- It’s Igbo marginalisation —Ohaneze
By OBINNA EZUGWU
The deployment of commissioners of police last week by the newly appointed Acting Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu has continued to draw outrage with leaders of the South East zone alleging that the move was yet another evidence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s hatred for the Igbo.
The redeployment which was announced early last week, showed that a total of 37 commissioners of police were deployed to the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, out of which there were two Igbo: Damian Chukwu and Celestine Okoye, posted to the volatile states of Borno and Zamfara. This, Igbo leaders say, is unacceptable.
“I’m not surprised that we have only two out of 37. I’m not also surprised that one of them will retire in the next few months,” said Chief Goddy Uwazurike, president emeritus of Igbo think tank group, Aka Ikenga.
“It’s part of the long and continuous system of holding Ndigbo down, and it is more shocking that it is election period that we are seeing this crass injustice, crass nepotism. I find it strange. Even those two commissioners, if they tell you their experiences, you will cry.”
On Thursday, the apex Igbo sociopolitical group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo in a statement by its President General, Nnia John Nwodo, accused the president of pushing further his hatred for the Igbo, noting that the group had been once again vindicated.
“The current postings by the Police Service Commission, PSC, have once more vindicated the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide on the mindless victimisation and marginalization of Ndigbo by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government,” the statement read.
“A cursory look at the list of the newly-posted Commissioners of Police to States throughout the country indicates the obvious lopsidedness in both the number of Ndigbo affected and their states of posting. The whole of the five Igbo-speaking states in the country has only two Commissioners of Police while some single states have two or more and some geopolitical zones more than six or seven.
“President Buhari came on campaign to Anambra State and insulted Ndigbo by saying that his postings were based on merit and that is why the South East zone is completely absent in the security apparatchiks of the country.
“In other words, no Igbo man or woman is intelligent or brilliant enough or has his confidence to head any of the security apparatus of Nigeria, and to butress his point, only two Igbo officers are “meritorious” to be appointed Commissioners of Police in charge of States. To further rub it in, the only two are posted to the most hazardous war-torn areas of the north –Zamfara and Borno States.
“It is worthy to note that Ndigbo have always formed the majority of soldiers posted to these war zones and have paid their dues including producing a worthy General Officer Commanding troops and who distinguished himself there.
“What have Ndigbo done to this administration to deserve this ill-treatment? The Nigeria/Biafra war ended nearly fifty years ago. Why the continued marginalization? This kind of discrimination should not be lost on Ndigbo, especially at this period of reckoning and payback.
“It would be remembered that two brilliant Deputy Inspectors General of Police were recently retired by this administration to pave way for the appointment of the current Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu. If Mr. President loves Ndigbo as he is canvassing, why didn’t he try to balance the glaring absence of Ndigbo at a table where the security of this country is decided? Ndigbo shine your eyes! Shine your eyes and vote wisely,” the statement concluded.
Similarly, an Onitsha based rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) in a statement noted that the South East has gone from bad to worse in the “Recent Appointment Of Zonal AIGs & State CPs,” even as it raised concerns over the continued stay of Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai in office despite being due for retirement over a year ago.
“In the area of the 37 newly appointed State CPs, no fewer than 22 are found to be Muslims, out of which 21 are Hausa-Fulani Muslims. Out of the same 37 newly appointed State CPs, only two were appointed from the Southeast Region, while the Southwest Zone got 10 State CPs; leaving the South-south and Northern Christian areas with four, out of which three are from the South-south,” the group said in a statement co-signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman; Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Programme; Chinwe Umeche, Head, Democracy & Good Governance Programme and Chidimma Evan Udegbunam, Head, Campaign & Publicity Department.
“In the area of the newly appointed AIGs in charge of the country’s 12 Police Zonal Commands, no fewer than eight are Northern Muslims/Christians; involving AIGs in charge of Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. The remaining four Zonal AIGs are split among the Southeast, South-south and Southwest Zones, out of which Southeast Zone was given one slot. Four Northern Muslim AIGs are also appointed to take charge of Force Investment, Intelligence Bureau, Maritime and AIG FCID positions.
