The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba has appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Tunji Disu as the new head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
The posting of Disu, the IGP said, is on the heels of Management’s decision to fill the leadership gap within the IRT and refocus the Unit for better service delivery.
DCP Abba Kyari, who occupied the post, was suspended at the weekend following his alleged involvement in the sharing of $1.1m loot by internet fraudstar Hushpuppi, according to an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
A statement on Monday by the Force Police Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba said: “The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc (+), NPM, fdc has today, 2nd August, 2021 approved the posting of DCP Tunji Disu as the new Head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
“The IGP has charged the new Head of the IRT to demonstrate his professional competence in his leadership of the Unit.
“He also assured citizens that the IRT will remain focused in the discharge of its duties in line with national statutes and international best practices.
“Prior to his appointment as the new Head of the IRT, DCP Tunji Disu, a former Commander of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) Lagos State, was the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Department of Operations, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
“He had also previously served at the State CID, Rivers State as the Deputy Head of the Unit. He was also a former Commander of the Nigeria Police Contingent to the African Union (AU) Peace Keeping Mission in Dafur, Sudan.
“DCP Disu holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the Lagos State University (LASU) and a Master Degree in Public Administration from the Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State.
“He has also attended several professional courses both at home and abroad: Small Arms Smuggling Training in Botswana, Internet Fraud Training at the Cambridge University, UK, Strategic Leadership Command Course at the Police Staff College, Jos, Forensic Investigations and Criminal Intelligence Course at the University of Lagos, amongst others.
“He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Nigeria Institute of Public Relations and Chattered Institute of Personnel management, amongst other professional bodies”.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered immediate suspension of DCP Abba Kyari, the Head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), from the Service of the Nigeria Police Force, pending the outcome of an ongoing internal investigations surrounding him.
The IGP, in his letter to the Police Service Commission, dated 31st July, 2021, noted that the recommendation for the suspension of the officer, is in line with the internal disciplinary processes of the Force.
In a Press Statement released by Force Police Public Relations Officer [FPRO] CP Frank Mba “The IGP further noted that the suspension is also expected to create an enabling environment for the NPF Special Investigation Panel to carry out its investigations into the weighty allegations against DCP Abba Kyari without interference”.
The statement affirms that “The suspension is without prejudice to the constitutional presumption of innocence in favour of the officer”.
The Special Investigation Panel (SIP), according to CP Mba, comprises four (4) Senior Police Officers, and is headed by DIG Joseph Egbunike, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID).
Mba said “The SIP, inter alia, is to undertake a detailed review of all the allegations against DCP Abba Kyari by the US Government as contained in relevant documents that have been availed the NPF by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)”.
“The SIP is also to obtain detailed representation of DCP Abba Kyari to all the allegations levelled against him, conduct further investigations as it deems fit, and submit recommendations to guide further actions by the Force Leadership on the matter”.
Meanwhile, the IGP has reaffirmed the commitment of the Force to the Rule of Law and assured the public of the sanctity of the probe as well as the absolute respect for the rights and privileges of the officer throughout the period of the investigations.
Earlier, reports emerged that the United States District Court for the Central District of California alleged that a suspect, Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, used Kyari to arrest and jail a co-conspirator, Chibuzo Vincent, after the latter threatened to expose an alleged $1m fraud committed against a Qatari businessman.
The Nigeria Police statement was titled, ‘Alleged Indictment Of DCP Abba Kyari: Inspector-General Of Police Orders A Review Of The Information’
It read, “Sequel to the receipt of allegations and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against one of the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, DCP Abba Kyari, the Inspector General of Police IGP Usman Alkali Baba psc (+), NPM, fdc has ordered an internal review of the allegations.
The victims were raided in the South-East and brought to detention at the IGP’S IRT office in Abuja. The Inspector-General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has been collecting at least an N1million bribes as bail before releasing South-East youths and artisans raided as members of the Indigenous People of Biafra’s Eastern Security Network.
SaharaReporters learnt from the families of the victims, who did not want their names in print to avoid police victimisation, that they paid the huge sums through their nose before securing the release of their relations.
A family source said, “Our elder brother, Emma, went to Abuja and met the IPO last week to bargain with the IPO. He was told to go and look for N1.5million and after pleading, the IPO reduced it to N1.3million. The guy pleaded again to pay N1million but the IPO refused.
“So he came back to look for the money, including borrowing. He met with the IPO on Thursday, On Friday morning, the money was withdrawn in cash. It has been taken to the IPO.”
SaharaReporters learnt that another victim at the police IRT was Chukwudi Okoro, a Shuttle Bus owner whose wife is heavily pregnant.
