Nigeria: Inspector General of Police under fire

By Konye Obaji Ori

Posted on June 24, 2011 13:39

Nigeria’s Inspector-General of police has been questioned by the Presidency following Boko Haram’s attack on the police headquarters in Abuja, the country’s capital.

Inspector-General (IG) Hafiz Ringim was summoned by Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan this week to explain events prior to the alleged suicide bomb attack at the police headquarters in Abuja. Ringim was also expected to clarify his outfit’s intelligence failure.

Reports say that while Ringim’s explanation to the president indicated that the bomber had driven into the police car park with the IG’s convoy, the footage sent to Jonathan and his cabinet showed a 15-minute interval between the IG’s arrival and that of the bomber.

The discrepancies in Ringim’s account of the events of that day [Boko Haram’s attack on the police headquarters] have fueled rumours that Jonathan may be considering a replacement for Ringim.

Some argue that Ringim’s inability to curtail the string of violent acts perpetrated by the extremist group in both Abuja, the capital, and other northern states shows that Nigerians are not safe anywhere.

“No excuse, reason or explanation can assuage the feeling of outrage against the Nigeria Police and its high command. It is a total failure of intelligence,” Okechukwu Nwanguma, Coordinator of Network on Police Reforms in Nigeria (NOPRIN).

“It then means that Nigerians are not safe anywhere under the present IGP. It is for this reason that I call for the resignation of the IGP or his sack,” Nwanguma is quoted as saying by Nigeria’s Daily Independent.

In 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan sacked the then Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, over lack of commitment, inefficiency, rampant corruption within the police force and rising insecurity in the nation. Jonathan argued that the police force under Onovo was losing the battle to criminals and felt that a new hand was needed to arrest the deteriorating security situation in the country.

Meanwhile, a security meeting with police commissioners on Wednesday June 22, 2011, yielded an agreement to flush out possible Boko Haram moles who might have infiltrated the police force. Boko Haram suspects in detention have also revealed that some of the group’s members have infiltrated Abuja in preparation for more attacks.

Ringim had vowed to destroy Boko Haram within months, in a visit to Borno state where Boko Haram originates.

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