The 1960 Collective: No to Mohammed Abubakar!

The 1960 Collective

Press Release

The 1960 Collective Welcomes the Removal of Hafiz Ringim, but Condemns the
Appointment of Mohammed Abubakar as Acting Inspector General of Police in
Nigeria.

• Plans an international campaign for the arrest and prosecution of
Mohammed Abubakar anywhere outside Nigeria for Genocide and Crimes Against
Humanity if appointment not nullified

(1) The 1960 Collective welcomes the removal of the Inspector General of
Police, Hafiz Ringim; but considering he was billed to retire in March
2012, this isn’t exactly a firm action against the security lapses the
nation has witnessed under his tenure at the helms. Indeed, in early
September 2010, the President sacked all his security chiefs, which was the
period Ringim took over the Police and things simply got worse
security-wise. For us, this game of musical chairs will not solve the
problem. If anything, we are very concerned that the President has done the
same thing he did with Ringim’s appointment by approving the irregular
appointment of an Assistant Inspector-General of Police ahead of more
senior officers. Ringim was installed ahead of nine more senior officers,
including Deputy Inspectors-General of Police when he was only an Assistant
Inspector-General of Police himself. Now, Mohammed Abubakar, another
Assistant Inspector-General has been appointed as Acting Inspector-General
of Police ahead of at least six Deputy Inspectors-General. In the case of
Ringim, the nation lost all those men to early retirements simply because
the President wanted to reward an officer who was his friend and the State
Police Commissioner when he was Governor of Bayelsa State. Today, we do not
know why Mohammed Abubakar is favoured, but we do know that he is not a fit
and proper person to hold public office and certainly not the office of the
Acting Inspector General of Police, being someone indicted by the 2002
Justice Niki Tobi-led Judicial Commission of Inquiry Into the Civil
Disturbances in Jos and its Environs. (2) The detail of the
Commission’s findings against Mohammed Abubakar is
disturbing. It stated in Chapter 4 of the White Paper: “Of all the
individuals, groups and organizations who were mentioned in the various
memoranda as having played one role or the other with regard to the crisis,
none received more scathing comments than Alhaji M.D. Abubakar, the Plateau
State Commissioner of Police at the time of the crisis. He served in that
capacity from 16/7/2000 to 16/11/2001. His name was mentioned in not less
than fifty percent of the memoranda submitted to the Commission with
varying degrees of condemnation of his role before and during the crisis.
Such memoranda include Exhibits L, 16, 48, 52, 257, 470, 507, 521 and 524
among many others. The oral evidence of witnesses before the Commission is
equally replete with allegations that Alhaji M.D. Abubakar was responsible
in one way or the other for causing the crisis or failing to curtail its
severity or extent. The only dissenting voice is that of Assistant
Commissioner of Police, Dominic Yadubiya, the Area Commander who signed and
presented Exhibit 79, the Memorandum of the office of the Commissioner of
Police, Plateau State Command. While not condemning Alhaji M.D. Abubakar,
Yadubiya did not praise him either”. (3) More evidence before the
Commission, including Mohammed Abubakar’s own
oral evidence, indicted him for what was essentially genocide as he was
found to have actively taken steps to facilitate the killings by Muslims,
being Muslim himself. The Commission had no hesitation to recommend as
follows: “Religious fanatics should not be posted to head state police
commands. The commission recommends that for his ignoble role during the
September 2001 crisis which resulted in the loss of lives, the former
Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, Alhaji M.D. Abubakar, be
advised to retire from the Nigeria Police Force and in the event of his
refusal to do so, he should be dismissed from the service.” And that was
not his first brush with notoriety. As General Sani Abacha’s Police chief
at the Lagos Airport, he was variously fingered in the 14 November 1996
death of Dr Shola Omoshola, the then Head of Security at the Lagos Airport
and his cousin, Nelson Kazeem. While we recognize that no hard evidence has
been tendered, except circumstantial, to support the widely held view that
he was complicit in the murder of the two gentlemen, considered along with
other factors, it ought to be enough to stop President Jonathan from
appointing him to such an important security office.

