By Yinka Odumakin
FOR those who have forgotten, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, the current Inspector General of police was the Commissioner of Police in Kano state during the 2015 elections. He supervised an election in which one million more voters turned out to vote for a Presidential candidate than the 800,000 who voted in the National Assembly polls that held simultaneously.
Unconfirmed reports said the Kano Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Alhaji Mukaila Abdullahi protested the conduct of the elections. Six days after the elections, Abdullahi died along with his wife and daughters in a fire incident early morning.
Idris as the state Commissioner of Police, said preliminary investigation confirmed that Abdullahi and members of his family died out of suffocation arising from a fire, suspected to have emanated from electrical debunking speculations that the dead were murdered. He stated that there was no trace of sabotage at the scene of the incident.
His words: “Today (Friday) at about 4:30 a.m., the police men on guard duty at the official residence of the Resident Electoral Commissioner Kano state, Alhaji Munkaila Abdullahi located at No. 2 Sir Kashim Ibrahim Road, Nassarawa GRA, Kano, observed a fire emanating from a split unit A/C in the sitting room.
“They made several attempt to get in touch with him, including banging the doors and breaking some of the toilets windows but he was not responding. The police men and local guards broke the door leading to the sitting room, and discovered the sitting room was engulfed by fire and smoke.
They then went to the side of the door leading to the masters bedroom, broke the door and entered; they were not inside the bed room and the Police then went to the bathroom, inside the master bedroom and found the REC, his wife and his two daughters unconscious on the floor.”
This forensic investigation carried out hours after the incident was the last we heard on the matter.
By July 2016,Idris was announced as the new Inspector General of Police by President Muhammadu Buhari.A news analysis by Vanguard Newspaper on 5th July 2016 said of the process that threw Idris up :
“Shockingly, the emergence of Idris has ushered in a total turn around in the Force. In fact, it was like the long awaited clean sweep. Just in the wake of the appointment, no fewer than 21 assistant inspectors-general of police were shown the way out of the Force in an exercise generally seen as a colossal loss to the Force. Besides the AIGs, also six deputy inspectors-general of police, DIGs, most were mandatorily retired with their immediate boss. Amongst the victims were most of the well trained, exposed and tested officers in the Force. Many believe that their unceremonious exit will, certainly, create a yawning vacuum in the beleaguered Force.
The victims: Prominent amongst the officers thrown out were Umaru Abubakar Manko, a former Commissioner of Police in Lagos State whose track records in crime fighting remains unequalled till date, Bala Hassan, an officer with a very sound intellectual base whose performances in different parts of the country especially, when he headed the elite Mobile Police Force, remains enviable; Kalafite H. Adeyemi, the only female victim, a lawyer and psychologist, she was the first female commissioner of police in Oyo, Osun and Taraba states at different times and also the first female assistant inspector-general of police at Zone 11 comprising Oyo, Osun and Ondo states. Adenrele Shinaba, Johnson Ogunsahaki, Edgar Nanakumo, smooth operator and achiever, Adisa Bolanta, the irrepressible and controversial Mbu Joseph Mbu and other achievers in the Force. Most of these officers have been trained both at home and abroad with tax payers’ money and still have many years to contribute to the unpliftment of the Force”.
Just like the paper predicted, the laurels have been coming in for the police under Idris.Nigeria has the worst police force in the world, according to World Internal Security and Police Index International, WISPI report released late last year for the year 2016.
While still savouring that global recognition,the Governor of Benue state conferred the boss of “the worst police in the world” with the title of “spokesman of killer herdsmen”.
The Governor gave the award in recognition of the clear demonstration by Idris that he seems beholden to special interest as against his constitutionally assigned role as the chief law enforcer of the country. The rampaging and murderous herdsmen have exposed the IGP as observing un-rule of law in diverse ways.
Shortly after the January 1 killings of 73 people in Benue, Idris declared that the killings arose from “communal feud” and that the killer herdsmen were Nigerians and asking for effect “are they not?”. He was later to deny the words we saw him pronounced on Television.
Shortly after the Police image maker,Moshood Jimoh was on Channels TV to declare the Benue Governor a “drowning man”. He was so adamant and it almost took the presenter calling off the programme for him to withdraw the crude and insolent statement. He is still keeping his job which suggests he was not speaking out of sync with the mindset of his boss.
