By Bala Ibrahim
Mr. Ochereome Nnanna’s comment in the Vanguard Newspaper of Monday, May 7, 2018, titled “Why IGP Idris is beyond control” raised some issues that require to be put into proper perspective. Otherwise, it would appear, on the surface at least, to be a fair commentary by a concerned citizen.
First, there is the need to understand that office of the Inspector General of Police is an institution, not an individual. The person in the office only symbolises the body he/she is heading. This is basic knowledge, and one needs not be an expert to understand the wisdom behind it.
Two, representation is allowed and legal anywhere in the world. In fact, it is encouraged and preferred in some instances. It signifies that the concerned institution is functioning well and responsibilities are well shared. Specialties and expertise also demand that some people are more qualified to represent the head in some instances, and will do better than the head himself because the issues at hand are within their areas of competence. Certainly, the presence of the IGP at all summons and invitations is practically impossible, and for functional purposes, he must delegate. In this case, Deputy Inspector-General of Police in Charge of Operations, Joshak Habila, has been mandated to represent the IGP. What is the fuse about this? And how does that amount to ‘snubbing’ the legislators? In dealing with reasonable people who are abreast with the global standard, the man in charge of operation would appear to be the appropriate person to interface with. This underlies the democratic disposition of the IGP which, incidentally, Mr. Nnanna alluded to when he wrote that “The Senate and the House of Representatives, say what you like, are mandated to gather on behalf of the citizens of Nigeria. A summons from either of them is a summons from the Nigerian people”. They represent us. Good. Why then are they averse to representation?
Three, the writer referred to three instances he thought the IGP had wronged the Senate of the Federal Republic, but none of these would appear, on a deeper look, to have been correctly analysed. For instance, if he thinks Senator Isa Misau’s saga is worth mentioning in connection with summons and invitations, he forgot to also mention that the Senator was the first to refuse to honour an invitation by the Police Service Commission to come and substantiate his allegations. By the way, it has become clear that Misau and the entire Senate only succeeded in wasting the IGP’s time as far as those allegations were concerned.
Also, if the writer believes that a senator of the Federal Republic could ‘storm the plenary, wreak havoc, and abduct the Mace’, does that not tell something about the level of seriousness, sanity and lawful conduct of our Senate members? How does a Senate that perpetrates thuggery expect to be taken seriously by serious people? Same goes for the Dino case to which the writer referred. How does a senator of the Federal Republic show that he respects the law of the land if he does not respect the institution that enforces the law? The moment you refuse arrest or attempt to escape, you are a simple criminal. Anywhere in the world, attempts to escape from police custody attract less civil measures. The Dino issue does not require the presence of the IGP. In fact, the officers involved in his arrest would have sufficed in explaining to the Senate what really transpired in the movie-like act of banditry.
Regarding the appointment of the IGP, I am certain that is beyond the call of the writer. It is purely the prerogative of the president, and what is required is qualification according to the law. If that is satisfied, there would be no valid query. Those who have the burden of being leaders would understand what is involved in this process, and because no law or rule has been breached, a critical-minded analyst would not have bothered to venture into this area.
Now, the proverbial little bird dancing in the open market would be apt in describing a writer who wants us to believe he knows what was responsible for “the fire that exterminated the family of Kano Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mikhail Abdullahi…” without coming to give evidence before the appropriate authorities. At least, civic duty demands that he divulges to the authorities what he knows regarding the incidence.
The IGP, of course, has the confidence and trust of the president. He earned it by being as professional as any police chief can be. Responsibilities as critical as his require the capability to separate popular inclinations from professional decisions. This, without doubt, form part of the reasons he has remained un-derailed despite persistent distractive disturbances like the ones coming from the Senate.
While the Senate was busy issuing deadlines, the IGP was on ground in one of the most volatile areas in Kaduna state, trying to ensure that security breach is curtailed and law and order restored. That, to my mind, is part of his primary mandates, more important and far more germane than rushing to the Senate to answer questions that a police constable can answer very well.
Mr Ibrahim writes from Abuja