Friday, 12 August 2011

Nigeria: Police chief on the way out?

Nigeria P&S sources have revealed that the present Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force (IGP) Hafiz Ringim may soon be removed from office.

The Federal Government has been under pressure to remove Ringim since Boko Haram's June bomb attack against the Police Force Headquarters in Abuja, which highlighted not only the police's inability to quell the Boko Haram insurgency but also to secure its own premises.

Following the bombing of the police headquarters, it was widely reported that the IGP had earlier met the bomber in his residence and had unwittingly invited him to ride with the IGP's convoy. Although the claim was subsequently disputed by the IGP, it continues to tarnish his reputation.

Additionally, sources report allegations that Ringim cashed in during the April general elections. According to certain detractors, Ringim found the election period was so lucrative that he bought property in the UK, and is alleged to have acquired other assets from illicit dealings during the campaign.

During the elections, opposition parties in states like Bauchi and Kaduna accused security forces of being used as stooges of the ruling party to threaten and intimidate opposition party supporters.

Some observers now view Ringim as the most unpopular IGP ever; his case has not been helped by the deteriorating security situation across the country and the fact that he appears unable to deal with the security crisis in the country.

Ringim was appointed IGP in September 2010, following the retirement of his predecessor, Ogbonnaya Onovo. His appointment had been made in the face of some protest, notably over whether he was the natural successor to Onovo and specifically because he was only an AIG at the time, his elevation catapulting him above the heads of a number of his superiors.

Ringim is expected to be replaced with the present Deputy Inspector General of Operations, head of Department B of the Police Force's management team Audu Abubakar.

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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