•Falana eulogises FG over Ringim’s removal
From Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Indigenes of Plateau State last night expressed anger over the appointment of Alhaji Mohammed Dikko Abubakar as acting Inspector General of Police (IG) following the removal of Alhaji Hafiz Ringim from the office by President Goodluck Jonathan. But a Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, has eulogised the Federal Government for its guts in getting Ringim out of office.
Expressing rage over the appointment, the member representing Jos-South/Jos-East constituency in the House of Representatives, Honourable Bitrus Kaze, told THISDAY that: “It is amazing to me that at a time when Nigeria is witnessing a spate of terrorism, a man who has been indicted by the Justice Nikki Tobi Commission of Inquiry into the September 2001 crises in Jos, and recommended for dismissal from the police force by the commission, is the one found fit to lead the Nigerian Police.
“It is disheartening that those who have mentored terrorism in Nigeria are being asked to lead the police against the same terrorism. I cannot imagine it; I am shocked beyond words.”
In another reaction, the Special Assistant to Governor David Jang, Mr. Clinton Garuba, said it was disheartening and alarming that the president could appoint Abubakar as the IG.
He said: “AIG Abubakar is incompetent and lacks the credibility of a leader, and has been recommended for sack for his role in the 2001 crises in Plateau State by the Justice Niki Tobi Commission of Inquiry.”
He added that “…at a time when the president himself has acknowledged that the Boko Haram sect has infiltrated his government, it is only logical that he appoints someone with a proven integrity and track record of performance to head the Nigerian Police, which is in a seeming position of helplessness due to bad leadership. We therefore call on the Senate, in the interest of Nigerians, not to confirm his appointment.”
Also speaking, a legal practitioner in the state, Mr. Harun Audu, said: “…though the prerogative lies with the president on the recommendation of the Police Service Commission to appoint whoever he feels competent, it will be wise for him to avail himself of every piece of information that will guide him in making a right choice.” He said as a resident of Jos, “I am aware that M D Abubakar has some questions to answer concerning his performance and disposition in the 2001 Jos crisis”.
“I am also aware that he was found wanting by a commission of inquiry headed by no less a person of Justice Nikki Tobi. Perhaps, the president feels that the indictment is not damaging enough to affect his decision. “I only think that the president stands the risk of being accused of insensitivity, considering that Justice Nikki Tobi report and recommendation is not a secret document, and has made a serious recommendation on the career of the person of M D Abubakar,” Audu said.
Abubakar was alleged to have masterminded the killings of Christians in Jos in 2001. The Justice Tobi panel constituted in September 2001 by former Governor Joshua Dariye on the Jos crises had recommended his retirement from the Police Force.
The panel had said: “Religious fanatics should not be posted to head state police commands. The commission recommends that for his ignoble role during the September 2001 crises, which resulted in the loss of lives, the former Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, Alhaji M.D. Abubakar, be advised to retire from the Nigeria Police Force and in the event of his refusal to do so, he should be dismissed from the service. The government should forward the recommendation to the Police Service Commission for consideration and necessary action.”
Meanwhile, Falana in a statement, said: “In spite of intensive pressure mounted on the presidency to retain Mr. Hafiz Ringim as the IGP, the Federal Government has eventually removed him from office in the national interest.
“The government deserves commendation for plucking up the courage to sack the police boss. The ex-IGP should however be made to account for the two leading Boko Haram suspects who escaped or were released by him and Mr. Zakari Biu.”
Falana further said: “The new IGP should see his appointment as a challenge to redeem the battered image of the police. Check points that have become extortion centres should be dismantled as beggars in police uniform on the highways are prone to compromise national security.
“The Nigeria Police Force should be repositioned to combat the menace of terrorism, armed robbery and other violent crimes. To do this effectively, Abubakar will have to restore the confidence of the Nigerian people in the police.”