When the Police High Command announced the deployment of Joseph Mbu from Zone 7 Abuja to Zone 2, Lagos, those of us interest in Police activities knew that the Assistant Inspector General of Police was in for a battle. We were not disappointed. Shortly after the announcement, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, All Progressives Congress (APC) spokesman in Lagos told the Press that Mbu was on a mission to deliver Lagos State to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). From Abuja, Mbu replied that he would respond to the APC allegation at the appropriate time. We are waiting.
As expected, Mbu was greeted with an avalanche of insinuations in Lagos. Less than 10 days after assuming office, he was in the news for detaining policemen and an operator at the Lekki toll gate. The screaming headlines reported that the victims were detained for five days because they asked Mbu to pay toll fees.
Oba Akiolu of Lagos, a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police was quoted as saying that nobody would intimidate Lagosians. Ironically, the AIG had been with the Oba a day earlier in his palace and they had a healthy father-to-son chat. On hearing about the toll gate saga, the Oba pleaded with Mbu to release those detained. They were immediately released.
Even the policemen who did not know that they should pay compliments to a senior officer when they saw him were equally released within 24 hours on the intervention of the Oba of Lagos. But as expected, the APC Lagos went to town calling Mbu unprintable names.
The ruckus had hardly died down when Mbu came into the news again. This time, for reportedly ordering the shooting of 20 civilians for every policeman killed. Again, Mbu was painted as uncivilised and barbaric. One Mr. Debo Adeniran, Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, capped it up in an interview with the Sunday Punch of February 22, blaming the Police authorities for promoting Mbu instead of reprimanding him for his lacklustre performance as Commissioner of Police in Oyo, Rivers states and the FCT. He threatened that, “if the excesses of Mbu are not brought under check, we may be forced to come out in street protests and write petitions to the international community to drive home our point.”
Mbu is no stranger to street protests. He had more than enough doses of government-sponsored protests against him in Rivers State. Debo should find out the result: more persons came out in solidarity with Mbu after such protests.
Those who vilify Mbu know so little of him. And the media has been most unfair to him. They swallow hook line and sinker whatever garbage is fed them by those desperate to protect their self interests. Hardly is time taken to cross check the stories.
The best judge of an employee’s character is his employer. And organisational best practices, especially in the police and military, can never be determined by public protests.
Mbu is a refined gentleman and professional officer. His ethical standard is impeccable and unassailable. As DPO, he received high commendations at Potiskum, Yobe State. As Area Commander, he received an award as the best Area commander in Delta State with a cash reward of N500,000 from then Governor, Chief James Ibori.
As Director, Directorate of Police Education, he gave a face lift to all police school facilities in the country, which engendered high academic standards. He also got books worth over N20million from the United States of America for police schools and colleges in Nigeria. He instilled discipline in the Police Mobile Force as Commissioner and gave face lift to dilapidated infrastructure.
The Oyo State House of Assembly honoured him with a valedictory session for stamping out criminals from the state in the six month he served as Commisioner.
In terms of crime control, infrastructural development, personnel motivation and repair of vehicles, his records in Oyo State remain unmatched.
As Rivers State CP, Mbu refurbished six Armoured Personnel Carriers, 26 patrol vehicles and completely renovated the CP’s quarters. The Rivers State command headquarters at Moscow Road, wear a new look, thanks to him.
Mbu is a recipient of the IGP’s Medal of Courage Award. Besides several others, he was also honoured as the BEST CRIME BURSTING POLICE CHIEF IN AFRICA by Security Watch Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2013. The Rivers State Police Command under him was given award as the Most Innovative Police Command in Nigeria. In October 2014 he was a recipient of the Accra-based Be-Great Security and Intelligence Academy for Ethical Policing and Professionalism.
It is so unfortunate that the police hardly defend themselves against the tyranny of the public. People make comments and engage in acts that build a wall between them and the public despite desperate attempts by the police to promote police relations community. And it is rather appalling that a section of Lagos press will publish jaundiced and fabricated tales of people who only want to protect their personal interests.
If Mbu keeps quiet in the face of accusations, it is because he is a gentleman and a thoroughbred professional officer. If you add the facts that Governor Ajumobi of Oyo State holds him in very high regards, and the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomole wrote a personal letter of commendation to him after supervising elections in Edo State, then the APC is crying wolf where it doesn’t exist. Both Governors are of the APC.
Hon. Austen Yong is a publisher and National organising secretary of the Police Community Relations Committee, Nigeria.