Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
The Rise And Fall Of Tafa Balogun
culled from Independent, November 26, 2005
Born great and made to achieve greatness, Tafa Balogun, the 21st Inspector-General of Police was born on August 8, 1947 at Ila-Orogun in present Osun State. He enlisted into the Nigerian Police Force on May 1, 1973 after graduating from the University of Lagos in 1972. Balogun was a member of cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Course 3. Having worked in various Police commands throughout the federation, and earning his promotions as at when due, Tafa, was at a time, the Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to former Inspector-General of Police, Muhammadu Gambo, Deputy Commission of Police Edo State, the pioneer Commissioner of Police in Delta State, later Rivers State and Abia State.
Tafa, a fellow of the premier highest military institution in Nigeria, the National War College later became the Assistant Inspector General of Police A.I.G Zone One Kano, from where he was named the 21st IGP of Police on March 6, 2002. The Nigerian Police morale was at its lowest ebb, when he assumed the mantle of leadership, introduced, proactive policing, and the eight-point crime control strategy on assumption of office.
Also, six Deputy Inspectors General of Police were appointed to work alongside with him. These are D.I.G "A", headed by Mr. Sunday Ehindero, now the Acting Inspector General of Police, D.I.G ‘B’, C,D,E and F all representing the six geopolitical zones of the country. He christened the DIGs and himself the management team of the police hierechy. His eight point crime control strategy was well applauded by members of the force and Nigerians, as hoodlums were then having a field day.
The eight point crime control strategy were
(a) massive onslaught against armed robbery, gruesome murder/assassination and other crimes of violence, the methodology for which, this will be achieved, he christened "Operations Fire for Fire".
(b) Fast and decisive crisis/conflict management
(c) Comprehensive training programme conducive for qualitative policing
(d) Anti-corruption crusade both within and outside the force.
(e) Robust public relations necessary for our vision of "People’s Police".
(f) Community partnership in policing. The modern approach all over the world.
(g) Inter service/agency cooperation at all level and down the line.
(h) Improved conditions of service and enhanced welfare package for all officers, inspectors and rank and file".
By the year 2003, the morale of the force has reached its apogee, as the men were ready to put in the best to move the force forward. Between 2002 to 2004, the Nigeria Police arrested a total of 19,135 robbery suspects, 6,815 killed, 12,006 fire arms and 472,020 amunitions were recovered while 2,148 stolen vehicle were also recovered. During the period 172 policemen were killed in operation, while 151 were injured. Apart from enhancing its operational capabilities, he also ensured that police welfare was adequately taken care of, this was through promotions welfare insurance scheme and training.
In the area of promotion, over 170,000 policemen were promoted between 2002 and 2004, which is more than the promotions that had been carried out in the force from 1930 when the Nigeria Police force was founded. Also over 721 policemen killed in operations have enjoyed the welfare insurance scheme which is a line of succour for the next of kin of killed policemen which is paid within 14 days of death.
Tafa Balogun also did not take the training of officers and men of the force lightly as over 147,347 officers and men went on various courses locally between 2002 and 2004. On corruption, especially in the area of extortion, Tafa dismissed over 1,200 police officers for various acts bordering on official corruption in his thee year tenure.
He introduced regular payment of salaries and allowances, the community policing which a number of officers went on courses in United Kingdom and the United State in 2004.
The erstwhile IGP, then started running a one man show at the Loius Edet Force Headquarters Abuja, as ideas and suggestions of his able lieutenants were jettisoned, and it became a glorified management team. No contribution from them and constant interference in their departments became the order of the day. At their so called management team meetings, Tafa’s directive whether goiod or bad was final as no D.I.G ever challenged such decisions and this did not go down well with the offices and rank and file of the entire force.
Also, fraternising with all manner of people in the society did not help matters in the force as keeping to time for appointments and assignments was not in the former IGP’s dictionary. Journalists covering the police beats had to wait as much as three hours for an assignment to take place and that always put him at logger heads with newsmen. Balogun’s track record attracted some of the finest officers to work with him; his image-maker, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Chris Olakpe was always there to defend his boss when the need arose, but it soon became obvious that his boss was a bad product to market. Also his Principal Staff Officer (PSO), Solomon Arase, had to bear with his boss, inspite of all his shortcomings.
The role of the police in the 2003 general elections was also the climax of it all, as Nigerians rose in unison to call for the removal of Balogun as the IGP. But inspite of the intense criticism, the former police boss, rose stoutly to defend the police for being able to perform the wonderful feat of transiting from one civilian government to another, which had never happened in the history of Nigeria. He was also quick to brand his opponents as detractors who wanted to bring down the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo. It is his close affinity with the seat of power that gave him so much confidence that nobody could remove him from office until 2007.
.During his three years tenure, Balogun always ensured that nobody acted on his behalf, whenever he was out of the country, but in times of emergency the presidency in its wisdom, always directed Ehindero, being the most senior D.I.G to take charge as could be seen during the attack on Governor Akume in March 2004.
By early January, it had become apparent that Balogun was under financial probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) headed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police Nuhu Ribadu, who had received a deluge of petitions on the illegal activities of the former IGP.
The investigation which stated discreetly had within two days turned out to be the shocker of the year.
Balogun who never beleivd that his exit from the force was at hand is indubitably devastated.
However, the undaunting task before Ehindero is to once again rekindle the morale of the force which has once again plummeted.
The jubilation that heralded the change of baton by officers and men of the Force last Monday when Ehindero became the 22nd Inspector General of the Nigeria Police proved conclusively that Balogun had squandered the enormous goodwill he enjoyed at the beginning.
His was indeed a classical case of a fall from grace to grass
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.