By Dipo Awojobi – The Acting Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has commenced investigation into the disappearance of some vehicles at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, even as he alleged the his immediate predecessor, Solomon Arase illegally took away 24 vehicles on retirement.
Mr. Idris said the missing vehicles were still in the premises of the Louis Edet House, Police headquarters at least one week before his appointment as the police helmsman.
The Acting IGP who disclosed these to newsmen in Abuja, Sunday, said a probe has also been launched into irregular promotion in the Force.
He said preliminary investigations have revealed that his predecessor, Solomon Arase, alone took 24 of the vehicles, while some of the retired Deputy Inspectors-General of Police also went away with as many as they wanted.
Mr. Idris said letters have already been sent to Arase and the DIGs, adding that the former IGP was entitled to only four vehicles.
“A week before I was announced, when you look through my office window, you could see so many cars, but the cars all disappeared when I came in.
“What I did in that was to assign a directive to the Special Investigative Unit for them to investigate all vehicles’ purchases and donations to the police in the last three years as well as their positions.
“When I took over, there were no vehicles.
“I discovered that the last IG went away with 24 vehicles, including two BMWs.
“The DIGs some took seven, others eight.
“And they left me with an old vehicle. Even the one I follow the President with, the last time I went for an engagement, the President asked what I was doing with that kind of vehicle.
“The headlight has changed colour, which means it was parked for long under the rain.
“But the new ones that were bought, including an Armoured BMW 7 series, he took them away.
“So, I wrote to him and reminded him of the police rule.
“When a policeman retires as IG, DIG, AIG or CP, he is entitled to some vehicles.
“And so, he should take his entitlement and return the extra.
“I believe four vehicles are enough for an average person.
“What does one need 24 vehicles for?
Idris equally told newsmen that he was already looking into irregularities in promotion.
He said everything possible would be done to ensure fairness, adding that he also suffered such injustice as he spent five years as Commissioner of Police, while some of his juniors were promoted above him.
He stated: “Before I travelled to Maiduguri, that was last week to be precise, I got a petition from the House of Representatives on police promotion.
“Several police officers are not happy with the promotion.
“I have said it in my inauguration speech that the police will be ran as a democratic institution-responsible, accountable and representative police.
“That is the police that Nigerian people need.
“Because we are supposed to be responsive, the yearnings of the people have to be realised.
“The issue of promotion has a way of dampening one’s spirit. I know how it feels.
“I was CP for five years while some of my colleagues who became CP were made AIGs within two years. So, I know how it feels.
“We have discussed it before I travelled. The new management will investigate the recent promotions.
“We will constitute a panel to see if the promotions were done in line with the Police Service Commission rules.
“This is a constitutional issue. There is a policy and we need to find out if these promotions were done in accordance with laid down principles,” he said.
On allegations of contract inflation, corruption and mismanagement of police investments levelled against the administration of Mr. Arase, the acting IGP said the outcome of the investigation set up would determine if a probe was necessary.
He said: “This is because every policeman from myself to the last Constable contributes to these investments.
“These are people’s properties.So, I will make those units transparent and accountable.
“I have to know if these money are utilised with some measure of morality and accountability.
“So, we will know what action to take based on the audit report.
“On the issue of corruption, based on principle, if there are complains, we will investigate.
“I have heard so many rumours, but as a policeman, we work based on evidence. “We will investigate when there are evidences,he added.