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EXCLUSIVE: Intrigues as Buhari shops for new IGP to replace Idris

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Intrigues, highwire politicking and intensive lobbying are at work at the Nigerian Presidency and Police Force Headquarters (FHQ), Louis Edet House Garki, Abuja, as President Muhammadu Buhari shops for a new Inspector-General of Police, IGP, ahead of the retirement of incumbent, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris. Although Idris is due for statutory retirement on December 31, 2018, he is said to be lobbying for one-year extension, The Witness reports.

The Witness gathered that as Idris intensifies lobbying top members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to extend his tenure, the president has discussed with some of his cabinet members on a credible officer to replace the embattled police chief.

As Idris makes move to remain on the seat for another one year, The Witness learnt that several senior policemen and their political godfathers have also started lobbying to become the next Inspector General of Police.

It was gathered that between now and 2019, several police chiefs, especially of the ranks of Deputy Inspectors General of Police, Assistant Commissioners of Police and Commissioners of Police will proceed on their retirement.

A source said: “Between this month and 2019, the bulk of senior officers in the Nigerian Police will go on retirement.

 “At least by July, four DIGs will first retire.

“In fact, by 2019, only one DIG, who is presently serving, will still be in service.

“Many will retire based on clocking the 35 years in service and others will be affected by virtue of their ages.

“Those who are going to be massively affected in the clocking of age and retirement are 1984 and 1986 sets.”

Many of these policemen, between the ranks of DCP and CP, are presently also lobbying to be given their next ranks before retirement date comes.

It is further gathered that several politicians, while preparing for the forthcoming elections, are also lobbying for the IG’s position for their police friends.

With the exit of the incumbent IGP, police sources, however, disclosed to The Witness that a junior officer to the aforementioned top brass of the police force (names withheld), who is in the rank of a commissioner of police, may eventually get the top job as he is said to have more years ahead of him before retirement.

“He has up to 2020 before he is due for retirement and the Presidency is likely going to have preference for that officer, especially with the forthcoming 2019 general elections,” a source at the Force Headquarters said.

The Presidency source further said that the officers penciled down for the police top job had already undergone “secret” security screening by the appropriate agencies.

As the lobby continues, The Witness learnt that the drama is gradually assuming political, religious and tribal dimensions as some zones have vowed to ensure one of their own assumes the position.

 

IDRIS’ MANY CONTROVERSIES:

But for the intervention of a foremost traditional ruler in his home state of Niger, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar; and the Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II, this newspaper learnt that Idris would have been sacked by the presidency months back. THE WITNESS gathered that the Buhari administration’s decision to do away with the IGP months back arose from what it believed was Idris’ “penchant for embarrassing the Presidency and his many controversies, especially on matters bearing on the security of the country.

Already, more than 2,000 petitions have been sent to the Presidency, demanding Idris’ removal as IGP, a Presidency source said.

Many of these petitions, it was learnt, were forwarded to the Presidency by serving policemen, anonymously. Several other petitions on alleged corrupt practices of the IGP are also said to be currently before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The Presidency, it was learnt, was also not happy with the alleged friction that occurred between Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo and the IGP, while Buhari was away in London for medical treatment and the former was the acting president last year.

The Presidency source said that Idris incurred Buhari’s wrath when the then acting president, during his visit to the President in London, reported an alleged act of insubordination, committed by the IGP. He had reportedly accused Idris of unilaterally withdrawing his (Osinbajo’s) police aide-de-camp, without first informing him or even seeking his consent.

Idris, who was said to have been queried then, had also reportedly defended his action by claiming that posting in the police force was a routine exercise that was the prerogative of his office, without recourse to any other government official or person.

“The IGP Idris’ response then angered the then acting president, who apparently felt slighted and reported the matter to President Buhari, who also was not happy with the police boss for such an act of insubordination, and that seemed to have been the beginning of his ordeal.

A report by a group simply identified as “Professionals,” comprising some prominent Nigerians, sent to the Presidency about the alleged incompetence of Idris as the country’s police boss, was also said to have worsened the case of the IGP.

The group, which was said to have, in the past ten months, mounted more pressure on the Presidency for Idris’ removal, it was learnt, had cited, in its report to the Presidency, the various cases of threats to internal security and violence across the country, which the IGP had failed to quell until troops of the Nigerian Army were drafted in to put such situations under control.

