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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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INEC registers 23 new political parties, extends CVR to Aug. 31

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday announced the registration of 23 new political parties, raising the number of registered parties in Nigeria to 91.

The Commission in a statement issued by Mohammed Haruna, its National Commissioner and Member, Voter Education and Publicity Committee, in Abuja stated that the registration was one of the decisions taken at its regular meeting held on Tuesday.

The Commission said it received 144 applications from political associations seeking registration as political parties.

“After a rigorous process of evaluation in accordance with the Constitution and Electoral Act which included assessment of the constitutions and manifestos of the intending parties and verification of membership of their executive committees and offices, the 23 associations met all the requirements and so have been registered as political parties.

“This brings the number of political parties to 91 and will be the last round of registration of parties until after the general elections on 16 Feb. 2019.

“This suspension is in line with Section 78 (1) of the Electoral Act, which requires all applications for registration as political party to be concluded latest six months to a general election.”

The Commission added that the new parties would receive their Certificate of Registration on Thursday at its headquarters.

The new parties are Advanced Alliance Party (AAP), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), African Action Congress (AAC), Alliance for a United Nigeria (AUN),
Alliance of Social Democrats (ASD), Alliance National Party (ANP) and Allied People’s Movement (APM).

Also registered were Alternative Party of Nigeria (APN), Change Nigeria Party (CNP), Congress Of Patriots (COP), Liberation Movement (LM), Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD), Nigeria Community Movement Party (NCMP), Nigeria for Democracy (NFD) and Peoples Coalition Party (PCP)

Others are Reform and Advancement Party (RAP), Save Nigeria Congress (SNC), United Patriots (UP ), United Peoples Congress (UPC), We The People Nigeria (WTPN) , YES Electorates Solidarity (YES), Youth Party (YP), and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).

The Commission also approved the extension of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) to Aug. 31 from Aug. 17 it had earlier announced.

Recall that a civil Society Organisation on Wednesday, Aug. 8, had urged INEC to extend the deadline for CVR to enable more Nigerians to register.

The Commission said it decided to extend the exercise which commenced on April 27, 2017, truly continuous for the first time by opening permanent registration centres in all 774 Local Government offices and 672 other centres.

It said the decision was to ensure that all-year round, Nigerians who turned 18 years would have the opportunity to register.

“Consequently, the current CVR has been going on for 16 months. As at 11th August 2018, the Commission has registered an additional 12, 139,061 new voters.”

It said that in order to have enough time to clean up the provisional register and print the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) in good time for the elections, it decided to suspend the exercise on Aug. 17 to resume after the elections.

It however noted that many Nigerians had appealed for the extension of the exercise and as a result the decision to extend the CVR to Aug. 31 was taken.

“The exercise will continue in all the designated registration centres every day, including weekends, but excluding public holidays, between 9a.m. and 5p.m.

“The Commission wishes to inform the public that the on-going collection of PVCs will not end with the exercise. Collection of PVCs will continue until close to the general elections. ”

The Commission said that it would issue Notice of Election for 2019 general elections on Friday, Aug. 17, as “the first of 14 activities in the timetable in accordance with Section 30 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

The issuance of notice will kick-start the countdown to the 2019 general elections, which timetable was issued on Jan. 9, the Commission stated.

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NUJ, MURIC, others demand immediate release of Premium Times reporter

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The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC have asked the police to release Samuel Ogundipe, a Premium Times reporter, with immediate effect.

The police arrested Ogundipe on Tuesday over a report the organisation published on the sack of Lawal Daura, former director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Copies of the letter Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police, wrote to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on the interrogation of Daura were obtained by the media.

The police had reportedly asked Ogundipe to disclose how he obtained the letter used for a story but the journalist declined in line with the ethics of the profession.

In a statement, NUJ lamented the frequent harassment of journalists by security agencies.

“The Nigeria Union of Journalists condemns in the strongest terms the arrest and detention of Premium Times Reporter, Samuel Ogundipe today by the police and his detention at the facility of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS in Abuja,” the statement read.

“Samuel Ogundipe was arrested for reporting on the report sent to the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbanjo by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris on the sacked and detained DG of SSS, Malam Lawal Daura.