“By the end of today, he is likely to be left there as the only person remaining among the five because he can’t afford the N1million bribe. I just got information that the IPO has collected truly collected N1million and released Chinonso John. Unfortunately, there are many IPOs at the police team milking the innocent victims. They have turned them to cash cows. The police authorities know very well about this mess,” the source added.
SaharaReporters had on June 14 reported that one Casmir Ibegbulem, an oil worker who was arrested and detained, also was taken to Abuja and N10million was demanded as his bail.
Ibegbulem, who was labelled and paraded as an ESN member, had done an audio confession, saying he had returned to Imo State for the burial of his in-law, which was to take place on May 28 but was raided in Owerri on May 25 when he came to pick up some personal items needed for the burial.
He had been whisked away to Abuja and later paid N1.5million before his release from custody. (Sahara Reporters)
The coalition of 19 civil societies declared that Baba is unfit to lead the Nigeria Police Force and should therefore not be confirmed by the National Assembly. A coalition of civil society organisations has stated that the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has displayed unprofessionalism by ordering the Indigenous People of Biafra members to be shot dead in the South-East.
The coalition of 19 civil societies declared that Baba is unfit to lead the Nigeria Police Force and should therefore not be confirmed by the National Assembly.
The civil societies stated these in a state-of-the-country release on Saturday, adding that the police should be careful about arresting and parading innocent residents in the South-East states as IPOB members without deep investigation.
Some of the CSOs are Spaces for Change, African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, Centre for Transparency Advocacy, COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peacebuilding, Orlu Security Peace Holders Initiative, Initiative for Public Safety, Security and Educational Development in Nigeria, Public Enlightenment Projects (PEP), African Centre for Entrepreneurship and Information Development, and the Centre Against Injustice and Domestic Violence.
Others are World Impact Development Foundation, Ace & Vanguard Legal Practitioners, Centre for Community Empowerment and Poverty Eradication, The Difference Newspapers, Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development, Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights, Nde Oduko Foundation, RULAAC, Human Rights Social Development and Environmental Foundation and the Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption.
The organisations said, “We are more urgently concerned by the Inspector General of Police’s directive to police officers to enforce the President’s unconstitutional shoot at sight order and his further explicit directive that they should go after IPOB members and kill them. He also expressly asked them to ignore the rules of engagement- including observing the principle of proportionality in the use of force and firearms, with assurances that nothing will happen to them if they abuse human rights.
“Following the said IGP’s reckless, unprofessional and dangerous directive, the police in Imo State have gone all out on indiscriminate mass raids, arresting, parading and killing people labelling them IPOB without evidence. We have received disturbing reports about the invasion of markets and other public places by police officers who engage in sporadic shooting and indiscriminate arrest of young men, some of whom are stabbed with daggers and taken away in police vehicles undisclosed destinations.
“Raids and indiscriminate mass arrests of no less than 107 persons from various locations in Owerri have also been reported and kangaroo mass trials conducted in a police car park and other locations outside the courtroom based on frivolous charges and remanded in prison thereby complicating the problem of prison congestion.”
The civil societies added that the Nigeria Police has a Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement but the IGP discarded them and directed police officers to act in blatant violation of those.
They said, “Based on the Acting IGP’s reckless and dangerous utterances and directives to police officers to disregard the Code of conduct and rules of engagement, we hereby convey our opposition to his confirmation as substantive IGP. We call on the Police Council and the Senate to, in the public interest, muster the courage to decline confirmation of Acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, as substantive IGP.
“He is unfit and unsuitable to be appointed to head a country’s lead security agency. He is indeed a threat to public safety and security. We call for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the arrest of no less than 107 residents of Owerri Imo State who were also alleged to be IPOB members and arraigned on the preposterous allegation of attempts to overthrow President Buhari and Governor Hope Uzodinma.
“We also call for investigations into all other killings in Imo State by both the military and police and an end to predatory policing tactics.” (Sahara Reporters)
The Rome Statute is the international treaty that founded the International Criminal Court. Comprising of 13 Parts, it establishes the governing framework for the Court. Adopted at the Rome Conference on 17th July 1998, it came into force on 1st July 2002, thereby creating the International Criminal Court.
The Statute sets out the Court’s jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and – as of an amendment in 2010 – the crime of aggression.
Nigeria has ratified the Statute, thus making the Nigerian State and non-State actors subject to the jurisdiction of ICC. The Nigerian State means its President and his appointees, especially the heads of the security agencies, their commanders, officers and the other ranks under them. It also includes Governors and all personnels working under their authority, directly or indirectly.
Among other things, the International Criminal Court was created to end impunity for perpetrators of genocide or crimes against humanity and it’s easily implicated wherever the perpetrators are the same as the persons officially saddled with the responsibility of protecting their victims. An example will include where State actors are known to have issued orders that directly or indirectly led to extrajudicial killings or other inhumane treatment.
