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Securing the nation with M. D. Abubakar

I don’t mind the interest being shown by everyone; it goes a long way to show, not just the importance of security in our daily…

I don’t mind the interest being shown by everyone; it goes a long way to show, not just the importance of security in our daily lives, but also the dangers and fears we face everyday especially when the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) whose responsibility it is to protect us, seem to have run out of ideas. This is largely because the NPF are demoralised, ill-equipped, and poorly trained.

It is against this background that I join millions in giving thumbs up to the President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for appointing Mr Mohammed Dikko Abubakar as the acting Inspector General of Police. Without any element of contradiction, I dare a say that no favour was done either to M. D. Abubakar, nor his geopolitical zone, because this appointment was based purely on merit. The security situation in the country required the NPF to be led by somebody who will re-motivate them, to be able to rediscover their ability, and at the same time, a person who will command respect amongst his peers.

No doubt, expectations are high because of his pedigree as a first class crime fighter; when he took over as Commissioner of Police, Lagos, crime rate was high, and he set about reducing it with great ability, being a good manager of men and resources. He stepped out of his comfort zone to fight crime, by personally going on patrols at night on an Okada, and also with the patrol van while hanging an AK47 on his shoulder, thus, leading by example.

He believes passionately in infrastructural transformation of the NPF and this was manifested in the several infrastructural developments he carried out in Lagos, as Commissioner or AIG of Zone 2. He refurbished and restructured many police stations, built an ultra-modern conference room in the office of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, as well as rebuilding the conference room in the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 2, when he was AIG, similar if not better than what you have in the board rooms of some of these blue chip and multinational companies.

A gentleman officer whose comportment is both elegant and immaculate, wherever he has worked, he leaves a footprint, and has headed the police commands in what you may call a mini Nigeria; he was Commissioner of Police (CP) in Kano State, commercial and industrial capital of the North, CP Abia State, commercial hub of the East, and CP Lagos, the economic nerve centre of not just South West, but also Nigeria.

Again, and this can actually be verified, he is the only serving senior police officer at that level, who has served in the six geopolitical zones of this country, and this experience will no doubt become useful in his new position as IGP; he was AIG Zone 2 (Lagos and Ogun), AIG Zone 5 (Edo, Delta and Bayelsa), AIG Zone 6 (Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Ebonyi) AIG Zone 12 (Bauchi, Borno and Yobe States), as well as Commissioner of Police (Plateau, Kano, Kwara, Abia and Lagos).

Abubakar is a lover of technology (I saw an i-phone for the first time in his office), and he once toyed with the idea of people using the social media network to officially report crime in their areas since blackberry fundamentally influenced the communication industry. As AIG Zone 2, he personally monitored the streets of Lagos with the CCTV link in his office.

A protégée of another first class police officer, Sir Mike Okiro, Abubakar is a keen sportsman, and has been trying to explore the power of sports as a unifying and uplifting factor in fighting crime. He was chairman, organising committee of the revitalized Police Games during Okiro’s tenure as IGP, and was the coordinator of the People Police Marathon, to which I was consultant and privileged to once again work closely with him.

Speaking in 2009, Abubakar said: “the marathon is an initiative that the police authorities have endorsed, as one of the strategic routes to a crime free society. During the event, the police and those they are paid to protect will be running together, going through the paces to build friendships and understanding, and at the same time, stand the chance to win valuable prizes. Sports has been a unifying factor, the world over and given the passion for it in Nigeria, we are strongly convinced that the aims and objectives of the initiative will be achieved.” He believes in fighting crime and other vices through many fronts.

During the People Police Marathon event, Abubakar, often referred to as the people’s man, mixed freely with the public, and ran side by side with members of the general public, thereby building hope, and trust amongst the people. So also his friendship cuts across ethnic groups, religion, class and sex; his friends range from the shoemaker, recharge card seller to the elite.

I am a Christian and indeed a Catholic, and close to a decade now that I have known him, he has never discussed religion with me, but has always wished me a merry Christmas and continually sent me inspirational text messages with quotations from the Bible. It is on record (and can be verified) that Abubakar once bought a Bible and a Rosary for a, former Abia State gubernatorial candidate.

He goes about incognito and drives himself to social events in Lagos unnoticed. On one occasion, while as AIG Zone 2, Lagos, he had arrived at an event and was trying to park his car and go into the venue; suddenly, a VIP arrived with three mobile policemen clearing the way for the said VIP. They stopped M. D. Abubakar from parking his car in a particular spot, because they wanted the VIP’s car parked there. Abubakar obliged them and parked his car far away and walked back to the venue. During introduction of guests, the VIP was heralded in with a loud ovation accompanied by the three mobile policemen. Thereafter, M. D. Abukakar was introduced and invited to the high table; at this point, the three mobile policemen disappeared abandoning the poor VIP.

M. D. Abubakar is a thorough bred cop, an excellent officer, who has exhibited competence, integrity and commitment in all the previous positions held. A brilliant police officer, highly detribalised Nigerian, with a great deal of experience and training; he attended Senior Command Course in Jos, Nigeria, the General Detective Course with the Metropolitan Police, West Hendon, England, General Security Course with the FBI, in the United States of America, as well as the General Security Course in Israel amongst others. He is an active member of International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Economics (FCE) and a holder of the prestigious Police Medal (NPM).

It is a fact that Abubakar is now Acting IGP, so requires our prayers and cooperation to succeed. And as a principled and operations-minded officer with deep understanding of modern policing strategies and ethics, I am confident that at the end of his tenure, it is my sincere hope that we would look back thankfully at Jonathan for making this appointment, and Mr Abubakar, for living up to his billing as a super cop.

Peter Osamgbi wrote from Lagos

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