The group particularly pointed at his inability to quell the violent crisis that engulfed Zaria in Kaduna State, following an uprising by Shiites Islamic sect, led by Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zak Zaky, and his alleged failure to stop the incessant killings in Southern Kaduna by suspected Fulani marauders as “concrete evidence” of his incompetence as the nation’s IGP.

Among some of the allegations contained in the petitions forwarded against the IGP to the Presidency, it was learnt, was his habit of promoting junior officers to the higher rank of commissioner of police, above substantive holders of the rank, said to have been sidelined by Idris.

A source at the Louis Edet House, Abuja Headquarters of the force said that such “anointed officers” were usually posted out to states as commissioners of police to serve as the “eyes and ears” of the IGP across the country.

“There are more than 10 substantive commissioners of police benched at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, by IGP Idris. He prefers to promote their juniors above them and transfer his anointed officers to states as commissioners of police,” the source said.

A serving member of the National Assembly, Senator Isah Misau recently accused the IGP of tribalism and obtaining millions in bribes from police commissioners in exchange for favourable postings. The IGP’s recent wedding to a junior officer wasn’t left out of the fray as the senator accused the IGP of violating a problematic section of the police act.

Idris problem was compounded with an allegation of corruption leveled against him Senator Misau.

Misau had publicly accused Idris of failing to account for over N10billion he earned monthly from special security postings of over 100,000 policemen assigned to individuals and corporate bodies.

The senator also accused the IGP of having improper sexual relationships with junior female police officers, culminating in his recent secret marriage to one of them who he allegedly impregnated and had earlier promoted from the rank of a sergeant to an assistant superintendent of police within 12 months.

In response to the accusations, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation dragged Misau to court in a move that political watchers say was meant to divert attention from the weighty allegations. The filing of criminal charges against Misau over the matter by the AGF, Abubakar Malami, SAN, was, however, said to have irked the Presidency, which decided to finally move against the IGP.

The Presidency, it was also learnt, frowned upon the IGP’s alleged donation of two SUVs each to both the president’s wife, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, and the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos, Plateau State, allegedly to curry their favour. The donation of the vehicles was said to have angered the Presidency because they were not part of the items contained in the police budget for 2016/ 2017.

The controversy that also trailed the police boss’ claim that he gave the two SUVs to the police security aides attached to the president’s wife and not to the First Lady herself, after Senator Misau opened more cans of worms about the scandals surrounding the IGP, was also said to have further embarrassed the Presidency.

Still on Idris controversies is his refusal to honour the invitation of the Nigerian senate to clear the air on certain controversies pertaining to his office as the nation’s number one cop. On three occasions, the police boss turned it down.

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Why Buhari did not attend presidential debate – Spokesperson

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The campaign office of President Mohammadu Buhari has explained why the president was absent for the debate slated to hold on Saturday evening.

According to a statement credited to the campaign spokesperson, Festus Keyamo SAN, FCIArb (UK), the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is also the APC Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming Presidential Election, President Muhammadu Buhari, could not attend the Presidential Debate organised by the Nigeria Election Debate Group and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria which held today, Saturday, January 19, 2019 for the following reasons:

Firstly, out of several opportunities afforded our candidate to interact with the Nigerian people directly by different organisations, our presidential candidate has taken full advantage of another town-hall meeting organized by another group which held on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. He was also joined at that town-hall meeting by our Vice-Presidential candidate who is also the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. Nigerians from all walks of life who were physically present and through on-line platforms asked uncensored questions which were adequately answered. It was also transmitted live by various broadcast networks in Nigeria.

In addition, the busy and hectic official and campaign schedules of Mr. President clashed with this programme. Today, Mr. President commissioned the Baro Inland Water Port in Niger State and campaigned in Niger and Plateau States where his time was over-stretched by the tumultuous and mammoth crowds in both States, (as seen by Nigerians on live television) and only returned to Abuja late this evening.

Whilst we thank the organisers for the invitation, we want to assure Nigerians that we shall continue to hold these debate groups and Nigerians in high esteem which our candidate has demonstrated during past election debates when he honoured similar invitations. Nigerians will also recall that a few weeks ago, our Vice-Presidential candidate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, also attended the debate organized by the same organisations.

