The recent spate of insecurity in the country is enough to worry anyone especially as it spreads to the South Eastern geo-political zone of the country.
This had definitely heightened fears across the region and this development would continue on Monday, as gunmen in an operation said to have lasted close to three hours, attacked the Federal Prison facility and Police Command Headquarters in Owerri, the Imo state capital.
The gunmen who reportedly fired AK 47 rifles consistently and used explosives, broke free some inmates in the correctional facility and released detainees in the SCID cell while setting vehicles parked at the premises of the Police Headquarters ablaze.
Expectedly, the attack drew huge concerns from citizens across the country, but Nigerians were shocked to learn of the President’s appointment of DIG Usman Alkali Baba as Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP) with immediate effect. This shock is especially so, because IGP Mohammed Adamu (now former) was on an operational visit to Imo state at the time of the announcement by Maigari Dingyadi, the Police Affairs Minister.
A change in a critical time as this can be described as a right step especially with the pattern of brazen attack on police formations under his leadership, and rightly falls within the prerogative of the Commander-in-chief.
Of concern however, is the president’s choice to boot out the Police boss barely two months and three days after he had controversially extended his tenure (inspite of massive criticisms), having attained the mandatory 35 years of service by 3 months.
According to the Police Affairs Minister, Tuesday’s appointment of the Yobe-born Police chief is in line with the president’s goal “to rejig the security architecture country, towards ensuring that the security challenges bedeviling the nation are brought to an end.”
What is in doubt however, is why the outgone IGP would learn of his replacement while on an operational visit to the troubled area. Could this be a case of ultimate betrayal?
Also worrisome for majority of Nigerians is the appointment of another officer of Northern origin into key security positions; raising fresh concerns about nepotism in the pattern of appointments and disrespect for federal character by the Buhari-led administration. This is despite the presidency’s explanation that the extension was to allow for a robust and efficient process of appointing IGP Adamu’s successor.
For DIG Baba who has an impressive resume, with his last appointment being Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department, Police Headquarters. He would definitely be building a rich legacy for himself by moving the security architecture under him to contain the crime wave across the country.
Most importantly, it would be courageous of the new police boss to actively join the loud cries and push for regional policing to help the central police formation perform better, considering the herculean task of policing such a large country as Nigeria.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.