Some policemen have called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to probe the activities of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi.
The policemen, who described Imohimi as being ethnic biased in his method of posting police officers in the command, alleged that he favours policemen from the South South.
They further claimed that he moved some policemen out of their domains just to ensure that his loyal policemen from South South are posted in “juicy” posts.
A complainant, who described himself as a comrade and human rights activist, in an anonymous and unsigned petition, alleged that Imohimi had declared war on some policemen he perceived as loyalists to Fatai Owoseni, a former Lagos State Commissioner of Police.
The activist alleged that the former Officer-in-Charge of Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Cultism Squads, CSP Akinade Adejobi, whose men were alleged to have collected a bribe of N50,000 from a suspect before she was granted bail, is one of Owoseni’s men.
It will be recalled that Adejobi’s men were accused of demanding N50,000 as bail from a female detainee and further accused of sexually harassing the suspect’s sister.
Determined to get to the root of the matter, Imohimi set up a panel, which embarked on a fact finding mission.
The panel was given two weeks to finish its investigations.
Imohimi requested Adejobi to step down as the OC of the unit, pending the completion of the investigation.
Two months after the panel submitted its findings and recommendations, Imohimi has kept mute on the issue. Earlier, he had promised to look at the reports and make his recommendations public.
While Nigerians were still waiting for Imohimi to react on the panel’s report, news filtered out that Adejobi and nine other policemen had been moved out of the Lagos State Police Command.
The activist blamed Imohimi for the transfer of Adejobi.
The activist said in the petition: “Edgal has declared war against some officers, who were close to Owoseni. That was the reason he pounced on Akinade Adejobi, who worked relentlessly for Lagos State Command and other officers. The report of the panel ought to have been made public since the cooked allegation against the innocent man was made public.”
“In the same vein, experts have challenged Edgal on his locus standi or authority to set up a panel of enquiry in the first instance. Those in charge of the police have made him to be so loose that he seems uncontrollable. Does he even have the powers under the police extant rules to set up a panel to investigate such allegations? Is he the IGP?
“These questions and others should form the basis of investigations by the police high command or the National Assembly or the Presidency as the case maybe.”
He further questioned the rationale behind the promotion of Imohimi to a Commissioner of Police, barely three months that he was promoted to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police.
The activist said: “The Police Service Commission, led by retired IGP Mike Okiro, has demoted him to his former rank of DCP with a letter signed by the Permanent Secretary, PSC, dated October 8, 2017. It was alleged that Okiro and IGP collected money to influence the special promotion and posting of Imohimi to Lagos over and above his superior officers in the command.”
He further claimed that when the news of Imohimi demotion broke, the CP made a beeline for Abuja, where he allegedly lobbied for his demotion to the cancelled. He further claimed that Imohimi achieved his plans and danced back to the Lagos State Command, high in spirit.
His words: “Edgal, who was full of joy after the cancellation of his letter of demotion, came into the command headquarters GRA Ikeja in convoy and ordered his men to be firing sporadically into the air to celebrate his triumphant entry back to the command, what a shame and display of unprofessionalism.”
He urged the IGP, National Assembly and the Presidency to cross check the postings that Imohimi had been doing so far in Lagos State.
He said: “Edgal tactically positioned all his Edo guys and displaced the Yoruba in Lagos. Without gainsaying, Edgal has been a great threat and thorn in the flesh of officers and men of the command, particularly Lagosians and Yoruba, and to civilians within the state.
He must be investigated, and demoted to his former rank because it’s not a normal practice in the police for such a senior officer to be promoted to Acting Commissioner of police three months after his promotion to Deputy Commissioner of Police over and above his seniors who had been wearing DCP ranks for more than four years.
“Was the letter of Edgal’s demotion actually fake? Were Nigerians fooled? Was Edgal due for the promotion and posting to Lagos in acting capacity when very senior Commissioners of Police are hanging at the Force Headquarters? What is the rationale behind this special promotion and posting of Edgal?”
The Eagle Online, however, carried out investigations and couldn’t substantiate most of the allegations raised against Imohimi.
A source said: “True, Imohimi was promoted above his seniors. This is no longer new in the Nigeria Police. Every of such ‘illegal’ promotion is labelled ‘special promotion.’”
It is however on record that Imohimi was among policemen in Nigeria whose promotion was seriously stunted, before his fortune turned.