“The NUJ is horrified by the constant harassment and molestation of journalists by the police and other agents of the state and requests that such should abate forthwith.

“It should be noted that confidentiality of sources is necessary for good journalism to flourish and journalists should not be coerced into revealing such sources.

“We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Samuel Ogundipe and an end to all forms of impunity against the media.”

Also, MURIC, in a statement by its director, Ishaq Akintola, said “We strongly condemn any attempt to coerce journalists performing their legitimate duties. The police know the rules. The Fourth Estate of the Realm deserves a conducive atmosphere to carry out its daily routine of informing and educating the people about government’s activities.

“The impression must not be created that we are in a police state. A Gestapo-style intimidation of journalists stifles freedom of expression. The police can still carry out its duties in a professional manner without curtailing freedom of movement and without undermining freedom of speech. Democracy comes under threat when reporters work in an atmosphere of siege.

“We therefore demand the immediate release of Samuel Ogundipe and an apology for the manhandling of the Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times.”

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Senators sue AGF, DSS, police for alleged plot to remove Saraki

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Two lawmakers, Senator Rafiu Adebayo and Senator Isa Misau, have sued the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the police, the Department of State Services, the Senate and seven others in order to stop the attempts to remove Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Senators Adebayo and Misau, who are supporters of Saraki, instituted the fresh court action marked FHC/ABJ/CS/872/2018 before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday.
Other defendants in the suit are: the majority and deputy majority leaders of the Senate, the Clerk of the Senate, the Deputy Clerk of the Senate, the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President and the Deputy Minority Leader.
In the originating summons filed on their behalf by Mahmud Magaji (SAN), the plaintiffs want the Federal High Court to determine whether in view of the provisions of Section 50(1) (a) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution, Saraki, who defected to another political party as a result of the division in his former party, can be made to vacate his office other than in accordance with Section 50 of the constitution.
Adebayo and Misau, who represent Kwara South and Bauchi Central senatorial districts respectively, also want the court to determine whether Saraki can be compelled to vacate his office on the grounds that he is not a member of the political party with a majority of senators in the Senate in view of the combined reading of Section 50 of the constitution and Order 3 Rule 8 of the Senate Standing Orders.
The court was also urged to determine whether the Senate President could be said to have vacated his office by virtue of Section 50(2) of the constitution when he had not ceased to be a member of the Senate or the Senate dissolved.
In a motion on notice filed along with the originating summons, the plaintiffs prayed the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining all the defendants (except the Senate, Senate President and Deputy Senate President) jointly and severally either by themselves, their agents, servants and privies from unlawfully removing the Senate President pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
They also prayed the court for another order of interlocutory injunction restraining the AGF and the Inspector-General of Police from unlawfully interfering with the lawful legislative duties of the Senate President pending the hearing and determination of their originating summons.
Besides, the plaintiffs asked for an order of interlocutory injunction stopping the IG and the DSS from harassing, intimidating, arresting or detaining the President of the Senate in respect of the lawful exercise of his duties pursuant to Section 50(1) of the constitution and another order directing parties in the case to maintain status quo pending the determination of the substantive matter.
The motion was predicated on seven grounds amongst which were that the agents of the IG and DSS had taken steps to flagrantly breach the provisions of Section 50 by employing their agents to disrupt the plenary of the Senate without recourse to the said provisions.
Another grounds were that the constitutional provision of removal of the Senate President does not empower the AGF, police and DSS to unlawfully interfere with the legislative duties of the Senate by causing a blockade at the premises of the National Assembly complex or using their agents to disrupt the lawful duties of the Senate.
In a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion on notice and deposed to by Senator Isah Misau, he averred that the Senate was a body recognised and established by the 1999 Constitution vested with powers of making laws for the good governance and well-being of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The deponent averred that the Senate held a plenary sitting between July 24 and 27 and that it was presided over by its President and that at the end of the sitting members adjourned till September 25.
Misau claimed that the All Progressives Congress as a platform for the Senate President had been bedevilled by crises resulting in divisions and factionalisation at the federal, state and local government levels.

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