Opinion

The Task Ahead Acting IGP Usman Alkali Baba

By Eric Elezuo

During the week, the Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, sold Nigerians a dummy while explaining the rationale behind the sacking of former Inspector of Police, Mihammed Adamu, whose tenure was extended to three months just one month after, and replacing him with Deputy Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, with immediate effect.

Asking Nigerians to cut President Muhammadu Buhari a slack in his decision to terminate the former’s appointment and appointing Buba, Dingyadi said that “After a thorough check of a shortlist of suitably qualified police officers from the rank of DIGs and AIGs, who are eligible police officers, eligible for appointment as I-G, in line with Section 7, Sub-section 2 of the Nigeria Police Act (2020); and having regards to seniority, professionalism, a record of service and competence, the president has approved the appointment of an acting I-G, in the person of Usman Alkali Baba, with immediate effect.

“These changes are in line with the determination of the president to rejig the security architecture and to ensure that the security challenges bedevilling the nation are brought to an end.

“The president has, therefore, charged the new appointee to rise to the challenge to ensure policing reform policy of this administration are fully prioritised and implemented to enable the police to perform most effectively for the peace and security of lives and property of all Nigerians.”

Setting aside the politics of Baba’s appointment in terms of eligibility and more, it is worthy of note that the task ahead of the new police boss is enormous, and requires undaunted fear, professionalism and clout to undertake. The new IGP must be willing to call a spade a spade to reunify a country that has so factionalised along ethnic and religious lines even in the area of security.

In recent times, Imo State and the entire South East region have become a hotspot of unbridled hooliganism and unchecked vandalism. The unprovoked attacks on security facilities and personnel has become rampant, and needed urgent attention. Perhaps that explains the reason behind the sacking of Adamu. He appeared helpless in the face of bloody activities of the unknown gunmen in the area. His speedy heaping of blame on the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) as the perpetrators of the act without due diligence may have suggested that the former police boss had already ran out of ideas, and was just occupying space waiting for the supposed three months to elapse.

Baba is therefore, saddled with the responsibility of unmasking the forces behind the incessant killings, kidnappings, looting and jailbreaks among a whole lot of vices prevalent in the country presently.

While tongues are already wagging from many quarters concerning the rationale behind his appointment, Baba has to prove that he is equal to the task, and jettison the ethnic coloration in the discharge of his duties.

Taking into cognisance that Nigerians have lost fate in what is generally referred to as Buhari’s Fulanisation of the country, Baba must prove that he is not another instrument of bigotry and ethnic cleansing.

He will do well to be the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police, and not for a section of the country as so many are wont to believe.

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