Perhaps, mother fortune smiled on Imohimi after his classmate, Akinwunmi Ambode, became Governor of Lagos State.
Ambode had made moves to get Imohimi to work with him. It’s not just because of their friendship. Those who know Imohimi, also know he’s hardworking, bold and fearless, a source said, adding: “It’s also on record that Lagos State Government doesn’t joke or compromise issues that has to do with security. Thus, Imohimi wouldn’t have been picked, if not that Ambode believes he could handle the security challenges in Lagos and foster peace.”
Ambode was also said to have reached out on Imohimi’s behalf when the issue of his demotion became public. Indeed, a letter authored by the Lagos State Government to the Presidency on the issue found its way into public domain.
Before Imohimi’s promotion to CP, Ambode had allegedly even tried to foist him as the Commander of the Rapid Response Squad, a position that has for a long time been held by Assistant Commissioners of Police. According to sources, Imohimi was specially groomed and prepared to take over from his predecessor.
Imohimi’s promotion caused bitter indigestion among some of his seniors. Indeed, a police officer said that he was years his senior and yet Imohimi was named his senior.
Another policeman, an ACP, said in police register, he is Imohimi’s senior.
It’s also known that in police circle, as it is in the military, once a senior officer takes over the baton of leadership, he would reposition the command and position capable loyalists and policemen.
One of such people brought to the Lagos State Command was ACP Monday Agbonka. He is now in charge of Area A, Lion Building, Lagos Island. Before Agbonika was moved to the Island, constant fighting among youths and bloodletting was the order of the day.
In fact, seven youths were killed within two weeks, including a graduate, who was supposed to resume at his new place of work that week.
When policemen eventually went on raids, to check the escalating tension on the Island, they arrested close to 100 youths and allegedly started extorting huge sums of money from them.
It was also gathered that the former area commander of Lion Building refused to take orders from Imohimi, further fuelling his removal.
Agbonika is known to be another hardworking and intelligent policeman. It’s clear Imohimi picked him because Agbonika has worked on the Island for some years. He knows the terrains and the workings of restive youths.
Investigation into the sudden demotion of Imohimi, by the PSC, came as shock to everyone. It’s clear, however, that the letter was not forged, but emanated from the PSC’s office.
A source in the PSC said: “We heard the rumour; we have received several calls concerning it and I can tell you, that it’s not true. I can’t say the letter is a forged one. I can, however, tell you that the board did not approve that letter.”
While the demotion letter was being circulated, Imohimi was in Lagos, still on familiarisation tour and holding town’s hall meetings.
There was no time he travelled out of Lagos. In fact, when he was called on his demotion, he said it was the handiwork of his enemies. After which he switched off his phone.
The Commissioner representing the Media and South East in the PSC, Dame Comfort Obi, said: “Imohimi remains the Acting CP; nothing has changed.”
Okiro said nobody authorized such a memo. The PSC Vice Chairman, Alhaji Yakubu Mohammed, also denied knowledge of the memo.
A senior police chief with the Force Secretary Office in Abuja, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “This is the work of mischief-makers and those hell-bent on placing the Commission and the IGP at loggerheads. They are certainly doing what they know best. This is a classic case of bad cops at work. Nobody knows what they intended to achieve.”
This wouldn’t be the first time that official memos, approving promotion, demotion or deployment of senior officers, have walked out of the office of the PSC into public domain.
Imohimi is facing onslaught and backlash accrued from the alleged dealings of Idris.
Cases of illegal promotions and promotions for sale had often dogged footsteps of different IGPs, but the hue and cries that followed the special and irregular promotions from the stable of Idris seems to be loudest so far.
Imohimi’s promotions, like those of some other policemen, are being questioned following series of allegations raised by Chairman of the Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Isah Hamma Misau.
Misau, on several occasions, accused Idris and the PSC of collecting money from desperate policemen before promoting them to new ranks. Some are promoted several times within a year, while those, who allegedly couldn’t afford the exorbitant payment, continued to remain in the same rank. These allegations and attacks have made every police promotion to become suspect, including that of Imohimi.
The wild rumour going round now is that Imohimi paid N100 million to be promoted to CP and retain his position. It was alleged that he paid Idris N50 million and PSC N50 million. Sadly, policemen, who took the cry to town, cannot substantiate it.