by Kelvin Adegbenga
The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris during an interview with journalists on Sunday, July 18, 2016, in Abuja, says his predecessor, Solomon Arase, went away with 24 police vehicles while the seven Deputy Inspectors-General of Police, who retired alongside him, also carted away between seven and eight cars each.
IGP Idris said that he had written Solomon Arase to return the vehicles, which included two official bullet-proof BMW 7 series cars, adding that Solomon Arase and his DIGs had yet to return the vehicles.
The Inspector-General of Police also said that a special investigation team is already looking at the records of police vehicle purchases in the last three years as well as how they were distributed.
However Solomon Arase denied taking away 24 police vehicles, describing the allegations as a malicious propaganda.
In Arase word, he said “What am I going to do with 24 cars? Do I want to open a car shop? This is a malicious accusation. There are ways of verifying issues rather than engaging in media propaganda.”
Since the issue has been brought to the public domain, the citizens must be informed of how it is resolved; that is why I decided to go into private investigation to get to the root of the issue.
From my investigation, I can authoritatively say the Solomon Arase lied, he actually took 24 Police vehicles away.
My investigations further shows that 19 vehicles have been recovered from Solomon Arase and the remaining 5 has been spotted in Arase’s home town in Edo State.
Solomon Arase who should have keep his mouth shut as the vehicles were recovered from him, still went ahead to say that IGP Ibrahim Idris should publish the plate numbers of the vehicles. I want to remind Arase that the vehicles attached to the Office of the IGP are vehicles without numbers; they are pilot vehicles with “Pilot” as the number plate.
My investigation also revealed that those vehicles chassis number are documented and may be by the time the Special Investigation Panel set up by the Inspector General of Police are through with their assignment, they will publish the chassis number as requested by Solomon Arase.
The most painful of the issue is that IGP Ibrahim Idris wrote Solomon Arase and the retired DIGs to return the excess vehicles they took away because when a policeman retires, from Commissioner of Police to Inspector General of Police, they are entitled to about four vehicles, but rather Arase preferred that IGP Ibrahim Idris call him on phone as if the Police Force is his private company and Idris must call to start begging him to returns vehicles he took illegally!
The one year in office of Solomon Arase was amassed with corruption as N18billion intervention fund couldn’t be accounted for. I expect the Economic and Crime Financial Commission (EFCC) to invite and investigate Solomon Arase as soon as the Special Investigation Panel submits her reports to the IGP. This government must recover all stolen money and properties, no matter who are involved in the act.
IGP Ibrahim Idris will not be distracted as he is more concerned now with leaving a legacy for the Police Force. He is rebuilding the police in such a way that they would be alive to their responsibilities. His vision is to have a police that could be called by the citizens at night to repel armed robbers and would not complain of being immobilised by a lack of fuel in their vehicles.
He is already making necessary effort for more allocation for the Police so that their barracks and offices would cease looking like makeshift camps of refugees fleeing from strife-riven zones. He is ready to make sure that the police have enough government funding so that they can procure modern weapons that would match the sophisticated ones of armed robbers.
Again, through the planned recruitment of 10,000 Police Officers, the IGP will midwife a new Police Force. He will make sure that only the best and qualified candidates are allowed to infest the Police.
I hereby urge Solomon Arase to apologize to Nigerians and the Police Force for lying openly on the stolen vehicles; stolen because he denied taking those vehicles which were later recovered from him. Arase should also give account of the N18billion intervention fund under his leadership.
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Kelvin Adegbenga writes from Port Harcourt.