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Tafa Balogun Retires Suddenly, Fountain Trust MD Quized

Posted by By Yusuph Olaniyonu, Moses Jolayemi and Yemi Akinsuyi on 2005/01/18 | Views: 628 |

Tafa Balogun Retires Suddenly, Fountain Trust MD Quized


Inspector General of Police, Tafa Adebayo Balogun, has proceeded on retirement. He served his notice of retirement yesterday.

•Sunday Ehindero now acting Police chief

Inspector General of Police, Tafa Adebayo Balogun, has proceeded on retirement. He served his notice of retirement yesterday.

A statement from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Ufot Ekaette, with reference number SFG/20/2 issued yesterday stated that Mr. Sunday Ehindero, a Deputy Inspector General (DIG) will from today act as the IG.

Balogun, the SFG announced will today proceed on retirement leave as his retirement will take effect from March 6, 2005.

The statement further stated that President Olusegun Obasanjo in accepting Balogun's retirement notice "expressed his appreciation on behalf of the nation for his past services and wishes him a happy retirement."

THISDAY gathered that Balogun was yesterday summoned to Aso Rock at about 7p.m after Obasanjo got a report from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that a huge sum of money believed to be over one billion naira lodged in the Fountain Trust Bank in Lagos has been traced to the IGP.

The president was said to have confronted him with the evidence and demanded his letter serving notice of retirement.

A source close to Fountain Trust Bank confirmed that operatives of the EFCC had visited the bank demanding for document relating to IG’s transactions with the bank.

The source said the EFCC made it clear that the IG is under probe and that the bank will face penalty if it refused to co-operate.

THISDAY gathered that former MD of the bank, Mr. Segun Aina, who was believed to have handled the transactions on behalf of the IG had been arrested. He was rounded up after the EFCC initially held his successor, Mr. Odunlami Kola Daisi.

When THISDAY visited the head offices of the bank at about 12.40a.m today, a detatchment of Police men apparently from EFCC had replaced those ordinarily attached to the bank.

A source in the bank, however, bluntly refuted the allegation that the former IG has N1.5 billion in the bank. He insisted that the EFCC visit was a mere routine check which the body carries out on banks from time-to-time.
Also yesterday, the Lagos headquarters and Abuja branch office of Fountain Trust were sealed up by the EFCC.

It was after Balogun’s exit from Aso Rock that the presidency instructed Ekaette to issue a statement announcing the change of guards at the police headquarters.

Balogun who became the nation's top cop on March 6, 2002 has recorded a number of successes in three years. Despite the anxiety in the nation over a turbulent polling in 2003, he led the police to record a relatively peaceful elections.

He also inspired his men to track down the notorious armed robber, Ahmani Tidjani, a Nigerien whose gang was terrorising Lagos, Ogun and other states bordering the Republic of Benin.

Balogun has also moved to active inter-border police co-operation between the Nigerian Police and their counterparts in the neighbouring countries.
Another achievements recorded by the police under Balogun is the institution of community policing. He also embarked on mass recruitment to beef up the force strength while also devoting more attention to welfare of men and officers.

For instance, salary increment were approved across the board while non-commissioned officers who are graduates are upgraded to officers rank.
However, as much as Balogun can be credited with successes in tackling armed robbery, his tenure was fraught with unresolved high-profile assassinations.

As IGP, Balogun could not resolve the murder of the nation's top law officer, Chief Bola Ige. Likewise the assassination of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national vice chairman South-south zone, Chief Aminosari Dikibo, that of Harry Marshall, an All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) chief and many others.
Also, Balogun had been a subject of controversy bordering on illegal accumulation of wealth. He was once accused by a magazine of collecting money from state governors and subordinates. This he denied.

The police under the outgoing IGP was said to have been an instrument of destabilisation in Anambra State. On July 10, 2003, a detachment of policemen led by late AIG Raphael Ige acting under the behest of Chief Chris Uba, the estranged political godfather of Governor Chris Ngige abducted the governor and attempted to forcefully remove him from office.

Also, following an order of an Enugu High Court, Balogun ordered the withdrawal of Ngige's security aides. He refused to restore the security even when an Awka High Court gave a counter order. It was only when an Appeal Court in Enugu set aside the earlier judgement that he restored the governor's security.

Again between November 21 and 22, some hoodlums believed to be supporters of Uba inflicted mayhem on Awka and Onitsha during which major public buildings and facilities were freely vandalised. The police, however, stood aside watching while the destruction was going on.

The Police Service Commission (PCS) which conducted an investigation into the role of the police in the Anambra crisis was appalled by the testimonies and the video clips given to them. The commission was also not impressed by the defence given by Balogun when he appeared before them to address the issues concerning the crisis.

Ehindero, the acting IG was until his appointment yesterday the DIG administration. He was the most senior of the five DIGs.

He enlisted in the force on May 1, 1973 as a Cadet Assistant Supretendant of Police (ASP). He was promoted DIG on March 14, 2002. He was born on March 20, 1946 in Oyin town Oke-Agbe local government area of Ondo State. Ehindero graduated with a degree in mathematics and later obtained a master degree. He also has a degree in law and was called to the Nigerian bar. He is a fellow of the War College (FWC).

The acting IG is due for retirement on March 20, 2006.

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