The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, should have been given the boot the next day after he assumed office. That he has stayed this long in that office means he is stroking the right fingers. He is a telling example of why public offices should not be outsourced on the basis of loyalty.
Idris’ tenure has been one of vile controversy. He is, perhaps, one of the few police officers, who have attracted opprobrium to the office of the IGP.
Under him, the World Internal Security and Police International Index ranked the Nigeria police as the worst in the world. The IGP and his team only rustled up fictive excuses to defend this damning report. The police continue to go up the human rights violation chart.
When news of herdsmen killings in Benue State broke, the IGP, without carrying out any investigation, said it was a “communal clash”. He later apologised for the gaffe, but the action had shown the undertow of his underbelly.
And when President Muhammadu Buhari asked him to relocate to Benue State to stop the killings, Idris visited the state and returned to Abuja a few days later to celebrate his 59th birthday. He stayed in the Federal Capital Territory afterwards.
Idris had two journalists – Daniel Elombah and Tim Elombah – arrested and handcuffed because of a critical report published on their blog. The IGP’s one in many attempts to intimidate the media. Today, it is Samuel Ogundipe of Premium Times who is being harassed.
Sometimes, I read Nigerians criticising journalists for the seemingly “dearth” of investigative reports. I wish they knew what some journalists face in this media hovel – the threats, intimidation and assaults.
Just a few years ago, the Nigerian Army threatened to declare The Cable a “subversive element” – that is, abetters of terrorism, for exposing the rot in the handling of wounded soldiers in the North East.
There have been lots of other attempts to muscle the media since then.
On Tuesday, that unsightly unit of the police, Special Anti-Robbery Squad, arrested Ogundipe, a PremiumTimes reporter, for reporting IGP Idris’ farcical report on the DSS siege to the national assembly.
He has been in detention and the police have resolved to keep him until he names the source of his report. It is shocking that the police are ignorant of the principles of the media. And it is disappointing that the Nigeria police is still trapped in the Stalinist era.
This is another brazen assault on the media, which has become an “orphaned estate of the realm” under President Buhari. It is also an attack on our democracy. And our democracy is not only under threat when senators are assaulted; it is under threat when any citizen is a victim of state assault. IGP Idris is a potent threat to this democracy.
. Fredrick is a media personality. He can be reached on Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo, Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo.