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Idris: The new sheriff at Louis Edet House

The Force Headquarters otherwise known as Louis Edet House last week Tuesday came alive with excitement following the emergence of a new Inspector General of…

The Force Headquarters otherwise known as Louis Edet House last week Tuesday came alive with excitement following the emergence of a new Inspector General of Police (IGP). Although the appointment of an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Idris Kpotun Ibrahim to replace Solomon Arase last week came as a surprise, it set the Force Headquarters buzzing with frenzy that evening when the acting IGP returned to his office after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Rock Villa. Daily Trust On Sunday spotlights the traits of the new IGP and the challenges ahead.

Not a few analysts and commentators, especially those that had predicted that the new IGP might emerge from the crop of Deputy Inspector Generals of Police (DIGs), who formed the Police management team, were surprised at the selection of Idris. A senior police officer underscored such surprises at Idris’s appointment when he told Daily Trust on Sunday that:“The announcement of his appointment was a surprise as nobody expected it, despite the fact that he was very qualified for the job.”
Indeed going by his credentials and career profile, there is no gainsaying that the new IGP is qualified to adequately step into the shoes of his predecessor, Solomon Arase, who retired after 35 years of service in the Police Force. 
Idris who hails from Niger State in North-Central Nigeria joined the Nigeria Police in 1984 as a Cadet ASP and was posted to Gusau as Divisional Crimes Officer in 1986. He served as Operations Coordinator, United Nations Mission in Liberia, Deputy Commissioner at United Nations Mission in East Timor.
On returning to Nigeria he was Director Peace Keeping Office and Deputy Commissioner before his promotion to the substantive rank of Commissioner of Police and posted to Kano State as Commissioner of Police. He also served in that capacity in Nasarawa State.
Subsequently he went to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), where he obtained the MNI honours. Idris who was AIG in charge of Federal Operations at the Force Headquarters in Abuja holds degrees in Law and Agriculture obtained from the University of Maiduguri (Borno State) and the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
Checks by Daily Trust on Sunday show that Idris was posted to Kano State when the Boko Haram insurgents launched attacks in the State. For instance he was the CP in Kano when the January 20 attack took place and he was said to have personally led his men in the battle to repel the insurgents. 
This much was confirmed by the Police Public Relations Officer, Kano Police Command, DSP Magaji Musa Majia who described the new IGP as incorrigible, courageous and committed officer.
Confirming that Idris was posted to Kano when the crisis of Boko Haram had started in the state, Majia said: “He was the CP when the coordinated attack of January 20 took place. He personally fought the battle. He led the fight between the insurgents and police for several hours until we subdued the insurgents.
“We were at the command when he changed his dress and armed himself with guns and ammunitions and confronted the insurgents that were firing at the command from outside the building. His action gingered other policemen, who also confronted the insurgents”, Majia said.
The police spokesman further recalled that while in Kano, the new IGP had deployed various security measures in the state that helped in curtailing the activities of the insurgents. According to him Idris was the one who revived and strengthened Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Kano, in addition to the introduction of Joint Tax Force unit in the state, which comprises officials of the DSS, Police, Army and Civil Defence.
“He personally led the operation that rescued the father of the international footballer, Mikel Obi, who was then kidnapped in Jos, Plateau state and brought to Kano state by his abductors”, he said.
He said the new IGP also supervised the conduct of the 2015 general election which saw the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari into power, saying: “All I can say about the new IGP is that, the Nigeria Police has gotten a deserved leader because I am confident that under the tenure of the new IGP, the services being rendered by the police would be improved tremendously,” he concluded.
As Commissioner of Police in Nasarawa State, Idris was said to have successfully confronted the nightmare posed by the Ombatse cult crisis.He was said to have landed on the scene in the middle of a terror campaign which had crippled activities in the rural state.
On assumption of office in the State, Idris was said to have been confronted with the killings at Alakyo occasioned by the Ombatse crisis that had festered for two years.
A newly promoted officer, Idris entered Nasarawa like a new Sheriff in town. He had two battles to face: raise the morale of officers and men; and face the steady rise of the violent militia.
Idris was said to have been fully on ground.
He visited various places to speak to communities about their responses to his style of combating the violent strives. 
For instance, he was personally at Igga, a settlement of Nasarawa-Eggon, near Lafia, where dozens were killed in April 2014, and their corpses reportedly dragged and buried in wells. Community members themselves hailed his prompt visit which not only saw the reinforcement of armed policemen, but built their confidence. He was also at Tudun Adobu, and Odobu at the gateway into Obi in the wake of the massacres that hit the area in the renewed crises he inherited from about four of his predecessors. 
Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura was said to have at several meetings made references to Idris as a man on top of the situation. The governor particularly hailed him for deploying various strategies at ending the bloodbath in Nasarawa, noting that Idris was known to personally visit communities to organize peace meetings which he personally supervised.
Umaru Ismaila, a Deputy Superintendent, who served as command spokesman under Idris, confirmed that his boss, Mr. Idris was always on ground personally to supervise operations. DSP Ismaila said in 2014 Idris built a feedback mechanism within the command, and with communities, so that he was on top of situations at all times.
“The CP has built a successful community based approach of resolving crises,” DSP Ismaila reportedly said while appraising how the command tackled Ombatse, Fulani, Tiv, Alago, and Agatu violence.
 
‘A tough Commander’

Men and officers of the Police who worked with the new Inspector General of Police, while he served as Commissioner of Police at the Mobile Police Force, described him as a tough commander.
A cross section of policemen who worked under his command said Idris as Compol Mopol was very much liked by the rank and file police because he always ensured they were well equipped and their welfare catered for before deployment on any assignment. They, however, noted that Idris does not take kindly to insubordination from police officers under his command.
“He is very aggressive in confronting officers he believes are not carrying out orders or tasks assigned to them”, said a police officer who wouldn’t want his name in print.
As Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in the Force Headquarters’ Operations Department, Idris was supervised by the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations as part of a team of Senior Police Officers.
He was said to have performed remarkably well when he was sent on assignment into the South east, at the peak of clashes between protesters agitating for Biafra republic, and security personnel.
 
Challenges ahead
As he settles down to the onerous task of piloting the affairs of the Nigeria Police, security experts and analysts say the task before the new IGP is certainly not a tea party. This is more so given the multi-faceted security challenges in the country ranging from: armed banditry, kidnappings, farmers/herders crises, cultism to militancy in the Niger Delta, among others. 
Former Commissioner of Police in charge of the Federal Capital Territory, Lawrence Alobi says he is confident in the ability of the new IGP to surmount these security challenges. Alobi advised the new IGP to ensure operational capacity for men and officers of the Police.
“I am happy the new IGP has pledged to apply the principle of democratic policing which is at the core of policing in all climes. By adopting this paradigm shift which guarantees the protection of human rights, I believe the new IGP will certainly make a difference”, Alobi said.

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