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EXCLUSIVE: Intrigues as Buhari shops for new IGP to replace Idris

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Intrigues, highwire politicking and intensive lobbying are at work at the Nigerian Presidency and Police Force Headquarters (FHQ), Louis Edet House Garki, Abuja, as President Muhammadu Buhari shops for a new Inspector-General of Police, IGP, ahead of the retirement of incumbent, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris. Although Idris is due for statutory retirement on December 31, 2018, he is said to be lobbying for one-year extension, The Witness reports.

The Witness gathered that as Idris intensifies lobbying top members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to extend his tenure, the president has discussed with some of his cabinet members on a credible officer to replace the embattled police chief.

As Idris makes move to remain on the seat for another one year, The Witness learnt that several senior policemen and their political godfathers have also started lobbying to become the next Inspector General of Police.

It was gathered that between now and 2019, several police chiefs, especially of the ranks of Deputy Inspectors General of Police, Assistant Commissioners of Police and Commissioners of Police will proceed on their retirement.

A source said: “Between this month and 2019, the bulk of senior officers in the Nigerian Police will go on retirement.

 “At least by July, four DIGs will first retire.

“In fact, by 2019, only one DIG, who is presently serving, will still be in service.

“Many will retire based on clocking the 35 years in service and others will be affected by virtue of their ages.

“Those who are going to be massively affected in the clocking of age and retirement are 1984 and 1986 sets.”

Many of these policemen, between the ranks of DCP and CP, are presently also lobbying to be given their next ranks before retirement date comes.

It is further gathered that several politicians, while preparing for the forthcoming elections, are also lobbying for the IG’s position for their police friends.

With the exit of the incumbent IGP, police sources, however, disclosed to The Witness that a junior officer to the aforementioned top brass of the police force (names withheld), who is in the rank of a commissioner of police, may eventually get the top job as he is said to have more years ahead of him before retirement.

“He has up to 2020 before he is due for retirement and the Presidency is likely going to have preference for that officer, especially with the forthcoming 2019 general elections,” a source at the Force Headquarters said.

The Presidency source further said that the officers penciled down for the police top job had already undergone “secret” security screening by the appropriate agencies.

As the lobby continues, The Witness learnt that the drama is gradually assuming political, religious and tribal dimensions as some zones have vowed to ensure one of their own assumes the position.

 

IDRIS’ MANY CONTROVERSIES:

But for the intervention of a foremost traditional ruler in his home state of Niger, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar; and the Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II, this newspaper learnt that Idris would have been sacked by the presidency months back. THE WITNESS gathered that the Buhari administration’s decision to do away with the IGP months back arose from what it believed was Idris’ “penchant for embarrassing the Presidency and his many controversies, especially on matters bearing on the security of the country.

Already, more than 2,000 petitions have been sent to the Presidency, demanding Idris’ removal as IGP, a Presidency source said.

Many of these petitions, it was learnt, were forwarded to the Presidency by serving policemen, anonymously. Several other petitions on alleged corrupt practices of the IGP are also said to be currently before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The Presidency, it was learnt, was also not happy with the alleged friction that occurred between Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo and the IGP, while Buhari was away in London for medical treatment and the former was the acting president last year.

The Presidency source said that Idris incurred Buhari’s wrath when the then acting president, during his visit to the President in London, reported an alleged act of insubordination, committed by the IGP. He had reportedly accused Idris of unilaterally withdrawing his (Osinbajo’s) police aide-de-camp, without first informing him or even seeking his consent.

Idris, who was said to have been queried then, had also reportedly defended his action by claiming that posting in the police force was a routine exercise that was the prerogative of his office, without recourse to any other government official or person.

“The IGP Idris’ response then angered the then acting president, who apparently felt slighted and reported the matter to President Buhari, who also was not happy with the police boss for such an act of insubordination, and that seemed to have been the beginning of his ordeal.

A report by a group simply identified as “Professionals,” comprising some prominent Nigerians, sent to the Presidency about the alleged incompetence of Idris as the country’s police boss, was also said to have worsened the case of the IGP.

The group, which was said to have, in the past ten months, mounted more pressure on the Presidency for Idris’ removal, it was learnt, had cited, in its report to the Presidency, the various cases of threats to internal security and violence across the country, which the IGP had failed to quell until troops of the Nigerian Army were drafted in to put such situations under control.

The group particularly pointed at his inability to quell the violent crisis that engulfed Zaria in Kaduna State, following an uprising by Shiites Islamic sect, led by Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zak Zaky, and his alleged failure to stop the incessant killings in Southern Kaduna by suspected Fulani marauders as “concrete evidence” of his incompetence as the nation’s IGP.

