implications, and they should make sure the police did not violate the human right of the citizens.
At theÂ end of the day, the police still had human rights abuses since as human beings, we canâ€™t be hundred percent perfect. There are some that even if you teach them for one million years, they will still act the way they want.
Rumours have been rife that you acquired properties andÂ structures in almost all the states of the federation within the two years you served as IGP.Â How far is this true?
It sounds very funny because I was getting petitions that Okiro had filling stations in every state of the federation and estates at choice cities inÂ every state. I laughed. These are creations of people who are just standing by the side.Â I said, â€˜if Okiro has filling stations, it cannot be hidden.
And if you know I have I filling station, why not show the entire nation where it isâ€™. So, people can go to those filling stations and ask who are the owners.
Mention these estates so that people will go there, enquire who owns them. So, these petitions started coming.Â Â I dismissed them.
ButÂ you realised that my wife was in business since 1985, somebody that has done contractÂ worth $5 million and she made profit. She didnâ€™t throw the money away.Â Â She invested the money somewhere.Â And before I entered officeÂ of the IGP, I declared my asset. Now that left, I will soon declare my asset as well.
What will now occupy your time?
I cannot say specifically what I will do. But I have a couple of options. I can sit down and write books. It might not occupy all my time.Â Â I may open up a law chambers and run a law firm.Â Â I may go into business but not briefcase carrying.
I may go and take my traditional stool from my people.Â Â They are calling me to come take care of them. There are several options.Â I am still considering them.Â For now, I am going to take a one month break, at least,Â go out of circulation and think of what to do.
We gathered that some of the promotions you gave before you left office were cancelled.Â What really happened?
There were no promotions.
I am still aware of what the law says.Â Â The Police Service Commission has the responsibility for appointment, promotions, discipline, dismissal, disciplinary actionsÂ against police officers, all ranks except the Inspector- General of Police.
What I did was actingÂ appointments. Acting appointment is not promotion. It is something that is very common in the police. Somebody can be promoted today and the next time, he will get acting appointment. He goes out for the appointment until he is due for promotion.
If you look at our staff listÂ or look at the name of everybody by rank, if somebody,Â for example an ASP,Â who comes out with an acting DSP,Â in our staff list ,we still refer him as ASP because he has not been promoted.
What I had done was to give acting appointments to officers where there were vacancies but they could act on that rank until they were promoted. This is not new.Â Â It had been happening like that in the police.
Even if they were due for promotionsÂ that didnâ€™t mean they had been promoted. Some can be promoted today and tomorrow they will get appointment.
That didnâ€™t mean they had been promoted.Â Â The Inspector-General of police has the power under the law to give appointment to police officers when there are vacancies. But the Police Service Commission has the power to promote officers.
What advice do you have for your successor at least, to avoidÂ the banana peel in the force?
I know he is going to avoid the banana peel.
The position of the IGP of Nigeria is one that the incumbent has to be very carefulÂ and watch his back every minute of the day.
Because I have gone through it for two years and I am not speculating. Reasons are because everybody wants to be IGP, even a constable. So, he has to be very careful because every mistake he makes will count against him. Make sure you do the right thing.Â That was my defence.Â Â Everything I did, I made sure they are right.
I could have made mistake as a human being but I was careful.Â Â I never made such that could tarnish my image. If you call me tomorrow and say this is what I did, I will give reasons and also I will back up my actions and you will not see a way of faulting me.
My advice is that he has to keep to the rules and regulations of the police and observe all the their codes of conduct, keep to the laws of the federation. One thing I hate doing isÂ gossip and rumour. I donâ€™t accept any form of gossip.
If you come to me and say NnadozieÂ said this about me, I will rebuff you and ask you to tell Nnadozie to come say it to my face. And some of these people who come to gossip about one person or the other are only trying to make you see them as those that love you more. They will say they have heard this, they have heard that.
And if you watch very carefully, people who gossip are trying to make you divert attention from reality. By the time these people gossip with you, you will leave what you are supposed to do and you start chasing shadows.