“As a further confirmation of the case of Southeast gone from bad to worse, if not worst, CP Damian Agba Chukwu (CP Borno) will retire from the Force on 19th March 2019 or in 40 days from today. The second Igbo State CP, Celestine Okoye (CP Zamfara) has relatively longer period to stay in the Force and will be due for retirement on 22nd December 2020. The two are only Igbo/Southeast CPs in the list of the 37 newly appointed State CPs.
“Revealing, too, is the fact that the only Igbo AIG, Chris Okey Ezike, (AIG Zone 4, Makurdi) will retire on Tuesday, 30th April 2019 or in 81 days from today. Also the only Igbo/Southeast DIG, Godwin C. Nwobodo (DIG Information and Communication Technology-ICT) will retire from the NPF on 12th August 2019 or in six months and twenty days from today.
“Totality of the foregoing is, therefore, a strong indication that the dilemma of the Southeast in the Nigeria Police Force has further worsened and entrenched. The newly appointed Acting IGP, Muhammad Adamu has also been critically mirrored, studied and analyzed and found to be “a status quo IGP”; with no meaningful changes expected to take place under his leadership.
“The gross lopsidedness and scheming out of the Southeast Region, a home with sedentary and pastoral Judeo-Christian population of no fewer than 50m; from the country’s defense and security positions and the inaction and puppetry antics of the Region’s top political appointees particularly the Southeast governors have, again, called for serious concerns.
“This conversely reminds Intersociety of what happened in 2013 when we raised similar concerns; forcing a former Anambra Governor to take the next available flight to Abuja to meet with then Chairman of the Police Service Commission. The meeting yielded fruit and resulted to the promotion of retired DIG Chintua Amajor-Onu to AIG. Retired DIG Chintua Onu had before then remained as a CP for several years.
AIG Chris Ezike immediately after we raised concerns and the former Anambra Governor’s intervention got promoted to CP having managed to get promoted to DCP on 1stAugust 2012; six months after his course mate, now Retired DIG Peter Yisa Gana (former DIG FCID) was promoted to DIG on 22nd February 2012.
“We make bold to say that the structural and cultural violence above highlighted are too dangerous a policy or practice and are dangerously threatening the survival of the Igbo nation in particular and Nigeria in general. They also fuel separatist sentiments with capacity to breed and escalate group radicalism in whole or in part.
They are further a confirmation of existence and entrenchment of ethnic cleansing in Nigeria’s security, defense and policing establishments. These annihilative policies and conducts must stop and be discontinued before it is too late or rise to irreversible point or proportion.”
Expressing “serious concerns” over Buratai’s long stay in the Army, the group noted:
“3rd January 2019 marks 38 years of service-membership of the Nigerian Army by COAS, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai. Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf hails from Buratai Community in Biu Local Government Area of Borno State, Northeast Nigeria. He is a member of Course 29 of the Nigerian Defense Academy, having joined the Nigerian Army on 3rd January 1981 at the age of 21 as a member of 29 Regular Combatant Course (29 RC).
“He was also reported to have been born on 24th November 1960 and commissioned Second Lieutenant on 17th December 1983. The COAS was statutorily due for retirement since 3rd January 2016 having attained 35years in service.
The deployment had also, last week, attracted condemnations from the opposition camps who alleged it was designed by the President Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) government to manipulate Saturday’s presidential election.
“Nigerians are aware of how Egbetokun was posted to Lagos State by the former IG, Idris Ibrahim, to serve the same partisan interest and how that posting was stopped by the new IGP. Now, he is being redeployed to Kwara State for the same ignoble plot,” the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan said at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
“The deployment of Kayode Egbetokun as the Kwara State CP directly negates the principle of the peace accord and can only hurt the fragile peace that currently exists in the state.”
In the same vein, the Nigerians opposition coalition (CUPP) said the list of new commissioners was “politically manipulated and compromised list”, which according to it, has passed a big vote of no confidence on the Inspector General of Police.
The coalition vowed to resist any attempt to rig the upcoming election by taking matters into their own hands if need be.
“Few hours after we exposed the decision of the IGP to announce a list given to him by the Villa, he has gone ahead to announce the list. Of grave worry is the insistence of the National Leader of APC that Mr. Kayode Egbetokun must be posted to Kwara, an issue to which he should ordinarily have no contribution, the Inspector General of Police has succumbed and has failed the entire nation and put the entire electoral process in jeopardy,” CUPP said in a statement signed by Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, it’s 1st National Spokesperson on Wednesday.