(4) The 1960 Collective also denounces the Chairman of the Police Service
Commission (PSC), Mr Parry Osayande for defending the choice of Mohammed
Abubakar as Inspector-General of Police in spite of the Justice Niki Tobi
Report. In a letter, released publicly to this effect, he states: “It needs
to be pointed out that this was a Judicial Commission constituted by the
State Government and apparently the Federal Government did not act on the
Commission’s recommendations. There is also no record that the report was
sent to the Police Service Commission either directly by the State or the
Office of the Inspector General of Police for a follow up action. Neither
was he queried by the Inspector General of Police, nor was any disciplinary
action taken against him by the Police Service Commission for any act of
misconduct over the incident. In any event, the report is Twelve (12) years
old and whatever recommendation was made will now be of no effect
constitutionally. This is aside the fact that it was only a
recommendation.” (5) We unequivocally condemn such lame and false
excuses or defence of this
scandalous appointment. This clearly indicates that the supposed reform of
the Police being initiated by the President with Osayande at the helms
isn’t going anywhere. It is inexcusable that a retired Inspector-General of
Police and a man of Osayande’s calibre and experience at the very top of
the police establishment should be unaware of the provisions of Section 21
of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act, which gives the Governor equal powers with
the President with regard to the appointment of a Tribunal of Inquiry
within the State with its decision being valid nationally. (6) It is
shocking that Mr Osayande is using the criminal abdication of
responsibility by all officials of the state responsible for effecting the
recommendation of a Judicial Inquiry (including abdication by himself as
the head of the Police Service Commission) as an excuse to appoint the
indicted person to higher office and one as important as the Inspector
General of Police. Mr Osayande wants Nigerians to accept Mohammed Abubakar
because the President at the time and now, the Inspector General of Police
at the time and now and he himself have refused to act on the
recommendation. We reject Mr Osayande’s disingenuous attempt to launder
this atrocious dereliction of duty on their part as some virtue!

(7) For Mr Osayande’s to say that the report being 12 years old now is of
no effect constitutionally is plain and deliberate misinformation, because
the Tribunals Inquiry Act and the Statute of Limitation do not place a time
bar on the implementation of the recommendations of a Judicial Inquiry. In
fact, the nature of what Mohammed Abubakar is indicted for is aiding
genocide and international law also has no time limitation for the
prosecution of anyo

ne indicted for such an offence, whether by a local or
international tribunal. The excuse that it is a mere recommendation is also
false, because Tribunals of Inquiry only have power to make recommendations
which are meant to be acted on by the state. (8) It is the considered
opinion of the 1960 Collective that President
Goodluck Jonathan ought to have weighed the matter carefully and reach the
only conclusion possible here for the interest of the nation. The only
decision that would have given the Nigerian people confidence and return
trust to the Police and boost morale within the force at a time they are
confronting this deadly insurgency from religious fanatics would have been
not to appoint Mohammed Abubakar. The danger here is that we are all
viewing another appointment based on cronyism, totally impervious to the
signs and reality officially recorded about this appointee. (9) For
the above reasons, The 1960 Collective states unequivocally that if
this appointment stands, if the President refuses to do what is fair and
just, if he refuses to remove such a tainted and polarizing figure from the
headship of the Nigerian Police Force and replace him with a competent
officer that can command the trust of his men and the nation, we will begin
a campaign internationally to arrest Mr Mohammed Abubakar anywhere outside
the country for Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, based strictly on the
findings of the Niki Tobi Judicial Inquiry.

(10) The 1960 Collective believes the Nigerian people deserve better than
to have such a man lead the dedicated and patriotic men of the Nigeria
Police Force. We call on President Jonathan to immediately nullify this
appointment before it becomes a bigger embarrassment at home and
internationally

Signed:

Olutoyin Adeyinka Eweje
Emeka Enechi
Olabode Oladeinde
(For and on behalf of The 1960 Collective)

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