Born on April 15, 1937, in Jimeta in the present Adamawa State of Nigeria, Muhammadu Gambo Jimeta was a former Inspector General of Police (IGP). He attended Jimeta Elementary School (1947-1949), Yola Middle School (1950-1955), Bauchi Provincial Secondary School (1956-1958) and Government College, Keffi (1958-1959). Gambo, as he was popularly called, joined the police force and attended the Police College, Kaduna, in 1959 and thereafter Police College, Ikeja, also in 1959.
After leaving the police college, Gambo began his career as a cadet sub-inspector. In 1963, he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). He became a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in 1967 and full superintendent in 1969. In 1972, he was promoted to Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) and became an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in 1974. He became a Commissioner of Police (CP) in 1977 and served in Lagos, where he got national fame as a crack police officer dealing with robberies in the state.
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In his years of active service, Gambo Jimeta attended Detective Training School, Wakefield, United Kingdom, in 1962; Bramhill Police College, United Kingdom, in 1963; International Police Academy, Washington DC, USA, in 1980; and the National Police Academy, Cairo, Egypt. In 1982, he was promoted to the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) and transferred to the Force Criminal Investigation Division, Alagbon Close, Lagos.
After the military took over government in December, 1983, when it overthrew the Second Republic, Gambo Jimeta was appointed the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) to the then IGP Etim Inyang in January, 1984. At that time, only one DIG was appointed for the IGP. In 1986, he was appointed to succeed his boss, Etim Inyang, as Nigeria’s seventh Inspector General of Police and served until 1990 when he was succeeded in the same capacity by Aliyu Attah. He thereafter served as the National Security Adviser (NSA) to Nigeria’s former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. In 2011, former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Gambo Jimeta as a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy.
As a professional police officer, Gambo Jimeta always kept his vows each time he made one. He first came into national public reckoning in 1980 when, as Lagos State CP he appeared in person at a dastardly robbery scene. The robbers followed the cashiers of a factory who had just cashed the workers’ monthly salary, grabbed it and shot some policemen. Gambo swore at the scene that he would catch the robbers. Soon, Gambo caught the robbers.
As a super cop, Gambo Jimeta would also be remembered for apprehending a dreaded armed robber called Lawrence Anini alias The Law who killed and dispossessed people of money and valuables. In 1986, the notorious robbery gang led by Anini and Monday Osunbor terrorised Benin City and environs. The gang even shot the then state’s CP, Caspir Akagbosu. Once, pressmen asked General Babangida as soon as he walked out of an Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) meeting what he was doing about the rising cases of robbery. He turned to IGP Gambo Jimeta and said, “My friend, where is Anini?” Gambo replied, “Mr. President, we will soon get him,” and Gambo did. Few weeks later, Gambo held an impromptu press conference where he said, “The notorious armed robber, Lawrence Anini, was caught this morning in a special police operation in Benin…”
In retirement, Alhaji Muhammadu Gambo Jimeta lived a quiet life. He died in Abuja at the age of 84 on Thursday, January 21, 2021. May his gentle soul rest in peace.