Among some of the allegations contained in the petitions forwarded against the IGP to the Presidency, it was learnt, was his habit of promoting junior officers to the higher rank of commissioner of police, above substantive holders of the rank, said to have been sidelined by Idris.

A source at the Louis Edet House, Abuja Headquarters of the force said that such “anointed officers” were usually posted out to states as commissioners of police to serve as the “eyes and ears” of the IGP across the country.

“There are more than 10 substantive commissioners of police benched at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, by IGP Idris. He prefers to promote their juniors above them and transfer his anointed officers to states as commissioners of police,” the source said.

A serving member of the National Assembly, Senator Isah Misau recently accused the IGP of tribalism and obtaining millions in bribes from police commissioners in exchange for favourable postings. The IGP’s recent wedding to a junior officer wasn’t left out of the fray as the senator accused the IGP of violating a problematic section of the police act.

Idris problem was compounded with an allegation of corruption leveled against him Senator Misau.

Misau had publicly accused Idris of failing to account for over N10billion he earned monthly from special security postings of over 100,000 policemen assigned to individuals and corporate bodies.

The senator also accused the IGP of having improper sexual relationships with junior female police officers, culminating in his recent secret marriage to one of them who he allegedly impregnated and had earlier promoted from the rank of a sergeant to an assistant superintendent of police within 12 months.

In response to the accusations, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation dragged Misau to court in a move that political watchers say was meant to divert attention from the weighty allegations. The filing of criminal charges against Misau over the matter by the AGF, Abubakar Malami, SAN, was, however, said to have irked the Presidency, which decided to finally move against the IGP.

The Presidency, it was also learnt, frowned upon the IGP’s alleged donation of two SUVs each to both the president’s wife, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, and the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, Plateau State, allegedly to curry their favour. The donation of the vehicles was said to have angered the Presidency because they were not part of the items contained in the police budget for 2016/ 2017.

The controversy that also trailed the police boss’ claim that he gave the two SUVs to the police security aides attached to the president’s wife and not to the First Lady herself, after Senator Misau opened more cans of worms about the scandals surrounding the IGP, was also said to have further embarrassed the Presidency.

Still on Idris controversies is his refusal to honour the invitation of the Nigerian senate to clear the air on certain controversies pertaining to his office as the nation’s number one cop. On three occasions, the police boss turned it down.

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False age declaration: Documents clear HoS over wrongdoing, border agency boss faces sack

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Contrary to claims that the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, failed to act on the embattled Acting Director, Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), Mrs Victoria Olutayo Odumosu, over alleged age falsification, this newspaper has gathered that the HoS had in a letter to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on May 9, 2018 recommended Mrs Odumosu’s sack.

Documents sighted by this newspaper in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) showed that the memo to the vice president was in line with extant rules of the civil service as he is the Statutory Chairman of the Governing Board of BCDA.

Following the approval of her recommendations by the VP, the HoS wrote to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on June 13, notifying him of the VP’s approval and requesting him to “kindly direct immediate implementation of His Excellency’s approval as appropriate.”
The BCDA is one of the parastatals of government under the supervision of the office of the SGF.

The HoS letter to the SGF was the climax of a rigorous process of investigation to establish the culpability or otherwise of Mrs Odumosu who was alleged to have falsified her age to remain in service.

“Oyo-Ita’s desire for due process in removing public officials from office, and to comply with the Federal Government directive on handing over to the most senior director in an agency appear to be the reasons Mrs Odumosu stayed up till this time,” an official who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak on the matter told our reporter.

Official correspondences obtained from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation show that the HoS, initially found it curious that the allegations against Mrs Odumosu first came from Engr Numoipre Wills, former Executive Secretary of BCDA at the point he was to hand over to her.

In her first official correspondent on the issue to Vice President Osinbajo, dated December 5, 2017, Oyo-Ita states: “The decision of the outgoing Executive Secretary, Border Communities Development Agency(BCDA) to make allegations of fake age declaration against the most senior Director without proof of his allegations is an issue of concern to the Service.

“It is irregular for Chief Executives of any Government Parastatal to engage in disobedience to policy directives of Government as conveyed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation(SGF) under any guise of unsubstantiated allegations.”

The memo further stated that public officers should not be deprived of the privileged to serve their nation based on unsubstantiated allegations, adding that such situations are capable of creating negative precedence in the service.

According to the December 5 memo, the HoS observed that the documents provided on the allegations, which she considered “serious,” called for “further investigations into the issues raised.”

