Akpoyibo's Tour Of Duty In Lagos

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After about 30 months sojourn in the Centre of Excellence calling the shots as the police boss, the  former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo on Monday bowed out of the state police  command.

Marvel Akpoyinbo

The Ugono-Orogun, Ughelli North Local Government Area, Delta State born police chief is heading to the  elitist Institute of Policy and Strategy Studies, Kuru, near Jos, Plateau State to attend the one year  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,  PPRO, Superintendent, SP Frank Mba has also been posted to the operational guard and patrol section of  the Police command.

Divisional Police Officers, DPO and the other officers as well as the rank and file of the police in  the Lagos Command were said to have received the transfer of Akpoyibo with mixed feelings.

First, they were skeptical about the news of their boss’ transfer. For a number of times, Akpoyibo was  reported to have been posted out of Lagos but he allegedly lobbied his own boss, the Inspector General  of Police to retain him in Lagos.

At another time, Akpoyibo was reported to have involved eminent and influential Lagosians, especially  the Lagos monarch, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the Oba of Lagos and retired Assistant Inspector General of  Police, to ensure his continued stay as the head of the Lagos Police Command. But unknown to the  anti-Akpoyibo policemen and officers, his present posting was beyond his immediate boss, the IGP,  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 the  Commissioner of Police in the Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Mr. John Haruna was said to have  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 since  early December when the news first broke. But none was forthcoming until Monday. And on Wednesday,  when Akpoyibo finally gave his valedictory speech, he was required to hand over to a Deputy  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 of  the ‘Black  Axe Confraternity. But the Police Chief denied that he was a cultist. While some of his officers  believed that he was always hiding charms and amulets underneath his clothing, Akpoyibo debunked the  claim of being a cultist.

In June, 2009, Akpoyibo took Christendom by surprise when he prostrated with his flowing gown at a   church, The Redeemed Evangelical Church, TREM, in Lagos. He said he was a born again Christian who was  willing to ‘surrender all to Jesus.”

Also in 2009, Akpoyibo stunned many Lagosians when he told journalists that he had succeeded in  reducing the crime rate in Lagos State. The claim has remained controversial till date with cases of  armed robbery, car snatching and similar crime flourishing in the state. Only about two weeks ago, a  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 and  also the automated teller machine, ATM. They reportedly made away with an unspecified amount of money.  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 was  gunned down and he died instantly. A soldier who was on guard duty nearby heard gunshots and dashed to  the scene. The sergeant in the Nigerian Army was also killed on the spot.

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These are few reported cases of robbery. Unconfirmed sources also report that the rate of rape was on  the rise in Lagos State.

Lagosians are worried that in spite of the millions of naira the Lagos State government has spent on  the provision of motor vehicles, communication gadgets and even helicopter for police air  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 a  bread and tea affair, but he awarded himself a pass mark.

“Although the task of policing and maintaining public peace in the state has been a highly challenging  one, it is my humble view that the command has done creditably well in discharging its statutory and  constitutional roles,” he opined.

Akpoyibo summarized the command’s achievements since he became the Lagos Command Police boss in 2008.  He said from 2008 to 2009, crime rate generally in Lagos State recorded a significant reduction of  about 25 per cent.

In 2010, Akpoyibo claimed that the command made strenuous efforts to improve and consolidate on its  achievements of the previous year. He mentioned efforts by his men that drastically reduced bank  robbery, kidnapping and hostage taking, which the command was able to contain and made unattractive to  criminals.

His statistics showed that his men arrested 1,256 suspected armed robbers, 2,795 stolen vehicles were  recovered, 1,065 assorted arms were recovered while 17,754 rounds of live ammunition were seized from  robbers, while he was head of the Lagos Police Command. Akpoyibo also commended the command’s record  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 corruption  in the Lagos State Command during his tenure. One of those who chastised Akpoyibo in this area is  Lagos lawyer and rights activist, Barrister Eric Igweokolo who said the former police helmsman  encouraged corruption among his men and officers.

He criticized the arrest of Alaba International market traders and their arraignment for robbery. The  lawyer lamented that the executive officers of the Ibo-dominated Alaba market were kept in Kirikiri  Prisons for 81 days. Igweokolo said he was therefore not surprised that moving round police stations  in Lagos, officers and men of the command were happy over Akpoyibo’s removal.

Commendation

Meanwhile, the former image maker, SP Frank Mba in a letter of appreciation commended the P.M.NEWS for  the cooperation he received from the only surviving evening tabloid during the three years he served  as the PPRO, Lagos Police Command.

—Moyo Fabiyi & Cyriacus Izuekwe