POLICE REFORM: ABUBAKAR ON RIGHT TRACK -OKIRO, EX IGP
Alhaji Mohammed Dikko Abubakar
Efforts of the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Mohammed Dikko Abubakar to transform the force to a modern day crime-fighting agency, has once again received a boost from one of his predecessors.
Speaking to Daily Sun in Abuja last week, a former IGP, Sir Mike Mbama Okiro, said that Abubakar is very much on the right track with the recent steps he had initiated at re-organizing the police for more efficiency, notwithstanding some schism it generated in some quarters.
Barely one month after he mounted the saddle, Abubakar set up various committees to formulate modalities for the total over-hauling of the near decrepit fabric of the police, even as he effected far-reaching Change of guards at the various commands nation-wide.
No sooner were these initiatives put into operation, than the exercise was greeted with a gale of disapproval both within and outside the force.
Okiro said condemnations of policies are not unexpected as the seat of the Inspector- General of Police is a very hot and sensitive position in which the entire nation expects nothing but the best from the occupier without him giving excuses.
'If the person must succeed,' Okiro adds, he has to be resolute and vibrant and must be able to withstand mud-slinging and all sorts of allegations which are like standing conventions against the office. 'The seat of the IGP is a very hot one that people want to bring down at all cost. It is not a likeable seat. It is not because he is MD Abubakar that he would be vilified and loathed. No. People do not often like the law enforcer, especially when he is the chief, and the sooner he realizes this and ingrains it into his policy as part of the dynamics of the office, the better it will be for his psyche,' Okiro cautions.
Despite the teething challenges Abubakar might be facing, Okiro who had worked with new IGP in Lagos as his direct boss, said he is convinced beyond doubt that he has the pedigree to be on top of the prevailing security situation.
'He was my Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of administration in Lagos when I was the Commissioner. I found him as somebody very reliable, duty-conscious, patriotic, loyal and committed. He was very good.
'Though he was in charge of administration, he oftentimes combined operations with it, and he did it very well, making him one of the best utility officers in the hectic days of the OPC in Lagos when we succeeded in keeping Lagos safe, which wasn't so before we came.
'I recall the day I was promoted Deputy Inspector- General of Police from the rank of Commissioner of Police in Lagos. I had heard a loud noise around my office. I ran out to see what the noise was all about and I met my officers at the front of my door saying congrats that I had been promoted DIG and that it was in the news. They carried me shoulder high round the premises dancing and rejoicing. There and then, I told them they were the ones that had made me the DIG, including MD Abubakar who had all worked diligently and tirelessly with me for my efforts to be appreciated', Okiro said.
'I have no doubt that it is these service records that made the government to appoint him as the IGP at this period of our security challenges in the country, and I equally believe that with his background and experience, he would be able to live up to the challenges of his office to transform the police and our security environment to the one of our dream', Okiro said.
Okiro also used the opportunity to advise the acting IGP to be fair to all Nigerians in the discharge of his duty regardless of their ethnic or religious leaning, and to take good care of his men (the police) in terms of welfare and equipment to work with, so that they can be motivated to put in their best for him to succeed.
'Take cognizance of the fact that you are Inspector- General of Police to more than 150 million Nigerians of different ethnic and religious backgrounds and please take good care of your men, the police, as they are presently going through hard times. If they are well motivated, your job is done by fifty per cent,' he concluded.