Why Hafiz Ringim fell, his lackluster tenure

On November 4, 2010, Mr Hafiz Ringim came on board  as the 15th helmsmen of the Nigeria Police Force, having served in acting capacity for two months. Like his predecessors, Ringim highlighted the curbing of violent crime as one major aspect of his five-point agenda.
But barely 14 months into his assumption of office, crime in the country undoubtedly took a  sophisticated and fierce dimension, with the introduction of dynamites and combustive substances by the dreaded Boko Haram sect, a development that begun to threaten the internal security of Nigeria.


Ringim: Ex Police IG
This was aside incessant kidnappings in the eastern part of the country which spread to other parts of Nigeria.
Under Ringim’s watch, Nigerians virtually lost hope in the Police Force’s ability to carry out its constitutional obligation of protecting lives and property of the citizenry, following its inability to checkmate the excesses of the Boko Haram sect, which usually left in its wake, the death of several innocent and hapless Nigerians as well as the wanton destruction of property worth millions of Naira.
Chronicle of Boko Haram attacks
The incident that signalled the danger ahead and glaring inability of the Police to  contain the Boko Haram sect occurred first in Benue, where a police post was blown off, resulting in the death of  some policemen, an action the dreaded sect described as protest against Police killing of its member.
Not done with the damage, the sect in September 2010, attacked Bauchi prison and released some of the prisoners, some of whom were believed to be their members. Again, the Islamic radical sect blew the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camp on Biu road, Maiduguri, Borno State, leaving scores dead and injured.
Although security agencies, including the Police, assured Nigerians that there was no need to panic as they were on top of the situation, that never assuaged Nigerian’s trust in them.
In fact, barely 48 hours after Ringim issued quit notice to the  Islamic sect, an explosion which rocked Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, the sect struck again in a significant show of outright disregard for the Police chief who escaped death by whiskers in the suicide bomb explosion which shook the seven-storey, Louis Edet House, Police Headquarters, leaving all the windows on the northern side of the building facing the car park shattered and in shreds.
The bombings are countless, with several others in the northern parts of the country among which was the Christmas day explosion in a church  which sparked up agitations by Christian leaders. The recent  attacks in Kano, witnessed the highest number of casualty amongst whom was a reporter with Channels Television.
Escape of Kabir Sokoto
But the height of what could be described as the Nigeria Police Force complacency was the escape of one of the Boko Haram suspects, Kabiru Umar, alias Kabir Sokoto in the full glare of Commissioner of Police , Zakari Biu, in whose custody the most wanted bomber was.
At this stage, it was suspected  that the Police High Command was either abating activities of the sect or was incompetent and had virtually lost grip of its footing in the area of security.
Then, came the first lash for the then IG, following a query on the escape as well as the house arrest of CP Zakari Biu. This also followed outcry by prominent members of the public for Ringim’s sack, as a way of sanitizing the Police High Command.
Rather than an outright sack, Ringim who was billed to retire from active service  between February and March 2012, was reportedly forced into  mandatory retirement.
Aside the incessant bomb blasts that characterised Ringim’s tenure, the country during his tenure was also discovered to have been plunged into a high degree of insecurity and crime.
Grievances by Police men
Vanguard’s investigation revealed that most senior police officers were not in good term with the out-gone IG following what they described as his display of favoritism. For instance, some of the senior policemen accused Ringim of positioning his loyalists in choicest commands, zonal commands and even at Divisional levels.
The unfortunate ones in the rank of DPOs, Area Commanders, Commissioners of Police, Assistant Inspector-General of Police who were not his loyalists, were allegedly forcefully deplored from their beats and replaced by his loyalists. Most of his loyalists, as reliably gathered, also enjoyed promotions while others who were long overdue were denied.
This action, as reliably gathered, made some of the aggrieved policemen unhappy, as a result of which they allegedly did not carry out their duties to the best of their abilities. Their actions reportedly also  stalled the IG’s attempted move to restructure the Nigeria Police Force in terms of operations.
Killing of Policemen in Badagry
Another major  incident that sparked off policemen anger was Ringim’s position in the Police/Army clash in  Badagry, Lagos, last year, where the Badagry Divisional Police Officer, its Divisional Crime Officer, the Operation Officer and other policemen were murdered in cold blood by suspected soldiers from the Ibereko Barracks.
The height of policemen anger was attributed to Ringim’s utterances, where they described him as being insensitive to the plight of his men.
 Ringim’s lackluster tenure
Sources at the Louis Edet House told Vanguard the embattled Inspector- General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim was over whelmed by the situation he found him self and was unable to respond with creative strategies.
Vanguard could recall an instance on October 8, 2011 when a group of security and intelligence experts briefed the former IGP on how to improve the operational efficiency of the Nigerian Police Force especially in partnering with the public to tackle the Boko Haram threats.
They told the sacked IGP of the various methods of producing Improvised Explosive Devices IEDs and the vulnerable spots that the terrorists would attack to get the desired impact. Unfortunately, Mr. Ringim never responded and virtually all the intelligence reports fed the former IGP came to pass.
A Senior Police Office in Force headquarter told Vanguard yesterday that the situation in the police is that no matter how brilliant you are or how innovative you want to be, the Command structure in the Police would not allow you to take action without the authorization of your boss, no body could remind the IGP of any issue.
According to sources, “the former IGP was less creative and responsive to issues concerning operational capabilities of NPF, even when miscreants were killing Police men and attacking police infrastructure, the former IGP did nothing to change the operational focus of the Force.
“Neither was he receptive to ideas to change the way the Police went about their duties. Ringim’s lackluster tenure in tackling the terrorist activities of the sect was worsened by the escape of Boko Haram kingpin, Alhaji Kabiru Umar, alias Sokoto, from Police custody.”
Sources said Ringim who is due for retirement officially, in the next few weeks, has lost face with the office of the National Security Adviser and his bosses .  Since the bomb attack at the Police Headquarters on June 16, 2011, the only visible change was the blocking of a portion of the road passing through Louis Edet House, causing inconveniences to the public while the Boko Haram boys were having a field day killing innocent citizens.
The out going IGP along with Commissioner of Police Zakari Biu, under whose custody Umar was kept prior to his escape and sundry police officers connected with the event are being quizzed at a military formation in Asokoro District, Abuja. Aside sacking Ringim, the President also established a Special Committee, headed by the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mr. Parry Osayande to oversee the urgent reorganization of the Nigeria Police Force.

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