- Category: Politics
- Published on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 05:57
- Written by Nigerian Compass
- Hits: 1952
FORMER Inspector-General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo, and his successor, Hafiz Ringim, yesterday hinted that a new era would begin without any member of the police management team who served in the last administration.
Ringim, at the meeting, warned officers not to be involved in politics, if they don’t want to land in trouble.
Also present at the gathering was Onovo, who felt bad about his removal and spoke about how government had made it difficult to provide adequate security in the country.
Ringim, who took over from Onovo last week as the 15th indigenous IGP, warned the officers, especially the state commissioners of police that sacrifices must be made if the institution must be sanitised.
He said: “The former IGP used to say that you cannot make an omelet without breaking some eggs, and so without sounding threatening, without wanting to threaten anybody, without wanting to sound anything apart from civil, we have to make an omelet and we have to break some eggs; and so, if you don’t want to be part of that omelet, don’t allow yourself to be broken because the police has taken too much bashing.”
Onovo, who earlier made his valedictory speech, decried his removal as police IG, as he said that his removal would be remembered for long.
He described his tenure as a turbulent tenure, adding that he came in with the Boko Haram crisis and was removed during another Boko Haram crisis.
He added that in all these, his administration gave the best in policing the nation.
He said: “My period was marked with turbulence. I came in with Boko Haram and I left with Boko Haram.
“We gave it our best. It is left with history to decide whether we did or not.
“The Nigeria Police Force is an institution; it was there before we were born and it will outlive us. If you don’t receive your reward here, you will receive it in heaven. Policing is so frustrating in our country.
“You have enormous challenges ahead of you, elections are around the corner. Nigerians should give the Nigeria Police Force a chance to perform.”
While talking about his removal, he said: “This occasion will be remembered for a long time, and I think it is proper that I make this valedictory speech from the bottom of my heart and without going through any written speech.
“The Nigerian public expects much from us and as the saying goes: to whom much is given, much is expected. An occasion where we are fighting almost bare-handed and given the strong political, economic, social, cultural and other problems, that make policing so frustrating in our country, we can only still give our best. And I say to all officers who have had to lay down their lives in the line of duty, may God accept your souls in perfect peace. Amen. May your sacrifices not be in vain.
“I also want to say that, when I say we are facing enormous challenges, I am not joking at all. Elections are around the corner and those factors that make insecurity thrive are still not abated. These are those factors I had earlier mentioned. They are still there. So, you have enormous challenges ahead; brace up for it. You have done it before, and I know you can do it again.
“When the Anambra election was coming up, people thought we will not do it; it will be this, it will be that, it will be hot, it will be somehow; we did it and no single shot was fired. I believe and pray that the next election will also come that way. I believe and pray that Nigeria will give us a chance and let us perform. With the leadership of Ringim, I am sure, we will get there.
“Let me also use this opportunity to mention my DIGs who are also going out with me. Each one of them, a giant in his own field; I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart, for what they have done for this country, you might not know it, as Commissioners of Police in the states; you might think you are being bothered, but we are being bothered here even more than you were; even up to 20 times more than what we were passing here. But, I want to thank the Commissioners of Police, individually and collectively, for giving these criminals a good run for their money. I know how you have sacrificed to get to this point.
“I would also like to thank the Nigerian media. They kept us on the hot seat; on the front burner from beginning to the end. Their criticisms gingered us up. They appealed to government to provide logistics for us, and these will not go unnoticed. I want to thank you for the various contributions you have made.
“Finally, let me apologise to all of you, my colleagues, officers here and outside of this place; everyone: those I stepped on their toes, there should be no hard feelings.
“I want also to use this opportunity to thank Mr. President for giving me the opportunity to serve. I wish him well and let me finally say that I am still a policeman, uniform out of it. I will always be around to offer advice and assistance whenever it is needed. You all remain my friends. I will come to headquarters occasionally to know how you are doing and anywhere we meet, we shall remain friends and colleagues.”