Lastly, we note the statement of the candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who actually came for the event and left the venue when he did not see Mr. President, who is our candidate. According to him, he would not want to “attack” Mr. President in his absence.

It should now be obvious to Nigerians that for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, this election is all about attacking the person and programmes of Mr. President and not about proffering their own solutions to the problems they created during their sixteen years of misrule, maladministration and looting of the nation’s resources. When they cannot see President Buhari to attack, the content of their campaign becomes hollow, empty and “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”. Now that Atiku Abubakar had a unique opportunity to explain to Nigerians his own vision and mission without a President Buhari in the picture, he ran away. Afterall, he has his own eight years of crass and grand corruption as Vice President to defend before the Nigerian people.

On February 16, 2019 we urge Nigerians to demonstrate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, through their votes, how empty indeed their campaign has always been and to vote massively for President Muhammadu Buhari and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN who have started the rebuilding process of our great nation.

Thank you.

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Irregularities mar Paralympics Committee election – Obuh

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The Tuesday, 15th January 2019 Presidential election of Paralympic Committee of Nigeria has been dubbed fraudulent, full of irregularities and outcome totally rejected by the President of Para-powerlifting Federation of Nigeria, Queen Obuh.
Rejecting the election in its entirety, Queen Obuh told newsmen that the process of the election subverts the constitution and guidelines for election into the body.
The Para-powerlifting Federation of Nigeria President, Obuh who is one of the presidential candidates said delegates for the election were handpicked within the National Stadium venue of the election instead of from federations across the six geopolitical zones of the country as stipulated by the constitution of PCN.
She said: “One of the zonal representatives claimed Para Tennis but to my amazement Kano State Director of Sports said they don’t do such sport in Kano.
 “The elections lacked merit in all ramifications and the evidences are there. Most of the zonal representatives were not eligible to vote. Most of them were hand-picked by the officials of the Sports Ministry on the Election Day.
According to PCN election guideline, “The elections will be conducted by the electoral committee which shall comprise not more than (5) five persons and not less than (3) three persons or members.
“The Elections shall be monitored by the representatives of Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and members of the Nigerian Olympic Committee.”
Furthermore, it was clearly stated in the Conduct of Election in the Guideline for the election that “The chairman of states Para Sports Associations or The Director of state sports council/Commission shall Authenticate the zonal candidates letter for the zonal election, but all these were fragrantly flaunted.
The most shocking according to Obuh is why the election should be conducted by the Ministry instead of playing observatory role as the constitution stipulates.
Recounting her experience, Lucy Ejike, the team captain of Para-powerlifting of Nigeria said she stood for Athletes Representative election on the 10th of January against Flora Ugonwa which was declared inconclusive but to her dismay, at the PCN presidential election yesterday, Flora Ugunnwa was called to vote as Athletes Representative
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Why I’ll privatise NNPC if elected president – Atiku

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, said on Wednesday that he would privatise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation if elected, describing the state-owned oil firm as a “mafia organisation.”

Atiku was quoted by TheCable as saying at an interactive session with the business community in Lagos that he would take the step even if doing so would cost him his life.

He explained that he sold the idea to President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he worked with as a deputy between 1999 and 2007 but that the former president did not approve of it.

Atiku said he was convinced that the NNPC would run better if not managed by the government.

He said, “Let me go back to my experience. When we got into office, I walked up to my boss and said, “Sir, there are two mafia organisations in government: one is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation while the other one is the National Electricity Power Authority.

“I said unless we dismantle these mafia organisations, we cannot make progress. Let’s privatise them… the long and short of this is that I am committed to privatisation as I have said. I swear even if they are going to kill me, I will do it (privatise NNPC).”

Atiku also spoke on how an expert in the petroleum sector influenced his stance on the privatisation of the NNPC.

The former Vice President said, “I asked a Nigerian professor based in America; I said, ‘Prof, do you have a ministry of petroleum in America?’ He said no. I said, ‘Do you have an organisation like the NNPC over there?’ He said no. And America produces oil more than any country? He said yes.

“So I asked him, ‘How do they do it in America?’ and he said taxation, and I decided that I will go by taxation too.”

Atiku criticised the current administration for the delay in passing the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill.

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