The embattled Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, may in few weeks be forced out of the police force as President Muhammadu Buhari is believed to have ordered discreet screening of top police officers for his possible replacement.
INDEPENDENT investigations reveal that the president is worried over allegations against Ibrahim Idris.
Prominent among them are allegations of corruption levelled against him by Senator Isah Hamman Misau, some serving police officers, as well as some lawyers.
In addition, he is being accused of being sectional in the discharge of his national duty.
Some of the petitions are said to have been forwarded to President Buhari and to the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
On Monday, last week, INDEPENDENT reported that the EFCC was already acting on some of the petitions discreetly.
A reliable source at the anti-graft agency hinted to INDEPENDENT that “though the presidency is yet to officially refer the case to us, we are already investigating the allegations based on petitions already with us.”
One of the allegations was that one Barrister Emma, a civilian who lives in Onigbongbo area of Lagos, was dreaded at the Force Headquarters, as he was said to wield so much power and had unrestrained access to the IGP’s office on 7th floor.
He was also accused of influencing posting of mobile police squadron commanders after they parted with N10 million.
Posting of squadron commanders is the prerogative of the IGP.
One other allegation was that Idris frustrated an investigation into a $1 million case.
It was reported that the IGP had called a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) who headed the investigation team at Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) to step down further investigation into the $1 million case.
But the DCP told the IGP to send a signal as evidence for his defence in case he is later queried over the matter.
The IGP reportedly got angry and viewed the request of the DCP as an affront, and consequently redeployed him to Police College, Kano.
INDEPENDENT further learnt that based on the track record of the DCP, the Presidential Committee on Recovery of Public Property requested the IGP to deploy the DCP and other officers to the committee.
The IGP was said to have refused to deploy the DCP to the committee but rather deployed younger officers.
A top official of the committee who is also an adviser to President Buhari, explained to INDEPENDENT, in his Abuja office, that “we actually wrote to the IGP to release some officers to us, and he did not decline.”
The official would not want to comment on whether the category of officers requested for were released.
We have no issue on the category of officers released; all I know is that the IGP did not decline to our letter.
“Apart from the police, we also wrote to other agencies, like the EFCC.”
An Aso Rock source told INDEPENDENT that the allegations of corruption against the IGP were embarrassing.
“They are quite embarrassing to the government and grievous in nature, although the facts are yet to be established,” he said.
Apart from the allegations of corruption, Idris is being accused of being a sectional IGP.
For instance, the Zaria crisis in Kaduna State, where Muslim fanatics slaughtered Christians in churches without the police arresting and prosecuting the culprits is believed to be one of the reasons for his possible sack.
Another reason adduced for his sack, is his inability to arrest and prosecute any of the Arewa youths who had given a quit notice to the Igbos living in the North to leave by October 1.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was acting president at that time, was said to have viewed Idris’s failure as a deliberate attempt to ignite ethnic crisis.
Apart from that, the IGP and the VP were said to have had a face-off over the aide-de-camp (ADC) to the VP, Superintendent of Police (SP) Ayo.
The IGP allegedly directed the Force Secretary to redeploy the ADC to the VP out of the Villa.
The VP was said to have been irked by the IGP’s action and called him to find out why his ADC was being redeployed without his consent, when indeed he had no complaint against the ADC.
Idris reportedly explained that “it was normal police routine posting,” a source hinted INDEPENDENT.
But Osinbajo was said to have insisted that he would not release his ADC.
While the face-off lasted, the Zaria crisis heightened, thus creating an opportunity for the acting president to relieve Idris of his job.
He, however, sought Buhari’s nod to sack Idris. Osinbajo’s move was said to have again leaked to Idris, who was said to have employed the goodwill of northern leaders, including Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and his own royal father, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar to plead with the then acting president.
Etsu Nupe was believed to have sought a private audience with Osinbajo in the Villa where he had a closed-door meeting with then acting president.
To cement and tighten the loose end with the VP, the IGP was said to have recently approved for the ADC to attend an international conference of Chief of Police, currently taking place abroad.
INDEPENDENT reliably learnt that the ADC is expected back into the country this week after the ten-day conference.
INDEPENDENT’s investigations further revealed that the plan to sack Idris had been on for four months.
However, Idris was said to have always gotten wind of the plan and has been making frantic moves to retain his job.
Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, a CSP, told INDEPENDENT on phone on, Sunday, that he was “not aware of any plan by the IGP to remove the vice president’s ADC,” adding, “The IG cannot tell me internal matters. I am the force public relations officer between the police and the public.”
INDEPENDENT gathered that Buhari’s final nod to sack Idris was heightened by top members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who are said to be mounting pressure on Buhari.
Our Aso Rock source hinted that initially Buhari was not disposed to relieving Idris of his job.
The source believes that the role Idris played as Commissioner of Police, Kano State, during the 2015 presidential election, where APC won overwhelmingly, may be a reason.
INDEPENDENT also learnt that Idris was allegedly endorsed by Emir of Kano and Etsu Nupe for the IGP position against AIG Bala Hassan, from Kano State, and AIG Umar Manko, from the same royal family with Etsu Nupe, who were rumoured to be in the forefront of consideration for the IGP position.
Buhari is believed to have finally caved in to pressure after top party members convinced him that sacking Idris would convince the opposition especially Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that he is not paying lip service to the war against corruption.
They also cited former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, who sacked and prosecuted former IGP, Tafa Balogun, for corruption, as a sign of his commitment to the anti-corruption war.
Subsequently, Aso Rock source hinted that two Deputy Inspectors-General of Police (DIGs) and two Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) are being screened for the plum job.
They are DIG Shuabu Gambo in charge of ‘A’ Administration Department.
Gambo hails from Niger State as Idris, and he is due for retirement in December, 2018.
He has served in Lagos under retired DIG Marvel Akpoyibo, whose regime as Commissioner of Police witnessed a drastic reduction in crime in Lagos.
He has served as a state Commissioner of Police, a prerequisite in the considerations for IGP position.
The second is DIG Habilla Joshak, in charge of ‘B’ Operations Department.
He is from Plateau State and is due for retirement in July 2019.
He is known to the police as an operational officer. He has also served as Abia State Commissioner of Police, has held several positions in Lagos, and has been an operational officer in Rivers State.
The next officer Aso Rock is believed to have screened is AIG Lawal Shehu, in charge of Border Patrol, from the same Katsina State as Buhari.
He is due for retirement in December 2020.
In the same vein, AIG Adamu Mohammed Abubakar, in charge of Zone 5 police command, comprising Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states is believed to have been screened. He is from Nasarawa State.
He has also served as Enugu State Commissioner of Police.
He was Nigeria’s representative at INTERPOL headquarters, Léon, Paris for several years.
He was said to have represented Nigeria positively while in INTERPOL.
The last is AIG Kayode Aderonti, who hails from Osun State, and is in charge of Zone 1. There are three states under the zone with Kano as headquarters.
He had served as Lagos State Commissioner of Police and AIG in charge of Zone 2, comprising Lagos and Ogun states.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, when contacted on phone, on Sunday, said he was not aware of the planned sack.
He said: “I am not aware if the president wants to sack the IGP.”
He, however, said he would call back. Adesina did not get back as at the time of going to press.