She, however, concluded that the existing senior and the only director in the agency should be authorized to act pending the appointment of a new Executive Secretary or outcome of investigations of allegations of false age declaration.

“Where an officer overstayed his/her age in the service, the penalties are available in the service rules. But an officer should not be punished or deprived of a privilege based on allegations that have not been proved,” she pointed out to the Vice president.

With no response from the office of the Vice President to her earlier memos, the HoS prompted a follow up letter on May 9, 2018, more than four months later. But by this time Mrs Oyo-Ita appeared to have been convinced that Mrs Odumosu actually falsified her age and should be immediately asked to leave the service.

In the second letter to the VP, she re-iterated her earlier concerns for due process but revealed she had been presented with more evidence of Mrs Odumosu’s guilt. She stated in the letter that she received additional correspondence from the Senate Committee on States and Local Government Administration which oversights the BCDA, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

On receipt of the correspondences from the institutions mentioned, the HoS said, she wrote to Mrs Odumosu requesting for her response, and also requested for information and other career progress chart from the Industrial Training Fund-former employers of Mrs Odumosu.

She further stated that after a review of the submissions and the records from ITF, there were indications that “a prima facie case of age falsification” had been made against Mrs Odumosu. She therefor recommended thus:

i. Mrs Odumosu be directed to disengage from office.

ii. The SGF designate a Director with requisite seniority from the OSGF to oversee the affairs of the BCDA pending the appointment of a substantive Executive Secretary.

iii. The Overseeing Director could commence investigation/disciplinary procedure against the officer. In the event that the BCDA as presently constituted does not have the required number of Directors to constitute the Investigation Panel same can be empanelled from the OSGF being the supervising office.

iv.The SGF to fast track the appointment of a substantive Executive Secretary.

A response from the office of the VP dated June 12, and signed by Ade Ipaye, the Deputy Chief of Staff, the VP gave his approval to all the recommendations and requested the HoS to “proceed with immediate implementation.”

The HoS consequently wrote the SGF informing him about the VP’s approval and requested that “The SGF may wish to kindly direct immediate implementation of His Excellency’s approval as appropriate.”

-Culled from TheWhistler

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Breaking: DSS arrests Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe

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The Department of State Security has arrested Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, lawmaker representing Abia-South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, The Whistler has learnt.

According to reports, the senator was picked up on Friday morning at a Barbing Saloon in the Apo Area of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

It is not clear why the senator was arrested, but a source close to the Abia lawmaker said his arrest may not be unconnected to his constant criticism of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

Meanwhile, the lawmaker is due to appear before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High court, Abuja, on June 26 to explain the whereabouts of leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB}, Nnamdi Kanu.

Abaribe and two others had stood as a surety as part of the bail conditions for Kanu, whose whereabouts has remained unknown.

Justice Nyako fixed the date after the court ordered the prosecution to serve the sureties with an earlier order of court demanding them to appear in court and explain the whereabouts of Kanu or show cause why they should not forfeit their bail amount.

-TheWhistler

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Oshiomhole unopposed for APC chair as Ebri withdraws

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The coast is virtually clear for former governor Adams Oshiomhole’s bid for the chairmanship of the All Progressives Congress. The last of his rivals, Chief Clement Ebri, also a former Governor of Cross River, announced his withdrawal from the race, leaving Oshiomhole now unopposed.

Ebri’s decision to withdraw from the race was made known on Thursday in his letter titled: “Withdrawal from National Championship race”, in Abuja.

Ebri's letter of withdrawal
Ebri’s letter of withdrawal

Ebri’s decision came ahead of the party’s National Convention slated for Saturday and followed two other chairmanship aspirants’ withdrawal from the race.

He stated in the letter that his decision to withdraw from the race came after due consultations with friends, family and associates in the interest of the party.

He added that the decision was also taken in his belief that “all stakeholders “must tow in the same rancour free direction as the 2019 general election approaches”.

Ebri noted that what happened in the leadership of the APC was directly responsible as to whether it could deliver on its promises to Nigerians to provide them with better lives.

He said that such was the core conviction that drove him into declaring his candidacy for the party’s National chairmanship position in the first place.

He also stated that the fundamental task of the APC was to win elections, adding that it behoved on the party to offer its elected officials a means for organising government.

This, Ebri said, became the primary link between the people and government.

He also urged his supporters to transfer their support for his aspiration to former governor of Edo, Adams Oshiomhole as National Chairman of the APC.

“We should all render him every support and encouragement he needs as he and his team proceed to rebuild our party into a formidable, unified and inclusive organisation where every voice counts,” he said.

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