IT has been said that to whom the Gods found favour in, no man can change his destiny. This biblical acronym manifested glaringly, when news of the demotion of the acting Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Imohim Edgal, rented the air. In fact, the rumour which went viral elicited mixed feelings amongst Lagosians who have been enjoying tremendous relief and nursing high hopes based on the massive achievements recorded by the new police boss, just a few months after he assumed duties.
Fear and trepidation
It was an admixture of fear and trepidation as both members of the public and policemen stood in groups, wondering the next line of action. Not minding the turn of events, the police boss simply went ahead with his daily schedule after answering numerous calls from friends and concerned citizens over the ugly development.
Commissioner of Police, Lagos, Mr. Imohimi Edgal
Earlier efforts made for clarifications from the Chairman of Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro met brick walls as he vociferously claimed ignorant of the development. The Public relations Officer of the Commission, Ikechukwu Ani, was also in a dilemma as reporters bombarded his phone with calls with a view to ascertaining the veracity of the story but he simply said he was yet to be briefed.
The first sign of a flop came from the police spokesman, Jimoh Moshsood, who initially, pleaded for anonymity but later changed his mind and stated unequivocally that he should be quoted. He said in unmistakable words: “Imohim Edgal is still the acting Commissioner of Polcie, Lagos state. The PSC has the power to appoint, promote and discipline officers. But they don’t have the power to demote. They can only demote an officer after the Force disciplinary committee has looked into what the officer has done and then recommend him for discipline. They can only authenticate or authorise what the police take to them. In this case, CP Edgal has not committed any disciplinary offence and the Force disciplinary committee has not recommended him for reduction. They cannot demote him and they have no such power. Nigeria Police Force can exist without Police Service Commission, PSC, but PSC cannot exist without NPF.”
This bold assertion was like the cannon fodder that propelled other pungent reactions, both from Lagos State government and, the least expected of all, Dr. Mike Okiro, the Chairman of the same commission that issued the statement demoting the Lagos police boss. Ironically, the statement was signed on behalf of Okiro by the Permanent Secretary of the commission, Mr. M.F Istifaanus, and it quoted that the decision was taken at the end of the plenary meeting of the commission on September 27 and 28, 2017. Okiro whose position earlier appeared unclear later was firm in disassociating himself and the commission from the controversial letter signed by the Permanent Secretary.
He stated that he was in the meeting the Permanent Secretary claimed the decision was taken but they never took such decision. The development was a pointer to discernible inner bickering in the commission which must have led to the discordance in their tone. Worse still are suspicions that the centre could no longer hold in the commission as Okiro himself attested to the fact that the Commissioner who was holding brief for him was not in the know about the controversial statement. This should prompt a deeper investigation of the circumstances that led to this national disgrace and why, in the first place, it was allowed to fester to almost a damaging extent.
Sources hinted that while the drama was being played by both the police and PSC, the presidency was watching with keen interest to see where the carrot would dangle towards. This is because the lingering power play and bad blood existing between both vital organs is no longer news. What is definitely new is the evolving drama inside the commission which points to the sordid fact that a house divided against it self can no longer stand.
Security watchers are of the opinion that what played out must be a lingering and long nurtured outburst which must have grown wings with an external intervention from interested parties in the office of, especially, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State which to a large number of interested parties, is like the cash cow to occupiers of the position. However, what they woefully failed to take into cognisance is the tenacity of purpose and achievements recorded by Acting Cp Edgal within this short period he assumed leadership of the command.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the gigantic steps he took on assumption of duties and the massive achievements recorded speak volumes and this must have prompted the positive reaction of not just police authorities in Abuja but also in Lagos state government which rose in unison and pronounced him their anointed candidate. This was widely exhibited by the tumultuous welcome that heralded Imohimi Edgar the next day as he rode into the State police command headquarters, Ikeja to continue with his duties.
As soon as his escort car entered the command, policemen, in unison, came out with their rifles to salute his arrival with ovation. The firing that ensued lasted for almost 30 minutes as jubilant policemen and women sang uproariously and danced round the arena thanking God for saving their hero from the palace coup. It took long before CP Edgal personally pleaded with his men to seize fire as it nearly degenerated to the extent that the falcon could no longer recognise the falconer.