A day after he was sacked by President Goodluck Jonathan, former Inspector-General of Police, IGP Suleiman Abba yesterday handed over to his successor, Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase.
The event took place at the Police Headquarters, Abuja.
In his handover speech, Abba congratulated his successor, stressing that Arase’s appointment is a well deserved one, not only for the Police Force, but for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Abba said: “I wish you well and expect you to do better than what you met. God gives and He takes. In me He gave the leadership of the police of this country and I thank President Goodluck Jonathan for my appointment and for also seeing me out at this time because I believe God knows the best. I want to move on with my life. I want to appeal to those we have offended due to lack of proper judgment for them to have an understanding of policing globally.
“For those who feel deeply offended, find a place in your heart to forgive me. It is God that judges. To my colleagues, you have seen it all. We started this journey when Nigeria was preparing for its historic electoral process. I thank the stakeholders for not only making the 2015 general elections a reality but also credible. I am happy we had peace and credibility in our electoral process.
“I want to remind the new IGP that it is not over yet. We have re-run elections in Abia, Imo and Taraba states. Please, give him the support in those re-run elections. One thing I boast of is the attitudinal change, respect for human rights of our officers and men during the polls. We have laid a foundation for credible elections and I hope that one day, we will see a complete change in the attitude of every policeman in Nigeria,” he said.
In his response, Arase declared that the police under his leadership would not tolerate any act of electoral violence in Saturday’s re-run governorship elections in Taraba, Imo and Abia states.
He also warned that unrepentant felons that might want to test his will would be decisively dealt with.
Arase, the 18th Police Chief, said: “I must however re-emphasise that as a nation, we have had enough of electoral violence. Therefore, under my leadership, we shall work closely with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and other strategic stakeholders to ensure that such acts will not only be defined as intolerable, perpetrators will be identified, isolated and brought to deserved justice to act as a deterrence. To the unrepentant felons that may want to put our common will to test, therefore, the message is being relayed here loud and clear that in securing the law abiding citizens, we shall also not hesitate to deploy our potent assets to deal firmly and decisively with deviants.”
“Let me use this opportunity to quickly remind you that aside our routine operations, we have within the short-term two major national assignments where our professional expertise and commitment will once again be subjected to national and international scrutiny. First is the conduct of governorship elections in areas where they were declared inconclusive by INEC in Imo, Abia and Taraba states. The second is the delivery of hitch-free presidential, governorship and national/state assembly inauguration ceremonies at federal and state levels,” he said.
Arase promised that the police have the operational capacity to ensure the success of both exercises, stressing that he was not unmindful of the possible security threats that some lawless individuals might attempt to pose during the makeup polls.
“Consequently, while the unique intelligence assets of the Force will be deployed to proactively support our operational plans, there shall also be massive deployment of men and materials to the affected areas in order to secure the law-abiding citizens, prevent social disorder, and create a secure environment for the qualified electorates to exercise their franchise.
“I will ensure that the AIGs and CPs that will be deployed for the election duties are empowered enough to ensure the success of their operations. However, in line with the principle of ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’, such senior officers should be prepared to be accountable for their actions while the exercise lasts,” he stated.
Arase also called on political actors to assist the police and other law enforcement agents in sustaining the gains recorded in Nigeria’s democratic journey, stressing that politics is a game guided by rules and it behooves on politicians to play the game by the rules.
He assured Nigerians that he was mindful of their yearnings for a policing system that will not only assure them of their safety, but treat them with civility and hold their human rights sacred.
Arase acknowledged the vast experience of his predecessor, ex-IGP Suleiman Abba, as well as his exceptional leadership qualities, which manifested in his trademark component, humility and the respect and courtesy with which he treats members of his management team throughout his tenure.

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