Arase replaces Abba, becomes 18th IGP | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Arase replaces Abba, becomes 18th IGP

Posted: Apr 22, 2015 at 7:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
. Solomon Arase  .Suleiman Abba

. Solomon Arase .Suleiman Abba

•Surprise removal by Jonathan recalls intrigues of 2015 elections

By Augustine Adah, Andrew Utulu and Ifeoma Ononye (Lagos) and Hassan Zaggi (Abuja)

By Augustine Adah, Andrew Utulu and Ifeoma Ononye (Lagos) and Hassan Zaggi (Abuja)


President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday sacked the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Suleiman Abba, replacing him with Arase Ehigiator Solomon, a Deputy Inspector General (DIG).

No reason was given for his removal, announced in a statement by Presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati.

Sources conversant with the high-powered intrigues that has dominated the last few days before and after the general elections, believe Abba may have drawn the ire of President Goodluck Jonathan, following certain steps he took during the polls.

Those who believe in the theory that Prof. Atahiru Jega, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was to have been kidnapped on the day results of the Presidential elections were being announced, arguing that this would have been made possible if the Policemen at the International Conference Centre venue had not insisted on getting a letter from Abba before taking their leave. According to such people, as reported by international newswire, Reuters, Jega was expected to have latched out at Godsday Orubebe, a former Minister and in the ensuing commotion, the INEC boss would have been kidnapped, thereby stopping further announcement of the results.

Another sin Abba committed was instructing Divisional Police Officers in Lagos to take orders from the Commissioner of Police and not any Assistant Inspector-General of Police.

Also, Abba was also said to have attended the ceremony where Jega presented the certificate of return to the President-elect, Buhari, contrary to the norm.

He also was at the airport at a time to receive the President-elect.

Abba’s brings to four the number of Police chiefs appointed and fired by President Jonathan since assuming office in 2010.

With the development, Abba’s tenure as IGP is the shortest since independence in 1960, with the longest being the nine years by Kam Salem.

Meanwhile, Arase, born on 21 June, 1956, is billed to retired in two years. He hails from Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. He was enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force on December 1, 1981.

He was promoted DIG during the tenure of former IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, along with seven others.

Until his appointment, Arase was the DIG in charge of the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department.

Arase was mentioned in a petition by Buruji Kashamu, Ogun East Senator-elect, in a letter to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), where he accused the United States and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo of plotting to extradite him to the U.S. to face drug related charges.

The letter dated April 15, reads: “Kashamu’s enquiry revealed that indeed there had been moves by US officials within the region to secure the assistance of the head of the INTERPOL Division in Nigeria, Mr Solomon Arase, a Deputy Inspector General, for the arrest and delivery to the US officials of Kashamu for transportation to the US without following the due process required by the Nigeria Extradition Act.”

There are those who also say the elevation, though merited, may be part of plans to frustrate the plot against Kashamu, a known financier of the ruling PDP.

Abba, who hails from Gwaram Local Government Area of Jigawa State and the 17th indigenous IGP, assumed office on August 1, 2014, replacing MD Abubakar.

An alumnus of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, he holds degrees in history and law and has attended several management and security courses within and outside Nigeria.

Arase holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Law, as well as Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Political Science and Strategic Studies, Arase is also a Fellow of the Nigerian Defence College.

He had earlier co-edited with Iheanyi P.O Iwuofor, the book Policing Nigeria in the 21st Century, and was the editor of Monograph on Criminal Investigation.

He was former Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Force Intelligence Bureau, at the Force Headquarters; Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom and, later, Ekiti States Command; Commissioner of Police, ICT, Force Headquarters, Abuja and DCP, State CID, Panti-Yaba, Lagos.

He was Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to former IGP, Sunday Ehindero.

It is believed that his name and that of Suleiman Abba were penciled down for the IGP position.

However, high-wired politics may have led to the preference for ex-IGP Abubakar and IGP Abba.

The Police officer who is a product of the famous War College, Abuja, holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Political Science and Strategic Studies, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in law.

Reactions to the appointment have been mixed. For instance, constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay, expressed surprise at Abba’s sack, barely five weeks to May 29, when the present government is expected to hand over power to the newly elected president.

“I expected that the former Inspector General of Police will stay in office until May 29 when President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to hand over power to the newly elected government,” he said.

But former governorship candidate and leader of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Lagos State, Campbell Umeh Nzekwe, believes the removal of Abba is the best decision so far taken by President Jonathan.

“I don’t think Abba is competent to hold that position going by his performance in the past nine months as Inspector General,” he declared.

Umeh Nzekwe further castigated the former IG for his incompetent handling of the security situation during the last general elections in the country.

“You heard what happened in Anambra, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states when hoodlums had field day in snatching election materials at gun points.”

But the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) described the sudden removal of the IGP as showing lack of consistency by the President Jonathan led administration.

Speaking with Daily Independent in Abuja, Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), noted that the removal of the IGP at the dying days of the present government is a display of inconsistency by the President Jonathan led government.

He said: “Well it shows that the Jonathan administration was never and has never been consistent in terms of security in Nigeria.

“Otherwise, long ago, security chiefs that have participated rather than contributed the kind of mess we have found ourselves should have actually gone.

“But we are surprised just one month to the departure of this government; they are now removing the IGP.

“We think the outgoing government would have done better by sacking all the serving Chiefs, including the IGP or the leave the job for the new government and incoming administration to do that. ”

Regardless, the Network on Police Reforms in Nigeria (NOPRIN), hailed the sack of Abba and appointment of DIG Arase as replacement.

Okechukwu Nwanguma, National Coodinator of the group said: “Considering our regular interface and critical engagement with the Nigerian police and its officers over the years, we can say without equivocation that Arase is a rare breed and the type of office the police needs to reposition it as chief of police.

“He is a thorough bred officer and stickler for discipline and professionalism.

“We believe Arase has what it takes to address the problems of the police within the space available for any IGP.

“We wish him luck and hope that he will be given enough time to bring his intellect and professional disposition to bear on the Police.”