In July 2005, the then Acting Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero, put in place a committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the alleged killing of five Igbo traders and their female friend, by some policemen, at the Apo Mechanic village, on June 7 of the same year.
The committee which was headed by Mike Okiro, then a Deputy Inspector General of Police(DIG), was dissolved by the then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
The President hinged his decision on the fact that the Police could not be a Judge in its own case. In addition, the President’s action was predicated on the testimonies of one Chukwu, a photographer hired by the Police in the Federal Capital Territory, to take photographs of the lifeless bodies of the six Nigerians.
The photographer had confessed that the Police were responsible for the crime, as he stated that he saw the Police bring guns and placed by the side of the six, to make them look like armed robbers, after which the Police ordered him to take their photographs.
The photographer also revealed that he was very shocked, when he saw the Commissioner of Police of the FCT Command, explaining to Nigerians that those killed were armed robbers, while relying on the photographs to give flesh to his explanation.
This development emboldened the President to put a stop to the Police investigation, to avert a situation whereby the outcome of the investigation would be favourable to the Police.
Without hesitation, the President set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to find out how the six were killed and the role of the Police in the incident.
Nigerians now felt that the action of the President was an indication of his lack of confidence in the competence of Ehindero, as Inspector General of Police.
Corruption and inefficiency have become recurrences in the Nigeria Police Force; this has affected almost every senior Police Officer, who has occupied the office of the Inspector General of Police.
In this dispensation, when Ibrahim Idris assumed office as the Acting Inspector General of Police, Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief, with the thinking that they would soon begin to sleep with their two eyes closed. This is, sadly, not the case.
Indeed, for several years, there has always been a disconnect between the IGP’s office and the 36 state Police Commands. This informed the establishment of special task forces by successive Inspectors General of Police, to tackle crime all over the country. What are the states Police Commands doing then?
Accusations of deprivation of funds and counter accusations of mismanagement of funds and corruption have characterized the relationship between the IGP’s office and the states Police Commands. On issues bothering on corruption, the Police cannot be a Judge in its own case, although the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is an Anti-Graft agency.
The funding of the Police still remains in the circle of administrative bottlenecks and the late release of funds by the Federal Government. Sabotage now takes prominence.
Of worry, is the communication lag between the office of the IGP and the Police Service Commission(PSC). Since the PSC is not responsible for the appointment of the IGP. Successive occupants of the seat of the Inspector General of Police have always been suspicious of any suggestion or advice emanating from the commission.
Interestingly, some state Governments, which are promoters of state Police, have since taken advantage of the situation and have also become part of the issue for debate. However, state Police cannot fly, in an environment filled with political office holders bereft of ideology and principles.
Nigerians should not be deceived by the activities of some selfish and greed-driven citizens, who continuously discredit the present structure of the Police, in favour of sectional interests and designs.
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