President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to take a decision on who will be the next Inspector-General of Police (IG) any time from Tuesday when he returns from his trip to his hometown, Daura, Katsina State, it was learnt on Monday.
A top presidency official confided in THISDAY that the incumbent, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, who was billed to retire on Monday after 35 years of service, would have to continue in office pending when a new appointment is made to fill the position.
This came as the presidency also on Monday launched a pushback over agitation for the appointment of service chiefs along ethnic lines.
It said the president’s decision in picking a candidate to fill any post in any of the security agencies will be informed by the ability of the appointees to secure lives and property and not their ethnicity.
Giving THISDAY an insight into why Adamu would have to continue in office despite being due for retirement, the source said the outgoing IG couldn’t have handed over to an interim successor without the approval of the person who appointed him.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who also spoke on finding a successor to Adamu, said while he appeared on ARISE NEWS on Monday said that the president will make a decision on the matter when he returns to Abuja from Daura.
The president had arrived in Daura on Friday at the start of a four-day official visit during which he renewed his membership of APC.
He’s expected in Abuja on Tuesday.
Shehu said: “I haven’t spoken with the president, but if I read his mind correctly, the president would rather have an Inspector-General of Police who would make you and I safer, who would protect lives and property than one who is more pronounced by his tribal marks.”
He stated that the president would decide on the leadership of the police after his return to Abuja.
Reacting to calls by interest groups for the appointment of an IG of South-eastern extraction, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Shehu, stated on a live television programme that Buhari would rather have an IG who would protect lives and property than one who is more pronounced by his tribal marks.
He said the president was fair in his recent appointment of service chiefs by making two appointments each from the South and the North.
He said: “The language that is being used is that there should be an Igbo service chief and this is a country with more than 250 ethnic groups. If you are going to appoint a service chief from every ethnic group in this country, you are going to have more than 250 Inspectors-General of Police, 250 Chiefs of Army Staff, and 250 Chiefs of Naval Staff. Things are not going to work like that.
“If we said that we are going to use ethnicity or religion as the basis, then, we have lost it. This is about law and order and not about ethnic identity.
“Look at what happened with the service chiefs appointed now – two from the South, two from the North – if you are talking about religion, two Muslims, two Christians.”
Shehu also faulted the allegation that Buhari violated Covid-19 protocols in Daura, over the weekend.
Buhari was seen in photos discussing with some APC governors at the revalidation of his APC membership in Daura on Saturday without wearing a mask or maintaining social distance as stipulated by the Coronavirus Disease Health Protection Regulations (2021) he signed last week.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other groups had accused the president of violating the regulations.
But Shehu said Buhari wore a face mask earlier in the day but only removed it when he wanted to address his party members.
“People are missing the point. The president had his face mask on through that engagement. He had it off when he was speaking into the microphone. It is just a childish antics by PDP,” he said.
THISDAY checks on Monday, however, showed that there was no sign that Adamu was retiring, triggering uncertainties that pervaded the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
It was learnt that Adamu reported for duty, about 8 am on Monday and closed by 4 pm.
There was, however, an atmosphere of uncertainties around the Force Headquarters as contrary to expectations of the rank and file, the IG, who was expected to hand over to the next most senior Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), did not do so.
Sources said the IG did not direct any of his subordinates to prepare handover notes.
“He was in the office by 8 am and closed by 4 pm,” a source told THISDAY.
There are also strong indications that the IG may be awaiting the arrival of the president on Tuesday.
A source said the president is expected to clear the air on the matter.
“The president is expected in Abuja tomorrow (Tuesday) and he will resolve the issue,” a source familiar with the matter said.
It was further gathered that being his last day in office, Adamu was expected to be in the office to work for the last time.
“Under normal circumstances, today (Monday) is his last day in office. The handover you expect should be done today.
“On handover, the practice is that he would have directed departments to prepare handover notes since last week but he did not do so,” another source said.
THISDAY also learnt that the support the IG enjoyed amongst northern power blocs had waned as they are now focused on their choice candidate.
“Even the support he enjoyed from the North is no longer strong. You know, they (North) are pushing for their candidate,” a senior government official, who preferred anonymity, said.