Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police (IGP), 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 controversies. He is, perhaps, one of the few police officers, who have attracted opprobrium to the office of the inspector-general.
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 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 the president asked him to relocate to Benue state to stop the killings, this IGP 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 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 PremiumTimes 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 army threatened to declare TheCable 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 muffle the media since then.
On Tuesday, that unsightly unit of the police, SARS, 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 in the bog 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.