9th February, 2011
After about 30 months sojourn in the Centre of Excellence calling the shots as the police boss, theÂ former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo on Monday bowed out of the state policeÂ command.
The Ugono-Orogun, Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State born police chief is heading to theÂ elitist Institute of Policy and Strategy Studies, Kuru, near Jos, Plateau State to attend the one yearÂ management course for top echelon of the police, the Armed Forces and other technocrats.
In the same vein, the Lagos State Police Command image mender, the Police Public Relations Officer,Â PPRO, Superintendent, SP Frank Mba has also been posted to the operational guard and patrol section ofÂ the Police command.
Divisional Police Officers, DPO and the other officers as well as the rank and file of the police inÂ the Lagos Command were said to have received the transfer of Akpoyibo with mixed feelings.
First, they were skeptical about the news of their bossâ€™ transfer. For a number of times, Akpoyibo wasÂ reported to have been posted out of Lagos but he allegedly lobbied his own boss, the Inspector GeneralÂ of Police to retain him in Lagos.
At another time, Akpoyibo was reported to have involved eminent and influential Lagosians, especiallyÂ the Lagos monarch, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos and retired Assistant Inspector General ofÂ Police, to ensure his continued stay as the head of the Lagos Police Command. But unknown to theÂ anti-Akpoyibo policemen and officers, his present posting was beyond his immediate boss, the IGP,Â because it was alleged that the Presidency insisted that Akpoyibo must be moved.
They initially thought that the posting might end up like the reported one of May 2010 when theÂ Commissioner of Police in the Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Mr. John Haruna was said to haveÂ been posted to replace Akpoyibo. The reported posting eventually turned out to be a mirage.
Secondly, the men and officers of the Lagos Police Command had been expecting a replacement sinceÂ early December when the news first broke. But none was forthcoming until Monday. And on Wednesday,Â when Akpoyibo finally gave his valedictory speech, he was required to hand over to a DeputyÂ Commissioner of Police, one of his subordinates, who takes over in Acting capacity.
Akpoyibo became a controversial figure when he was rumoured to be a cultist, a member ofÂ the â€˜BlackÂ Axe Confraternity. But the Police Chief denied that he was a cultist. While some of his officersÂ believed that he was always hiding charms and amulets underneath his clothing, Akpoyibo debunked theÂ claim of being a cultist.
In June, 2009, Akpoyibo took Christendom by surprise when he prostrated with his flowing gown at aÂ Â church, The Redeemed Evangelical Church, TREM, in Lagos. He said he was a born again Christian who wasÂ willing to â€˜surrender all to Jesus.â€
Also in 2009, Akpoyibo stunned many Lagosians when he told journalists that he had succeeded inÂ reducing the crime rate in Lagos State. The claim has remained controversial till date with cases ofÂ armed robbery, car snatching and similar crime flourishing in the state. Only about two weeks ago, aÂ gang of armed bandits struck at Ayobo in Ayobo-Ipaja Local Council Development Area of Lagos State.
The dare devil robbers who declared war on the community blew up the wall of a new generation bank andÂ also the automated teller machine, ATM. They reportedly made away with an unspecified amount of money.Â Almost simultaneously, in Somolu area of Lagos, robbers numbering about 10 lay siege to a beer joint.
An unsuspecting car owner, Mr. Ogu ran into the robbery operation in his Mercedes Benz car. He wasÂ gunned down and he died instantly. A soldier who was on guard duty nearby heard gunshots and dashed toÂ the scene. The sergeant in the Nigerian Army was also killed on the spot.
These are few reported cases of robbery. Unconfirmed sources also report that the rate of rape was onÂ the rise in Lagos State.
Lagosians are worried that in spite of the millions of naira the Lagos State government has spent onÂ the provision of motor vehicles, communication gadgets and even helicopter for police airÂ surveillance, not much seemed to have been achieved under the Akpoyibo-led police command.
Delivering his farewell speech on Monday, Akpoyibo admitted that policing Lagos State has not been aÂ bread and tea affair, but he awarded himself a pass mark.
â€œAlthough the task of policing and maintaining public peace in the state has been a highly challengingÂ one, it is my humble view that the command has done creditably well in discharging its statutory andÂ constitutional roles,â€ he opined.
Akpoyibo summarized the commandâ€™s achievements since he became the Lagos Command Police boss in 2008.Â He said from 2008 to 2009, crime rate generally in Lagos State recorded a significant reduction ofÂ about 25 per cent.
In 2010, Akpoyibo claimed that the command made strenuous efforts to improve and consolidate on itsÂ achievements of the previous year. He mentioned efforts by his men that drastically reduced bankÂ robbery, kidnapping and hostage taking, which the command was able to contain and made unattractive toÂ criminals.
His statistics showed that his men arrested 1,256 suspected armed robbers, 2,795 stolen vehicles wereÂ recovered, 1,065 assorted arms were recovered while 17,754 rounds of live ammunition were seized fromÂ robbers, while he was head of the Lagos Police Command. Akpoyibo also commended the commandâ€™s recordÂ keeping and data management system and reduction in operational deaths among policemen in the command.
However, many Lagosians were astonished the former police boss did not utter a word about corruptionÂ in the Lagos State Command during his tenure. One of those who chastised Akpoyibo in this area isÂ Lagos lawyer and rights activist, Barrister Eric Igweokolo who said the former police helmsmanÂ encouraged corruption among his men and officers.
He criticized the arrest of Alaba International market traders and their arraignment for robbery. TheÂ lawyer lamented that the executive officers of the Ibo-dominated Alaba market were kept in KirikiriÂ Prisons for 81 days. Igweokolo said he was therefore not surprised that moving round police stationsÂ in Lagos, officers and men of the command were happy over Akpoyiboâ€™s removal.
Meanwhile, the former image maker, SP Frank Mba in a letter of appreciation commended the P.M.NEWS forÂ the cooperation he received from the only surviving evening tabloid during the three years he servedÂ as the PPRO, Lagos Police Command.
â€”Moyo Fabiyi & Cyriacus Izuekwe