By Abdulrahman A. Abdulrauf Abuja
Fresh facts have emerged on how the Acting Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotu Idris, the Controller General of Immigrations Service, Mohammed Babandede and his Nigerian Prisons Service counterpart, Ahmed Ja’faru were appointed, Blueprint has reliably gathered.
Multiple sources within the Presidency and security circles revealed that rather than tribal and ethnic considerations being bandied in some quarters, the trios’ consideration was ‘strictly on merit.’
Idris hails from the North central state of Niger, while both Babandede and Ja’faru come from the North west states of Jigawa and Kebbi respectively. The IGP was appointed in June, while the duos of Babandede and Ja’faru came into office in May.
Our reporter gathered that of the 13 nominees put forward, cutting across the six geo-political zones of the country, the current IG emerged top, following reports submitted by the Department of State Service.
“The recommendations for the appointment of IGP came from the Police Service Commission and the Police Council. And this was n ot after the DSS had submitted its raw report on the 13 candidates to the President since the President is the chairman of the Police Council,” the source informed.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is a system person. As for the appointment of the new IGP, 13 police officers were shortlisted. The 13 nominees cut across every part of the country.
The choice of the IGP was a complex thing, it is a constitutional matter and anybody could challenge a decision on it if not properly handled. It is solely the responsibility of the Police Service Commission and the Police Council and not any other organ of government,” it was further revealed.
On the choice of the immigration and NPS bosses, another source pointed out that “the thinking within government circle is that, there has to be a radical and sharp departure from the past, whereby officers with just three or six months to retirement, are picked as the institutions’ helmsmen.
“To this end, the government set up a panel of about seven people with some terms of reference. The nominees were invited. And in tandem with tradition, the security report was put together on each and every one of them. So, the committee, further to this, conducted some kind of assessment on each of them.
“As for the Immigration Service, the present acting CG, who is from Jigawa state, came top in the assessment, while Ahmed Ja’faru from Kebbi state also came first, with two others from the South west geo-second coming second and third.
“But in view of the complexities associated with appointments of this nature, some government officials looked at the implications of having the two appointments from not just the North, but from the North-west. So, for balancing, they asked that the second place candidate from the South-west be considered as the CG of Prison Service.
“But there was merit problem in the choice of the CG of Prison. The gap between the first and second candidates who vied for the CG of Prison Service was 50. Although the second candidate from the South-west was recommended as the CG purely on ethnic basis, the President, being a system person, decided to settle for Ja’faru on merit,” explained a top security source.
On the furore generated by the appointments, the source maintained, “yes, there may be some noise here and there, but it remains a fact that the president has the prerogative to appoint, more so when such appointments are based strictly on merit.