The Statute defines genocide, in pertinent part, as including the killings or causing serious bodily or mental harm to an ethnic or national group with the intent to destroy them in whole or in part. If other elements are met, genocide becomes easier to prove when the perpetrator is of a different ethnicity from his victims. Nigeria is a tinderbox because of its many ethnicities and the genocidal tendencies that have been driving some of its officials in the implementation of security operations when it comes to a particular ethnicity.
Crimes against humanity include the widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population through murder, extermination, torture, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law. Included also is persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, ethnic or religious grounds universally recognized as impermissible under international law.
This is where Nigerian State actors need to be very circumspect when dealing with proponents of self determination because self determination is a political opinion clearly recognized under international law.
No government official enjoys immunity from ICC prosecution for genocide or crimes against humanity and there is no statute of limitation. In plain terms, neither the Nigerian Constitution or its sovereignty, nor the passage of time will protect you. Just imagine how long it took to nab Charles Taylor.
Under the Statute, commanders and superiors are saddled with special criminal responsibilities. In particular, a military or police commander, de jure or de facto, is criminally responsible for crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction if committed by forces under his effective control or authority.
Within purview also are crimes caused by neglecting to exercise proper control over forces under him where the commander either knew or should have known that the forces were committing or soon to commit such crimes and the commander neglected to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his power to prevent them or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.
If the commander or superior officer is the one directly suborning the crime, such as in the case of Slobodan Milošević or Charles Taylor, the elements of the offense are met without more. Suborning the crime includes issuing direct orders to “shot to kill or shoot at sight”.
And for junior officers or other ranks, superior orders are not defenses to genocide or crimes against humanity. This means that when your superior officer orders you to “kill them all”, think twice before pulling that trigger.
The ICC Prosecutor shall initiate an investigation of alleged genocide or crimes against humanity upon receipt and evidentiary evaluation of information that provides a reasonable basis for the allegation.
On December 11, 2020, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has been investigating Nigeria for crimes that implicate the Rome Statute, made the following findings, amongst others:
‘Following a thorough process, I can announce today that the statutory criteria for opening an investigation into the situation in Nigeria have been met. Specifically, we have found a reasonable basis to believe that members of the Nigerian Security Forces have committed the following acts constituting crimes against humanity and war crimes: murder, rape, torture and cruel treatment; enforced disappearance; outrages upon personal dignity; intentionally directing attacks against civilian population and against individual civilians; unlawful imprisonment; persecution on political grounds; and other inhumane acts’.
Anybody who has been observing Nigeria since late 2015 would easily discern that some of the evidence examined by the ICC Chief Prosecutor included the killings at Nkpor in Anambra State, the night vigil killings in Aba, Abia State, the Onitsha head bridge killings, the killings issuing from Python Dance at Afaraukwu, Abia State and in which IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu nearly lost his life and lately the August 2020 Enugu massacre and the killing of EndSARS protesters in October 2020 in Lagos.
It’s instructive that these killings occurred from the inception of the present administration and State actors were implicated from the lowest rungs to the very top. The evidence, including visuals, is legion and unassailable. So, your guess as to who might ultimately be charged before the ICC is as good as mine. For now, the jury is still out on their identities because the developing indictment is as yet under seal.
Meanwhile, after December 2020, there have been more killings, woundings, torture and rape, including particularly at Obigbo and other locations in Rivers State and the Southeast, and lately the killings that have occurred and still occurring in the wake of the current security operations in Eastern Nigeria, code-named Operation Restore Peace which – in its implementation – is beginning to look like a misnomer.
In the midst of all these, it will be naive and foolhardy for Nigerian State actors (Federal, State and local) to believe that the ICC is not keeping tabs and building a stronger case from the quantum credible evidence mined from the many petitions streaming in from various sources.
So, for what’s worth, this humble piece is an early warning to all Nigerian officials who are – directly or indirectly – involved in any extrajudicial killings or other inhumane treatments that appear to be the order of the day in this era.
A former US Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell has condemned anti human rights rhetorics of the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, who ordered Police personnel in the South East to ignore rules of engagement in dealing with IPOB.
While calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the IGP to order in the interest of national unity, the former envoy insisted that ‘Operation Restore Peace’ and Baba’s rhetoric seemed “tailor-made to feed the revived Biafra secessionist movement and general southern and Christian fears of a Fulani-Muslim onslaught against Christians.”
Campbell made his position known in a press release on Saturday, sent to IgbereTV.
