President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday sacked the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba.
Abba, who became IG less than nine months ago, was replaced by a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, in acting capacity
A statement by Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, gave no reason for the sacking of Abba.
The statement read, “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has relieved the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, of his appointment and duties with immediate effect.
“President Jonathan has also appointed a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, as Acting Inspector-General of Police, also with immediate effect.
“Until his appointment as Abba’s replacement, Arase was the Head of the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department.
“Mr. Arase holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Law as well as Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Political Science and Strategic Studies. He is also a Fellow of the Nigerian Defence College.”
The PUNCH however learnt that the controversial governorship election in Rivers State was the main reason responsible for Abba’s removal.
It was also learnt that the Presidency and the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party were unhappy with the sacked IG for the way he handled the March 28 presidential election.
The PDP and its presidential candidate, Goodluck Jonathan, lost the election to the All Progressives Congress and its candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.
The PDP also performed badly in the governorship election, a development it believed was traceable to Abba’s action.
A reliable government source in Abuja said the Presidency did not only feel that Abba failed to mobilise enough men for the PDP during the polls, it believed that he was “tactically working for the opposition (the APC).”
For example, the source explained that Abba deployed over 2,800 riot policemen in Rivers State on April 4, a few days to the conduct of the governorship election. The team was led by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin.
This action, according to him, was taken by the sacked IG to have negatively affected an earlier arrangement by the Presidency and the PDP for the conduct of the governorship election in the state.
It was also gathered that when Ogunsakin arrived in the state, he called a meeting of all the governorship candidates but that of the PDP, Nyesom Wike, refused to attend.
Wike, who is now the governor-elect of Rivers State, was said to have told the AIG that he did not have confidence in him and therefore would not attend the meeting.
A highly placed police source told one of our correspondents that a few minutes later, Ogunsakin received a call from the Presidency, ordering him to leave the state “immediately.”
He said, “The AIG didn’t sleep in the state as he left immediately. I think he slept in one of the neighbouring states.”
The riot policemen were also ordered to be “demobilised” and not be allowed to be part of the security arrangement for the governorship election.
Infuriated party leaders from the South-South and across the country were also said to have complained to the Presidency about the conduct of Abba, who they accused of working for the APC.
Abba was also accused of not giving enough protection to the seven PDP members of Ekiti State House of Assembly opposed to the move by the 19 APC lawmakers to impeach Governor Ayodele Fayose.
A member of the PDP National Working Committee, who also spoke with one of our correspondents, said, “You can see that the IG has forgotten that President Jonathan and his party are still in control till May 29 and that he should not be too eager to satisfy the incoming government.”
It was said that the Presidency decided to yield to the pressure from the PDP and a “powerful woman” from Rivers State on the need to relieve Abba of his job.
When contacted on the sacking of Abba, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, said anyone asking about it (sacking) “should go to the President.”
“The question on whether our complaint led to the sacking of the police boss should be directed to the President,” Metuh added.
When one of our correspondents visited the Force Headquarters in Abuja at about 3.20pm on Tuesday, one of Abba’s aides said, “The IG is not aware of his sacking. No one has informed him and he is in the office working.”
Also, a PDP leader, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the condition of anonymity, alleged that Abba failed to act according to the ‘script’ prepared for him by the Presidency.
He claimed that Abba was believed to have approached the APC leaders to broker a deal which would elongate his tenure.
“Apart from that, immediately Buhari won, Abba threw caution to the winds and negotiated with the APC to help them with the governorship election to enable him to remain in office after Jonathan’s exit.
“He began treating Buhari like the President even while the President was still in office,” he added without substantiating his claim.tweet Follow @@metrolens01