Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of Police, did not spend more than 24 hours in Benue after President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered he relocate there in the wake of wanton killings last January.
Everyone in the country knew about this because there were newspaper reports on the IGP’s reluctance to follow the president’s directive. Apparently, the president has only now found out on his visit to the state after meetings with leaders and community heads.
Now he knows, now what?
Buhari has visited Benue state 70 days after at least 73 persons were killed in attacks by herdsmen on various communities in Benue state, a calamity which raised fears that genocide was underway in the Middle Belt region of the country. At the time of the attacks, the president was severally urged by civil society groups and organisations to make the trip to the ravaged state even as the state Governor Samuel Ortom decried the failure of the Federal Government in its efforts to prevent the attacks based on received intelligence.
Ortom’s grievance with the FG’s reluctance to bring its might to bear in the state was most visible when he called for the resignation of Mr Idris, the Inspector General of Police. This would later elicit a response from the Force spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, that the Governor was a “drowning man” with whom the Police would not join issues, drawing widespread criticism including from the Senate.
Mr Idris was appointed IGP by president Buhari in June 2016 but in the time he has been in charge, his tenure has not been without streams of scandals and inquisitions into his character and commitment to leading a professional and responsive Police Force. He has clashed with Senator Isah Misau of Bauchi, on the Senator’s accusations of misappropriation of funds including payment by officers of the Force for promotion and postings – though the Senator is now the one facing charges instituted by the Federal Government.
Perhaps this had given the IGP the touch of invincibility, knowing that he would ultimately have his way in any case against him. TheCable reports that he may have been busy cutting a birthday cake while he was supposed to have been at Benue ensuring peace and tranquility. President Buhari stopped short of making any definite statements on the implication of the IGP’s refusal to be in the state; the actions he takes further should be a window into his commitment to discipline and professionalism in the public service, especially with regards to those whom he appoints.
This is only one of many other scenarios since 2015 where the president has appeared to be “surprised” by events happening within his administration, adding to episodes such as the Maina scandal and the inability of Minister of state of Petroleum Ibe Kachikwu to reach him. Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, the former boss of a task force for Pensions reform, was sneaked back into the civil service by a chain of events allegedly facilitated by members of Buhari’s cabinet and supposedly in the interest of the president himself. There have been no consequences to any of the persons named in the scandal, besides Maina (who is now in hiding), an occurrence which has dented the belief in the anti-corruption intentions of the government.