In less than 24 hours after attacks on a Nigerian prison and police command headquarters in South East, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has been sacked.
Adamu, 60, who was on assessment tour of the damage done by the attacks by separatists fighting for a separate country, was replaced with Mr Usman Alkali Baba, a Deputy Inspector General of Police who will be the 21st IGP since independence in 1960.
The tenure of the embattled IGP expired on February 1, 2021, but was renewed for three months by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The ex-IGP, who was supposed to have finally vacated his office on May 1, 2021, was in Owerri, the Imo State capital, his removal was announced at the State House in Abuja by the police affairs minister, Mr Maigari Dingyadi, on April 6, 2021.
Dingyadi explained that the removal of Adamu was to rejig the almost 380,000 man strong police force to enforce proper security.
Gunmen belonging to Eastern Security Network (ESN), a militia group of the outlawed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), on April 6, 2021 attacked the Imo State Police Command headquarters and the Correctional Service, looting the armoury, burning 38 vehicles and setting free 1,844 inmates.
The embarrassing situation might have been responsible for the decision to ask him to go before his new end of tenure.
The unexpected removal of Adamu is believed to have been caused by the refusal of the police to heed the warning of the impending attacks.
The secret police (Directorate of State Services) and the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) had earlier warned that an attack was to be carried out by the IPOB members fighting for the re-enactment of the sovereign state for Southeast which caused a three year civil war 1967 to 1970.
He was also accused of leaving the commissioners of police (CPs) and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) to their own without proper supervision and funding.
Police officers on special duties are not being paid their allowances just as the running cost for operations was not forthcoming.
He was also blamed for the shoddy handling of the re-organisation of the police after the anti-police protests (EndSARS) in October 2020.
The nation is reported to have been thoroughly embarrassed that an entire state police command was destroyed and vehicles set ablaze without any resistance.
The gunmen also set close to 2,000 prisoners free and burnt Owerri correctional facility.
Dingyadi, reported he got the green light afternoon from President Buhari currently on medical treatment in London to announce the sack.
“Mr President is aware that the tenure of the IGP has not elapsed but you cannot take away that responsibility from him; he’s the one who is in charge of appointing or extending tenures.
“He has now decided to appoint a new person. So, please allow him that responsibility and we cannot do anything about it.’’
The minister said President Buhari took the decision in line with Section 7, subsection 2 of the Nigeria Police Act (2020) having considered seniority, professionalism, record of service and competence.
The appointment of the acting IGP is subject to the approval of the Council of State meeting expected to be convened soon.
He added that it was in continuation of the commitment of the president to rejig the security architecture of the country and bring the security challenges bedevilling the nation to an end.
Dingyadi said the president charged the new appointee to rise to the challenge to guarantee peace and security of lives and property of all Nigerians.
The 58-year-old new Acting IGP joined the Police in March 1988 and has up to two years to remain in service.
Baba was until his appointment a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has inspected the facilities and expressed the determination of the federal government to fish out masterminds of attacks.
He also condemned the jailbreak which he said led to the release of “dangerous criminals”, adding that the search for the escaped inmates “has begun in earnest.”
“An attack on the critical institutions of law enforcement, police stations and prisons is an attack on the safety, security and wellbeing of the citizens.
“It is not merely an attack on law and order. It is a mindless attack on the people and the way of life of the people. When you attack police stations and free dangerous criminals, you put women, men, children and their possessions and livelihoods at risk.”
Osinbajo, however, assured Imo residents that security presence has been enhanced to ensure that peace reigns in the state.