By Evelyn Usman
On November 4, 2010, Mr Hafiz Ringim was confirmed by the National Council of State as the 15th substantive Inspector-General of Police, having served in acting capacity for two months. Same day, he announced the disbanding of multiple crime squads in the states nationwide, arguing that the squads had become inefficient, with his focus majorly on conducting a crime free elections.
The IG who in his five-point agenda highlighted the curbing of violent crimes as a major assignment, announced putting necessary machinery in place, including the collaboration of other security agencies as measures aimed at meeting up with challenges of the moment.
But with his appointment came some major security challenges which posed a worrisome phenomenon to the growth of the nation. First, he was confronted with the Boko Haram sect in the northern part of the country, which has the police and innocent citizens as its target. Regrettably, countless number of policemen have been killed by members of this sect who are agitating for the establishment of Sharia in the northern part of the country. Even though the leader of the sect was said to have been killed, his members are still holding sway with their activities unchecked.
Another major challenge that seemed to have thrown the IG off balance was the recent Police/Army clash at Badagry, Lagos, where the Badagry Divisional Police Officer, its Divisional Crime Officer, the Operation Officer and other policemen were murdered in cold blood by suspected soldiers from the Ibereko Barracks. There is, however, a twist in the murder of these policemen following the long silence by the Police and the Army in fishing out the perpetrators of the dastardly act. Although both security agencies claimed to have begun investigation into the remotest cause of the trouble, till date, nothing has been heard.
The Badagry killings
Policemen, on their part, have registered their disappointment over the utterances made by the IG on the issue, describing him as being biased and insensitive to the plight of his men.
A non governmental Organisation, Africans for Human Rights International (AfriRights), recently called for the resignation of the Inspector-General of Police over what it described as his inability to come out with a definite response to the murder of his men .
Expressing its displeasure over the IG’s remark that there was no clue that soldiers were responsible for the murder of his men, President of AfriRights, Mr Afolabi Gbajumo,during the funeral parade for the slain cops at the Command Headquarters, Ikeja, last week, said: “It is very unfortunate for such utterance to come from a man at the helm of affairs in the Nigeria Police Force. He is supposed to be a custodian for the Police rather than being spokesman for the Army. For this reason, I am calling for the resignation of the IG”.
Wondering why the IG would be holding brief for the Army, the organisation urged President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly to, as a matter of urgency, direct for an open investigation.
While the IG may be smarting from different public opinion over his remarks, an unprecedented incident occurred following yesterday bomb blast right at the car park of the Police headquarters, killing two persons and destroying hundreds of cars.
The explosion no doubt, sent fears down the spines of many Nigerians who are apparently wondering how safe the country is, considering the seeming inability to check incidents of bomb explosions around the country. It is hope that the Inspector General of Police and other security operatives come together and proffer possible ways to checkmate the worrisome development for the safety of all.