Nigeria Inspector Generals of Police and Riot Acts

Nigeria Inspector General of Police,  Suleiman Abba,  Abubakar Muhammed,  Solomon Arase    Leadership is about a vision. Vision is such a fundamental pillar of efficient leadership. Leader is a dealer in hope according to Napoleon Bonaparte.  Leaders are not just leaders by name or titles,  it is in the deeds they do and stuff they make happen. Real leader speaks , makes promises with caution because they know they will be bound by their words. Integrity is important.  Great leaders do not just say what people want to hear but instill what they must hear to bring the change or an improvement, uniqueness they bring to the table.
Great leaders are very cautious of making speeches. They tend to be known for what they do than what they say. While great speeches are good, great acts position a leader and hedge their names in the sound of time than great speeches. When a leader cast a vision, they believe in it and sells that to their followers trusting they will get the level of commitment require to get the work done. To cast a vision, a leader takes  a deep thinking, invites great people in his team so they can contribute and take ownership of the process. This makes the vision easy to achieve because vision attainment is a collective effort with the leaders checking on the process flow.
It is obvious each person comes with his own leadership style but the ultimate aim is to make a difference within the environment and the people one is leading. Nigeria Police Force has had different people at the helm of its affairs. While they have all been career officers, at least no one has been picked from the outside the system to become Inspector General of Police like Ministers.
The nomination, appointment of Inspector General of Police though depends on the President and Commander in- Chief of the nation. In some cases, we have seen the most senior officers retired in the wake of selecting a new Inspector General (IG) to pave way for the one the President felt favourably disposed towards. In few instances, the IG though a career officer had benefitted from Qouta system or what we know as Federal character. Some how IG always emerge through one means or the other. Our concern here is not the process through which they have emerged but more on the vision and contribution they have made to the Police Force in its entirety.
Each time a new IG emerges, Nigerians are always ‘entertained’ with a new riot act. What  we have come to understand is that most of these riot acts are supposed to be the new wave of changes the public can expect. Riots acts show the direction the new IG will be going towards. Interestingly no new riot acts are devoid of great and utopian plans each one of us know should be the ideal of a structured Police system. Sometimes one wonders why the obvious seems un achieveable or become the big deal.
For instance let us examine the last two IGPs starting with Abubakar Muhammed. When he came in, some of his riot acts include: dismantling of all inter state and highway roadblocks, he also disbanded all squads, teams and other operational investigative outfits, under whatever name and directed all such groups to collapse into normal structure that existed originally. He also talked about special force units set up by State Governments, Commissioners which have become killer squads must stop. Abubakar Muhammed lamented that Police Stations have become business centres where all kinds of shady businesses are carried out. He concluded that non compliance to these and many others that would follow would attract sanctions. At the initial state , as it was usual practice, road blocks disappeared for about a month or two. Investigative units also slowed down their actions for a few months but in the course of Abubakar Mohammed ‘ s time, everything returned to status qou. Sometimes some of the activities  were carried out ‘codedly’ within the ranks an file
After Abubakar Mohammed came in the immediate past IGP, Suleiman Abba, he stated, my vision is to make Nigeria Police a leading National professional, efficient and law enforcement organization. My team will also ensure that:’Policing becomes truly intelligence-led;Law enforcement and crime prevention initiatives are integrated and supportive of each othery; Police service delivery and maximum impact are achieved with least in-convenience to the people;The Nigeria Police Force focuses on priorities, and that resources are diligently managed and equitably distributed in terms of these priorities;Community policing partnerships and relationships are built with communities, and that communities become an integral component of our policing approach;The Nigeria Police Force is re-aligned, through restructuring, devolvement and delegation of powers to ensure efficient implementation of public safety policies;Effective policing in target areas is made sustainable, and that capacity development is sustained so that we do not engage in “fire fighting exercises”; and Senior police officers are held accountable for their actions and inactions, by means of performance contracts and indicators, with clear deliverables which will be closely monitored”.
Suleiman Abba ‘ s time had been seen as the shortest regime as the IGP. Analysts say he still have about four years to go before his retirement but he had been compelled to go on compulsory retirement
Now it is the turn of Acting IGP, Solomon Arase, in his short speech with State ouse correspondence, he maintained ‘ massive deployment of officers will commence and those who want to breach the peace of the land will be dealt with precisely. Each new IGP talks about roadblocks and return of Police structures to status qou ante, what can we say is happening to the last order received?  Or is it aliens that are usually the ones who re- introduce the dismantled structures. There are permanent and emergency roadblocks every night in some street corners, major roads especially in metropolitan cities where ‘quick deals’  are negotiated. During the day light in some cases, we have roadblocks or illegal patrols, arrest where ‘offenders’ are required to bail themselves as fast as possible.

In some major roads, touts are ‘hired’ to collect ‘tolls’ from the motorist every day. Business as usual still goes on in some Police Stations where ‘offenders’ argued on price among others.
We must acknowledge though we have come across many fine gentlemen and women in the Nigeria Police. In such instance, one wonders what went wrong with others. Yes we do know many Police Officers face daunting daily challenge of poor pay, lack of required equipment to work with among many others. When compare to  counterparts elsewhere, we do know they do not command strong respect their colleagues elsewhere command. But then one expects a gradual change even if it is an inch by inch as new IGP is appointed. Now,  if we have challenges measuring impact of past IGPs, what will we say about State  Police Commissioners who also join the bandwagon of riot acts reading immediately they are posted to a new location. These same officers might have read one before, in case of redeployment to a new state. The other riot acts read in a former location has not been achieved how do we believe the new one? Like we maintained earlier, we have seen some fine gentlemen of the Police who had delivered on their promises and whose names come to mind when one think of an ideal Police Force.
With all the riot acts, can we say new IGPS should be low in talk, promises and big in acting. Let us not waste time in riot acts formulations and readings but on the delivery.  With this, our society will be safe and great to live in for all. Or can we say what happens within the Nigeria Police Force is a election of larger society as we have seen Presidents coming to power with several points of agenda and after their tenure there is nothing to show for it. We saw on Facebook recently a throw back newspaper headline of 1986 recently posted by a user with’ No more NEPA black out by December 1986′. NEPA is acronym for what today’s stand as Power Holding Company of Nigeria. Different name change with little delivery.
Which way forward Nigeria. Enough of riot acts more of verifiable and excellent delivery. We will remeber our leaders more by what they do instead of what they say. The society also have a role to play.  We must not be the one compelling them to be corrupt. We must also hold them accountable too

Written by Yinka Olaito

Yinka Olaito

Yinka Olaito is a Communications specialist passionate about Nigeria and Africa Development. Before now he had freelanced for a trade journal for over four years. He is a Brand communication, Digital media consultant and continuously raises the bar of progress. An out of the box thinker and analyst. his opinions are shared on various online platforms

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About Yinka Olaito

Yinka Olaito is a Communications specialist passionate about Nigeria and Africa Development. Before now he had freelanced for a trade journal for over four years. He is a Brand communication, Digital media consultant and continuously raises the bar of progress. An out of the box thinker and analyst. his opinions are shared on various online platforms

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