There is tension and suspense in the Police Force Headquarters, Abuja, and around the nation, over what would happen in the next 24-hours, as the service term of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, ends today.
Idris, the nation’s 19th Inspector-General of Police, was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, on March 21, 2016, to replace Solomon Arase.
The 59 years old Niger State-born Police Chief is due for retirement, having enlisted in 1984.
However, there are speculations that his tenure could be extended by the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, as he is yet to attain the mandatory retirement age of 60 years.
Already, reactions have started to trail the possibility of the tenure extension, owing to the silence and what was described as the tactical delay to appoint a Senior Police Officer to take over from Idris.
One of those agitating for a new IGP, the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, NOPRIN, urged President Buhari to resist the pressure to extend the tenure of IGP Idris and all Service Chiefs.
The National Coordinator of the NOPRIN, Mr. Okechukwu Nwaguma, said: “President Buhari, in your new year message, you reiterated your commitment to ensuring free, fair, and peaceful elections in 2019. But there are clear dangers to the realisation of this promise.
“Among the obstacles is the partisanship of Security Agencies under your policy and operational control. The worse is the Nigeria Police Force, through the obsequious posture of the current Inspector-General of Police, whose term expires this January.
“Mr. President, please, demonstrate your sincerity and commitment to your promise of delivering free, fair, and peaceful election this year, by resisting the pressure to extend the term of the current IGP. Mr. President, please, avoid the temptation.
“Not a few Nigerians are convinced that, given recent events and conducts of the current IGP and Heads of other Security Agencies, which manifest clear partisanship, there is significant concern about the elections.
“The participation of the current Leadership of the Security Agencies in overseeing the elections, may gravely harm the perception of fairness and integrity of the process.’’
Those who spoke on the need for the President to urgently name Idris’ replacement, also canvassed the need for Buhari to look beyond the North, since nearly all Heads of Security Agencies in the country are from the region.
Already, the Action Peoples Party, APP, and the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, have dragged President Muhammadu Buhari to court, over the purported move to extend the IGP’s tenure.