Posted by By Kingsley Omonobi on
ABUJA— WILD jubilations, slapping of office doors, and prayers heralded the assumption of duty yesterday by Mr Sunday Ehindero as acting Inspector-General of Police at Force Headquarters, Abuja.
ABUJA— WILD jubilations, slapping of office doors, and prayers heralded the assumption of duty yesterday by Mr Sunday Ehindero as acting Inspector-General of Police at Force Headquarters, Abuja. As Mr. Ehindero stepped into the building at 10.45 am, there were shouts of congratulations with officers and men expressing joy at the change of baton.
Mr. Ehindero, himself wearing his new rank, briefed Deputy Inspectors-General of Police, Assistant Inspectors-General (AIG) and Commissioners, saying: "I am here not to be served, but to serve. I am here to put smiles on the faces of policemen and Nigerians through fighting of crime to its end and I am here to prove a philosophy that we are all grass. The grass withers, the flower falls, it is only God that stands forever.
Flanked by DIGs Ogbonna Onovo, Mike Okiro, Musa Abdukadri and Mohammed Abdukadri, he said: "I am here today, I may not be here tomorrow. It is our contributions that matter. I am first among equals but am surrounded by very competent DIGs and we will operate the original management team."
Explaining that he would be operating from his former office, Mr. Ehindero said: "From time to time, I will call the former IG for clarification. In future meetings, I also intend to call the Minister of Police Affairs and the Police Service Commission because we are all working towards the same goal of fighting crime.
On his immediate plans for the police, he said: "We are going to address so many issues. These include professionalism in the force, minimizing of police rough handling of members of the public, and issue of destruction of barracks and police property owing to misbehavior of some policemen.
"Also, I intend to call a roundtable meeting of all stakeholders to discuss ways of reducing crime in the society and we are going to reorganise our mobile police force. We don’t want tailors and carpenters there. We have to take a look at the composition of the PMF and come out with an effective team.
"We will look at the problem of police image that has been battered. Our image has been tarnished a lot. For instance, between Seme border and Mile 2, we have over 10 check points there and we all know how they are giving us a bad name both within and outside. I will bring a stop to this.
"We are coming out with a six-point-programme. We must put square pegs in square holes. Nobody will be routinely posted to the Criminal Investigations Department if you have nothing to offer. Our Intelligence outfit will be galvanised. It is the basis for investigation. A competent intelligence outfit makes policing less cumbersome.
"Our forensic laboratories must be functional to address sophistication in crime. Crime these days is becoming scientific. Criminals possess intellect far above average. We have cyberspace crimes these days. So if you are not computer literate, you may not be able to cope with investigations. So we must use intelligence as a prelude to investigations. We will also look into the issue of holden charge against suspects because the process of taking persons to court on holden charge is moribund."
Saying more than 70 per cent of those in prisons across the country are those awaiting trial, Mr. Ehindero said: "They are not supposed to be there. I intend to use lawyers, the civil society and stakeholders to take purposeful action to meet our desires of a genuine criminal justice system.
Mr. Tafa Balogun, until Monday night the Inspector General, proceeded on terminal leave yesterday. Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette, in a statement said Mr. Balogun had given notice of his retirement with effect from March 6, 2005.
However, the French News Agency (AFP) quoting the deputy spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Suleiman Ajibade, said yesterday that Mr. Balogun had been under investigation and was suspected of holding stolen funds.
"The former IG is under investigation for money laundering, treasury bill and commercial papers scam. The commission has identified 11 different accounts in Fountain Trust Bank that have been traced to him. The amount involved is over one billion naira. The investigation began last year and is continuing. Officials of the bank are also being quizzed," Ajibade said.
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