The communique reads in full…
The Nigerian government has launched Operation Restore Peace, designed to destroy the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a separatist group in support of independence for the former breakaway Republic of Biafra, and its security wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN). According to Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba, the security services are not to be constrained by human rights considerations. In comments reported in the Nigerian media, he said: “Don’t mind the media shout; do the job I command you. If anyone accuses you of human rights violation, the report will come to my table and you know what I will do. So, take the battle to them wherever they are and kill them all. Don’t wait for an order.”
“What another order are you waiting for when Mr. President had ordered you to shoot anybody carrying AK-47 rifle? Quote me, even a dead policeman can be tried and dismissed from the force and his family will not get his benefits.”
“So, don’t sit and wait for them to come; take attack to them and don’t lose your arms to criminals.”
So, the IGP is not only giving the green light to human rights violations, but also promising his protection for those who commit them. In addition, he is threatening those who might hang back with the loss of pension benefits! Usman is implying that he has the full support of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Other reporting alleges that security services are conducting house-to-house searches in Ebonyi, Imo, and Rivers states, all with large Igbo populations. Local people are saying that the security services are rounding up young men and their family members and taking them away for questioning. IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu has dubbed the police initiative “Operation Massacre Biafrans.”
Usman Baba is a northern Muslim from Yobe State—long a Boko Haram stronghold. He is a career police officer. There is nothing in his background that would suggest an understanding of southern and eastern grievances and fears of the “establishment of a Fulani Caliphate.”
Operation Restore Peace and Baba’s rhetoric would seem tailor-made to feed the revived Biafra secessionist movement and general southern and Christian fears of a Fulani-Muslim onslaught against Christians. It should be anticipated that local people will fight back viciously and the security services—as directed by Usman Baba—will respond in kind. It is to be hoped that President Buhari will repudiate Baba’s rhetoric and methods, not least for the sake of the unity of Nigeria.
The acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, on Tuesday declared war on Biafra agitators and gunmen attacking and destroying police infrastructure in the South-East and South-South regions and ordered their extermination.
Baba, who spoke on the sideline while addressing the Police Mobile Force and Special Tactical Squad of the Force in Enugu shortly after he launched Operation Restore Peace, directed policemen in the region not to adhere to the rules of engagement while dealing with Biafra secessionist groups, adding that his job was to protect them.
“Don’t mind the media shout; do the job I command you. If anyone accuses you of human rights violation, the report will come to my table and you know what I will do. So, take the battle to them wherever they are and kill them all. Don’t wait for an order.
“What another order are you waiting for when Mr. President had ordered you to shoot anybody carrying AK-47 rifle? Quote me, even a dead policeman can be tried and dismissed from the force and his family will not get his benefits.
“So, don’t seat and wait for them to come; take attack to them and don’t lose your arms to criminals,” the acting IGP said.
In an address earlier, before declaring open the operation codenamed, Operation RT – Restore Peace, which was witnessed by governors of the South-East states and heads of other security agencies, Usman stated that the operation was for the stabilisation of the security order in the geopolitical zone.
He maintained that “the time is now. Today’s launch of Operation RP by the Nigeria Police follows the directives of Mr. President to the Nigeria Police to re-evaluate and emplace new operational strategies to stem the tide of violence and secessionist agenda not only in the South-East but across the country.”
Baba added, “Indeed, the resort to terror tactics, disregard to constitutional processes and disrespect for democratic standards to advance their interests of creating an ungovernable space in the region informed the decision of the Federal Government to outlaw IPOB.”
Meanwhile, the State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, had earlier in his address, pledged the support of the South-East governors to restore peace in the zone.
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, on Tuesday, condemned the appointment of a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, as the Acting Inspector-General of Police.
The group said the injustice of the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari was responsible for the growing agitations and insecurity in the South-East.
Ohanaeze National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, stated this in an interview with The Punch.
Buhari appointed Baba, another northerner, as IGP despite pleas by Ohanaeze that the President considers a South-Easterner as the next police boss.
Baba is taking over from Mohammed Adamu, whose tenure Buhari extended for three months on February 4.
While reacting to his appointment, Ohanaeze said it was most unfortunate that the President has chosen to sideline the people of the South-East in his recent appointment of service chiefs and now in the appointment of an IGP.
Ogbonnia said, “It is unjust and unfair to sideline the South-East in the security architecture of the country. Injustice promotes insecurity; it promotes all forms of crisis and problems. With injustice, there is no peace anywhere.
“What is happening in the South-East today in the form of agitations is as a result of injustice. So, we the elders are put in a great dilemma because the younger generation is attacking us and we have been telling them to hold on, believing that the President would have a change of mind.
“We thought that the President would be concerned about the level of injustice, agitations and crises we have in the South-East and would try to ameliorate these things but unfortunately, he is not thinking towards that direction. It is most unfortunate and Ohanaeze will come up with a stronger statement.”