Two months and three days into his three-month tenure extension as Inspector-General of Police and while on a visit to the troubled town of Owerri in Imo State, Mohammed Adamu’s job was terminated.
A Deputy Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, was named to succeed him in an acting capacity.
Adamu was in Owerri to inspect the level of damage done to the Imo State police headquarters and Correctional Centre, following the invasion by gunmen and subsequent release of 1,844 inmates.
The announcement of Baba as acting Inspector-General of Police was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and announced by the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.
Making the announcement, Dingyadi said: “Distinguished gentlemen of the press, the tenure of the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, which ended on February 1, 2021, was extended by Mr President to enable a detailed process of appointing a new IGP, in line with Section 15 (A) of the 1999 Constitution.
“After a thorough check of a shortlist of suitably-qualified police officers from the rank of DIGs and AIGs, who are eligible police officers, eligible for appointment as IGP, in line with Section 7, sub-section 2 of the Nigeria Police Act (2020), and having regards to seniority, professionalism, record of service and competence, Mr President has approved the appointment of an acting IGP, in the person of Usman Alkali Baba with immediate effect.
“These changes are in line with the determination of the president to rejig the security architecture of the country to ensure that the security challenges bedevilling the nation are brought to an end.
“Mr President has, therefore, charged the new appointee to rise to the challenge to ensure policing reform policy of this administration are fully prioritised and implemented, to enable the police to perform most effectively for the peace and security of lives and property of all Nigerians.”
The president thanked the outgoing IGP Adamu for his professionalism and dedication to duty during the period of his tenure and wished him all the best in his future endeavours.
When asked why Adamu was not allowed to serve out his three-month extension period, the minister responded: “Mr President is aware of this and you cannot take away that responsibility from him. He is the one who is in charge of appointing or extending tenures. He has now decided to appoint a new person. So, please allow him that responsibility and we cannot do anything about it. Thank you.”
Baba was promoted to the rank of DIG in December 2020 and was in charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), Force Headquarters, Abuja. He holds a Masters degree in Public Administration and a B.A. (Ed.) degree in Political Science. A fellow of the National Defence College and a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Baba had attended several professional courses/workshops.
The Yobe-born police officer had also held several strategic positions in the Nigeria Police. He had served as the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 5, Benin; Zone-4, Makurdi and Zone-7, Abuja, having previously served as commissioner of police in charge of Federal Capital Territory and Delta State.
As the announcement of the acting IGP was being made in Abuja, the outgoing IGP, Adamu, who apparently was not privy to the new development, was in Owerri, inspecting the burnt police headquarters. Giving his last order as IGP, Adamu charged officers of the police command not to give up on the fight against banditry, stating that the fight was non-negotiable.
He said: “Bandits will never succeed, never spare them. Deal with them ruthlessly. Unleash your full arsenal on them. The law is behind you.”
Meanwhile, less than 48 hours after gunmen attacked and burnt the Nigeria Correctional Centre in Owerri and the state police headquarters, a divisional police headquarters in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of the state was also razed. The attack took place on Tuesday, few hours after the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola and Adamu visited the state. The gunmen were said to have freed all the suspects in detention before razing the police division. The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Orlando Ikeokwu, could not confirm the development when contacted, as he was yet to be briefed about the development.
However, a local who preferred anonymity said: “Gunmen this evening (Tuesday) razed Ehime Mbano Local Government Area police division; the heavily-armed gunmen announced their arrival with sporadic gunfire and then moved on to free suspects in detention before razing the police division.”