“The Nigerian opposition rejects the postings and hereby calls on all opposition members not to recognize the politically manipulated postings. The Nigerian opposition rejects the appointment of Mr. Kayode Egbetokun as the Commissioner of Police Kwara State and all other Villa instigated postings. The Inspector General of Police has disappointed a nation eager to go out peacefully on 16th February to exercise their franchise.
Clearly anarchy looms in the land and the plot to rig the elections is now in full gear. The Inspector General of Police should be placed on visa ban immediately for aggravating the situation that degenerated into bedlam.
“Opposition members and Nigerians are left with only one option of resorting to self-help in protection of their votes and Code 20 Mode will be scaled up to Red. The opposition is seriously now considering pulling out of the Bill Clinton Peace Accord as the ruling Party has concluded plans to intimidate harass, assault and maim Nigerians knowing that Nigerians have resolved to vote them out of office. Anarchy looms in the land and the Inspector General of Police is the cause and should be held responsible.”
However, the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Adamu, has dismissed the suggestion that the deployment had political undertone.
Adamu who spoke through an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mogaji Ismaila who represented him at a one-day summit organised by the Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy in Abuja on Thursday, appealed to journalists not to drag the police into political issues.
“May I appeal to the journalists and the politicians not to drag us into political issues. Posting of commissioners of police is purely the responsibility of the IG in conjunction with the Police Service Commission,” he said.
“This recent posting came as a result of the retirement of some commissioners of police and the elevation of some CPs to the rank of assistant inspectors-general of police, and even to the position of deputy inspectors-general of police.
“You don’t expect the IG to leave states whose commissioners of police were promoted to AIGs and DIGs vacant. Definitely, there is going to be movement and as far as we are concerned, the IGP used experience, competence and other qualities in posting those police officers to the affected states.
“The postings by the IGP have no political undertone and he has no ulterior motive in carrying out the exercise. He carried out the exercise purely for effective service delivery. On the issue of a former CSO to a former governor, the man carried out that task as a junior officer. Now that he has risen to the position of CP, are you saying that he should not be posted?
“The IG is free to post him to any state where he feels he could deliver. His posting is based on his track records, devoid of any political undertone and the criticisms about it are unnecessary.” He assured that the police would play a neutral role throughout the electoral process.
“It is not true that majority of the newly posted CPs are northerners. Our postings are purely on merit and based on competence,” he added.
The new Police Commissioners and their states of posting
- Katsina State – Buba Sanusi.
- Kano State – Mohammed Wakili.
- Jigawa State – Rabiu Ladodo.
- Ogun State – Ahmed Iliyasu.
- Lagos State – Mu’azu Zubairu.
- Niger State – Ibrahim Sabo.
- Taraba State -Alkassam Sanusi.
- Adamawa State – Garba M. Mukaddas.
- Benue State – Omololu Bishi
- Nassarawa State – Bola Longe.
- Plateau State – Isaac Akinmoyede
- Edo State – Odumosu Hakeem.
- Bayelsa State – Olushola David
- Delta State – Adeleke Yinka.
- C/River State – Austin Iwero Agbonlahor
- Akwa Ibom State -Bashir Makama
- Ebonyi State – Awosola Awotunde.
- Rivers State – Belel Usman.
- Gombe State – Bello Makwashi.
- Kaduna State – Abdulrahman Ahmed.
- FCT – Bala Ciroma.
- Kwara State – Egbetokun Kayode.
- Kogi State – Hakeem Busari.
- Ekiti State – Asuquo Amba.
- Imo State – Galadanchi Dasuki.
- Enugu State -Suleiman Balarabe.
- Anambra State -Dandaura Mustapha.
- Abia state -Etim Ene Okon.
- Sokoto state – Ibrahim Kaoje
- Zamfara State -Celestine Okoye.
- Kebbi State – Garba Danjuma
- Osun State – Abiodun Ige
- Ondo State -Undie Adie
- Oyo State – Olukolu Shina.
- Bauchi State – Ali Janga.
- Borno State -Damian Chukwu and
- Yobe State – Sumonu Abdulmalik