The lowest moment for Idris was his technically renewing the license of the herdsmen to continue their rampage when he disclosed that the terror herdsmen pose to farmers ( not the wrong word “clashes”) will persist until state Governors establish ranches for herders in their states.
The Police Boss insisted that the herders can only be arrested or punished for open grazing if ranches are provided by the states.
Speaking at the Northern States Stakeholders Security Summit in Kaduna, he said: “it is my humble suggestion that to reduce the incidence of clashes between Farmers and Herders in Nigeria, State Governments should endeavour to establish grazing ranches in their various states before enacting laws to prohibit open rearing and grazing.
“It is when grazing ranches are established that herders can be arrested and punished for rearing and grazing on the open places.”
Ibrahim Idris said the establishment of ranches, “will make the law acceptable by all the parties concerned and other critical stakeholders in that all-important sector.
“It will do us good if we avoid the hasty formulation and implementation of such laws across the country in the interest of peace and unity. For instance, I have visited Benue and Nasarawa States and observed that the crisis trailing the Benue State prohibition of open rearing and grazing of livestock would have been mitigated if the State had first established grazing ranches before the prohibition of open grazing as provided in the State law established by the State Assembly”.
One should be laughing if this were not tragic for the Republic. A policeman who should enforce the law is now telling properly constituted authorities when to make law and the laws that some sacred cows will obey.This country is collapsing gradually unless we pretend not to know. I wrote here months back that many citizens of a dying country are preoccupied with existential challenges to piece together the death symptoms of their polity. The argument of the “spokesman of killer herdsmen” is akin to saying that the Federal Government should first ensure that all citizens are in a position to satisfy their needs before the EFCC can prosecute anybody for corruption !
Idris brazenness flows from the Constitution that ensures that the federating units don’t have police to enforce their laws in a country where theirs is Hisbah Police to enforce unconstitutional Sharia in some part of the country.
It is gratifying to note that the land is not in lack of real Governors,not sissies,who can stand up to these shenanigans. Ekiti Governor, Ayo Fayose said the IG had no power to order state governors around. He also said the IG was under an obligation to obey and ensure compliance with laws made by any state’s House of Assembly. The governor, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, insisted that the state would not heed the advice of the police chief. He said: “The Inspector-General of Police has no choice than to obey the laws made by any state. It is the duty of the police to enforce the law. Cattle rearing is regarded as a private business and it is not the duty of the governors to provide land for the herder. The real cattle owners are rich people who can afford land; they are not the nomadic cattle rearers from the North to the South of the country.
Speaking in a similar vein, the Taraba State governor maintained that his anti-grazing law was not the cause of the killings being perpetrated by the herdsmen in the state. Rather, he said the law remained one of the solutions to end the unwarranted massacre of law-abiding people in the state by herders.
Ishaku who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Emmanuel Bello, said the law in Taraba State was promulgated to put a stop to incessant attacks and killings by the herders. He said: “We have already enacted a law, but we are still prepared to listen to any good idea that brings about peace and mutual understanding among stakeholders.”
Bello explained that the state government was planning a pilot scheme on the creation of ranches to demonstrate that the global practice was also achievable in the country.
Similarly, the Benue State governor, who spoke through the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Lawrence Onoja Jr., challenged Idris to approach the court if he was not comfortable with the implementation of the law.
Onoja said: “Ibrahim Idris’ directive to state governors to establish ranches before operating grazing laws is totally against the Nigerian constitution and the act that established the Nigeria Police.
“It is not his duty and he does not have the power to direct governors. The police is not to interpret the law but to enforce it. Therefore, it is not for the IG to determine whether a law is right or wrong. It is the duty of the judiciary to interpret laws. If a law is passed and the IG feels it is not good enough, the best thing to do is to challenge the law in the court for interpretation”.
The commissioner maintained that ranching remained a lucrative private business and that it would be wrong for anyone to advocate that government should establish ranches for herdsmen or whoever that is venturing into such a business.
By the way,Idris placed advertorials in some national newspapers on February 22 asking all those who have legal and licensed weapons to turn them in within three weeks but we are yet to hear him give a word on Fulani herdsmen who are carrying illegal and unlicensed weapons all over the place .
It is a season of un-rule of law in Nigeria!