Following the controversies that played out over missing police vehicles, the immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, has said two former IGPs who preceded him in office left 22 police vehicles and he handled it well without seeking media attention.
He therefore advised his successor, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to follow protocols and avoid engaging in acts that could bring any past occupant of that office to public ridicule as he (Arase) did when he assumed office.
Arase said this in a letter he wrote to Idris dated December 1, 2016. Arase noted that despite obvious discrepancies which he met on assumption of office, he ensured that Force Order 295 was put in place to protect ex-IGs from being demeaned.
Arase, who retired as police IG in June, said it was in the spirit of this order that he desisted from ridiculing the last two IGs before him even though he knew that they each went away with 13 and nine police vehicles respectively when leaving office.
The former IGs, which Arase referred to, are Mohammed Abubakar, who retired in 2014 and Suleiman Abba, who was sacked in April 2015 by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Arase said this in his reply to the allegations by Idris that he (Arase) took away 24 police vehicles while leaving office in June as the IG.
Recall that the former IG had earlier dismissed his successors allegations that he left with two dozens of vehicles while leaving office, wondering what he would do with such number of vehicles.
Arase said rather than denigrate Abba, who he succeeded, he indeed initiated actions and bought a brand new bulletproof jeep for the sacked IG despite the fact that Abba’s administration left a debt of N28bn for him to manage.
He urged Idris to put the integrity and honour of the Nigeria Police Force first in any action he might want to take so that the force would not be exposed to public ridicule.
The letter reads in part: “I expect that former occupants of the office of the Inspector-General of Police should not be demeaned. This explains why Force Order 295 was emplaced by the force management under my leadership as acknowledged in your letter in reference.
“In spite of the emplacement of this order and despite the fact that my two immediate predecessors left office with 13 and nine vehicles of different makes and models respectively, I never pressurised either of them to return any of such vehicles neither did I engage in any act that was capable of bringing them to ridicule as being done to me of late by a force I dedicated my life to serving up to the highest level.
“Rather, it is on record that I went the extra mile to source for funds and initiated actions towards purchasing a brand new bulletproof jeep for my immediate predecessor, even after his retirement from service. This was done notwithstanding the fact that I inherited and had to manage a huge debt profile of about N28bn, which limited the financial base of the force at the time.”
Among the 13 vehicles, which Arase said Abubakar took away were a BMW (7 series) bulletproof car; and two Toyota Land Cruiser V8 bulletproof jeeps.
According to him, Abba also took away a Toyota Land Cruiser bulletproof jeep and a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado jeep along with seven other vehicles.
Arase said God had blessed him so much and he was contended to the point that he would willingly surrender “all my vehicular entitlements even as contained in the Revised Force Order 295 in the overriding interest of the force and in the sustenance of the legacy of comradeship between an incumbent IGP and his predecessor.”
He said he decided to delay in returning the vehicles, which Idris alleged he took away, as a form of protest against the “unfair, untidy and demeaning approach the matter was handled until now.”