26th January, 2012
The consensus amongst most policemen in the Lagos State Police Command is that the exit of Inspector General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim, is a good ridance to bad rubbish.
Speaking on Ringim’s sack, an officer at Alakara Police Division said it was shameful and disappointing that the former number one police officer could not defend his country.
He decried the manner the former IGP handled the issue of training in the police.
“Ringim was a disappointment. It’s good he was asked to go. When we went on a course, we were expecting to be paid the sum of N100,000 each as allowance but only half of that amount was paid to us. Up till now, the balance has not been paid. How does Ringim expect police to work under that type of situation?”
The cop added that he believes it was nemesis that caught up with Ringim.
Another policeman attached to Area “G” Command, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos, who also does not want his name mentioned said: “Ringim brought bad luck and disgrace to the Nigeria Police.”
He alleged that in an effort to tame the Lagos State Police Command, Ringim tampered with their signal gadgets like the Close Circuit Television, CCTV he installed there which has not functioned till date.
“However, when Abubakar was the Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, in Zone 2, Onikan, Lagos, he performed excellently well. He was articulate. I think he is capable of facing any security challenge, unlike Ringim,” the cop said.
Commenting, another cop attached to Police Mobile Force who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “Ringim’s regime was not all that bad. But it is this Boko Haram issue that destroyed his career. Also, the MD Abubakar who replaces him is not a bad officer because he has always been our man.”
He opined that when it comes to facing challenges on state security, Abubakar is a capable hand and he will be able to curb the Boko Haram menace.
From Olosan Police Division, Mushin, Lagos, another officer said: “I believe Abubakar is good enough for the job. The Presidency must have checked his security profile before he was appointed. But I think Ringim also tried his best within his capability, though he was found wanting in the area of security control especially the Boko Haram challenge.”
A cop attached to Ejigbo Police Divisional Headquarters in Lagos was not happy about Ringim’s removal from office.
He said: “I think they just wanted to use the Boko Haram issue to ease him out of the Force. As for his replacement, Abubakar has been a friend to many of us, he is accessible, reliable and he is someone that carries his men along.”
Other Nigerians have also described the sack of Ringim as long overdue.
Some even suggested that Ringim should not have been given a soft landing by President Goodluck Jonathan.
“It is a welcome development, but I think the President should have done this long before now.
“A situation where you have a chief suspect in the bombings by Boko Haram, or whatever they are called, running away while in police custody shows that either the police authority knows more about the sect or has lost touch with reality.
“If I were Jonathan, I would dismiss him outrightly so that he would lose all his entitlements,” declared Yerima Shettima, President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF).
He further alleged that the incompetence of the Nigeria Police authority had trickled down to the lowest ranking officer in the country and that as a result, many of the officers often hide their uniforms while on the street, either because they are ashamed or lack the qualities of good policing.
He said if MD Abubakar (the new IG) is still “the Abubakar I used to know, then I can say he would bring his principles and focus into the Nigeria Police and take it to the next level except if he has changed.”
For Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, it is a step in the right direction.
“But it is unfortunate that in Nigeria, people have to wait to be shown the exit rather than resign when they know they are not capable of handling positions.
“From the man who collects N20 on the street to the highest person in the police, they are all rotten,” he said.
Yinka Odumakin, spokesperson to Muhammadu Buhari, wondered how Ringim had been able to keep his job till now.
According to him, while the former IGP was the Police Commissioner in Bayelsa state, kidnappers in the area had a field day.
He also recalled that Kabiru Sokoto, the run-away Boko Haram member, was not the first to escape from police custody, but that Tishau also escaped in doubtful circumstances.
“He has never shown he is capable enough. The other time, he said the days of Boko Haram are numbered and the sect responded by bombing the Police headquarters. Then see the case against Zakari Biu,” he said while maintaining that the dismissal came too late.
Odumakin also said the National Security Adviser, Owoeye Azazi, had been recommended for dismissal from the army and wondered what he was still doing in the corridors of power.
The Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts for Local Governments, Dayo Fafunmi, said that Ringim’s sack was expected since he refused to resign honourably.
According to him, “Ringim should have been given the boot immediately it became clear that he was not competent.
“When you also look at the sacked DIGs, you would realise that they had become too comfortable, so it was wise to bring in a vibrant person.”
“Abubakar was very effective in curbing crime when he was the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State. It was under him the Security Trust Fund was initiated,” he said while appealing to Nigerians to give him a chance to prove whether he is capable or not.
—Kazeem Ugbodaga, Eromosele Ebhomele & Ayodeji Dedeigbo