Section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act 2020 has positioned Mr. Moses Jitoboh from Bayelsa State as the only qualified officer to become the next Inspector General of Police (IGP) out of all the 24 Assistant Inspector Generals (AIGs) currently in the Nigeria Police Force.

There are 24 general duty officers in the rank of AIG and either of the 24 officers could have been appointed as IGP by the President. But the new police law signed by Mr. Buhari in September 2020 mandated that only an officer with at least four more service years’ grace could be appointed as IGP. 23 of the 24 AIGs are up for retirement between January 8, 2021 and March 1, 2023, either based on enlistment or age leaving only Mr. Jitoboh, the youngest of them all, who still has more than 8 years left in service — twice the legal requirement.

But because the present government makes no pretense about its northernization agenda, they came up with a scheme to eliminate Mr, Jitoboh from consideration as IGP by prematurely elevating him to DIG so that he will compulsorily retire with the outgoing IGP even though he still has 8 years left in service.

To actualize this plan, they enlisted the cooperation of a fellow South-south officer, Mr. Michael Ogbizi, from Cross River (the DIG representing the South-south) who agreed to hand in his early retirement filings even though he had barely 2 months left to properly retire alongside Mr. Adamu and other colleagues from the 1986 course.

Extant police leadership order requires a DIG from each of Nigeria’s 6 geopolitical zones to make up the police management team. None of the 6 DIGs representing the six geopolitical zones in the police management structure is eligible for appointment as IGP because the prevailing convention is that the IGP is appointed from the AIG rank and when an IG is appointed all his seniors are compulsorily retired including the DIGs and new ones appointed in their stead.

Curiously, Mr. Jitoboh is not the most senior police officer from the South-south to fill the vacant position of DIG left vacant by the premature retirement of Mr. Ogbizi from Cross River. AIG Austin Agbonlahor from Edo is the most senior and is scheduled for retirement in August 2021 and should have been the one promoted to DIG to replace Mr. Ogbizi in the police management team. The calculation was that Mr. Agbonlahor has a few months to retirement so can’t make IGP but if he is promoted to DIG then the president will have no choice but announce Mr. Jitoboh as the new IGP being the only qualified candidate with more than 4 years of service life left. So they pushed a younger officer above his senior in order to sacrifice him.

This is the type of country we have now and some southerners are shouting “One Nigeria”. Just take a look at all the security and other strategic appointments made by this government then you will be in no doubt about the fact that this is “Arewa Republic of Nigeria”.

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