Posted by VINCENT UJUMADU on
THE great cop, Mr Sunday Aghedo, an assistant inspector general of Police (AIG), is bowing out of the police after 33 years of service to the nation.
THE great cop, Mr Sunday Aghedo, an assistant inspector general of Police (AIG), is bowing out of the police after 33 years of service to the nation. Indeed, the Edo State born police officer was one of the first set of Nigerians to join the police straight from the university. In the course of his service to his fatherland, Aghedo has worked in five out of the six geo-political zones of the country. His retirement also coincides with his 60th birthday which falls on December 25, Christmas.
Last Tuesday, the top cop commenced his three months pre-retirement leave after which he would officially be pulled out. Leaving the only job he knows how to do since coming out of the university, how would he cope with retirement? He said: "I am a police man even hereafter. We will remain gurus and people can come to consult us".
Going down memory lane, he recalled with nostalgia and satisfaction how sometime in 2001, he was in Umuahia for what he called "my first missionary journey to Abia State".
He said : "I was the pioneer AIG for zone nine. There was nothing on ground. But because we have a dynamic leader as governor of the state who is very committed to security, the job was made easy for me. Because the governor knows very well that security is a sine-qua-non for socio-political and economic development, he supported us in everyway. I was the guest of the Government House for several months before I went to the War College on course in September 2001".
Experience at the War College
This is one of the highest institutions in this country for senior executive courses and because I went with Umuahia blood in me, I distinguished myself in the college. I came out as a top scholar with the best research project on internal security which is the business I know how to do best.
Talking further about security, Aghedo said any nation that toys with her security is indirectly undermining her development. "Security is always at the centre point of any development and without adequate security, whatever one does is like building a house on sand which obviously will fall like pack of cards.", he stated. His regret is that many Third World countries play down security which, perhaps is why they find it difficult to develop. The sooner the attitude is changed, he added, the better.
Indeed, the work has taken Aghedo to virtually all parts of the country and exposed him to highly challenging duties. His words: "I want to say with all measure of pride that in my 33 years of service, I have served in five out of the six geo-political zones of the country. To God be the glory, it has been a very successful journey and career, I am a Nigerian to the core. I am a Nigerian of a superlative degree. Whether in North West, South West, South East or South South, I had held very powerful appointments. I was commissioner of police in Osun State and I handled the Ife/Modekeke crisis between 1996 and 1998 with distinction and accomplishment. I was commissioner of police in Lagos State during the military regime just before the present democracy came into being. At the appropriate time, the untold story about me in Lagos will be told. I was also commissioner of police in Benue State and I handled the Jukun crisis and left the foot prints on the sands of time. It was from there that I relocated to zone nine in Umuahia as AIG. From here I went to Zone Six in Calabar where I stayed for about three years when I returned from my course. So it has been very interesting and at every port of call, I had the support of the chief executives of the states."
He said that it is not by sheer coincidence that he is checking out of the job from where he started as AIG. "I just feel that the Almighty God decided that my second missionary journey to Umuahia was an opportunity for me to complete an uncompleted job," he added. He did not say where he would settle down after retirement, but however gave a Bini proverb which says that "when you are getting very old, it is better to bring your farm to the back of your house so that you will be saved a lot of inconvenience walking a long distance."
One significant thing in Aghedo’s police career is that though he started in the North as a young officer and by December will be 60 years, he is still looking strong. "I think I have cause to be grateful to Abia State because this is the last place I am calling it quits. I thank God that I am going home with my family intact. I am indeed a very happy man. So, nothing spoil", he said.
One other thing that gladdens his heart is that Nigerians are changing their attitude about the police. To him, everybody must know that police is the property of everybody.
"We all know how policing came into being. We have had traditional policing system right from the genesis of man. But then modern policing is based on the theoretical concept of man being in a state of nature that is brutish and there was the need for man to surrender his individual ways to common ways. And so, there was need to have an interloping governmental body that would be able to enforce some laws that have been enacted by legislation.
Of course, like Thomas Hobbes said, the jurisprudential value of law lies in its enforcement. So, if you don’t enforce the law, then the law is not what it should be. And that is why the situation of police becomes apt. Indeed the police is a para-military force set up by government to be able to meet emergency security situations. So we are all stakeholders and I keep on telling people that if you set up one naira police, you get one naira service. If you want a police force that will benefit you, then you must be prepared to fund it; Policing is not the business of the police man alone. Even the press men who can make and destroy are stakeholders", Aghedo said. Whatever are the short comings of the police, he said, are the mirrored image of short comings of society. The police, he added, is like a microcosm of the larger society. "We should therefore take it as a baby, as our property and we should preserve it as we preserve cherished items", he explained.
He, however, acknowledged that despite the fact that he is still looking strong, there are things he would no longer do. Said he: "When I was a young officer, I used to have a baritone voice. I was one of few officers that could command a parade without using any megaphone. When I raised my voice from the public field at Ikeja, you would hear me at Ipodo. That was me."
One thing he cherished so much is the friendship he cultivated over the years. According to him, "I like making friends and my friends like to be around me"
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