The acting IGP, who said that his address should not be taken as his maiden speech, added: “It is indeed historic. Like Mr. Onovo has said, I want to thank him for the leadership he has been able to provide. I want to thank Mr. Onovo and his outgoing management team for the leadership they have so far provided for the force and I want to sincerely appreciate their efforts and wish them happy retirement, and I wish they would also be available for our further consultation. Like the FPRO has said, I am not new to you, I had a one-year stint here as the AIG Border Patrol, and I am conversant with some of the major problems of the Nigeria Police Force and indeed what the nation has been having in terms of security.
“We cannot but praise the last police administration for the efforts they put in, in spite of the numerous hurdles they had to cross. We can only praise their vision, and we intend to look at what efforts they have put; what problems they faced; what obstacles they had to cross, and what impediments they had to come through and promise to rededicate ourselves to make sure that where changes are necessary, we shall make them; where difficulties are found we shall surmount them; where stubbornness is met, we shall attempt to demolish them. Like Mr. Onovo has said, our nation is facing very difficult times and the police are part and parcel of the nation. Our nation cannot suffer without the police suffering and I know God willing, with the assistance you and the remaining senior officers here and other members of the rank and file, and the assistance and help that the Federal Government would see that it comes in more handy than before we shall definitely overcome.
“It is not now that I would provide my maiden address as is the usual practice. I think it is only fair that after having discussed with Mr. Onovo, the outgoing IGP and his team; after having gone through the documentations so far available, and after having a fair intake of the battle that they had fought and appreciated the rights and wrongs that were performed, I will now sit down with most of you and chart a course forward.
“You are now aware gentlemen that in the next three months, we shall have our elections from the timetable of INEC. Shortly, we shall commence the process of electioneering campaigns. The primaries of the political parties and the rest of the political activities will start proper, and it is my sincere wish, advice and counsel especially for those commissioners that hold command responsibilities that they sit up and face the situation squarely.
“We have gone through a lot of allegations and complaints and this is not the time when we will drag our names in the mud. In line with the wishes and instructions and the directives of the Commander- in- Chief, we must all be able to provide a level-playing ground for all political participants as well as the political parties.
“Sadly, you are aware of the menace of kidnapping particularly in the South-East. I want to seize this opportunity and warn the operatives and operators, the leadership and the followers of policemen and women in those regions that they must endeavour to sit up.
“The armed robbery being committed along some of our major roads must certainly be minimised. The corrupt tendencies of some of our personnel, particularly those on the check points must also stop. These and such other vices are the ones that have caused the members of the public to lose faith in us.
“We will not give any room any more, any further for any more complaints from any quarters on our police activities.
“It is something that we can collectively redeem. The Police Force is one of the oldest organisations in this country and it is supposed to be the best”.
Meanwhile, three senior AIGs will today know their fate after the meeting of the Police Service Commission Board.
The Board is saddled with the responsibility of promotion, discipline and welfare of senior police officers.
The three AIGs, who were senior to Ringim before his elevation, are Mrs. Ivy Okoronkwo, AIG Zone 7, Abuja; Ganiyu Dawodu, AIG Intelligence, Force Criminal Investigations Department, Abuja, and Azubuko Udah, AIG Zone 2, Lagos.
Force Public Relations Officer, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Emmanuel Ojukwu, had earlier said that there would be no crime in their remaining in the force “as long as they abide by the rules, but according to the order of hierarchy in the force, a senior officer can’t salute his junior one”.
Investigations indicated that the board, which has the PSC Chairman, Parry Osayande, and the IG as members, will decide those that will take over from the six newly-retired Deputy Inspectors-General of Police, DIGs, and immediately effect the promotion of other senior officers due for promotion to fill in the vacuum created by the retired officers.
If the three AIGs are left in the Force, they will automatically become DIGs, including Mohammed Abubakar, AIG Zone 5, Benin; Sardauna Abubakar, AIG Zone 1, Kano; and Audu Abubakar, Commandant, Police Staff College, Jos.
When contacted on phone yesterday, the PSC spokesperson, Mr. Ferdinand Ekpe, neither confirmed nor denied the story. He said that the Board would meet today to discuss ways of moving the force forward.