The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Suleiman Abba is no stranger to controversy. Since he was appointed as the Acting Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba has made decisions many termed controversial.
In his long career in the service of the Nigerian Police Force, very little has stood him out as a controversial officer and even fewer significant events touted him as the officer destined for the high office of the IGP.
Some of his colleagues and superiors described him as a loyal and dedicated officer; others said he served meritoriously, never questioning orders and ready to do his duty.
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Below are the five controversial decisions he made during his tenure as the head of the Nigerian Police Force:
1. The withdrawal of the security detail of House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal.
Abba declared: “In view of the recent defection by the Right Hon. Aminu Waziri Tanbuwal, CFR, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress and having regard to the clear provision of section 68(1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the Nigeria Police Force, has redeployed its personnel attached to his office.”
2. He warned voters to stay off polling booths after casting their votes. This, no doubt, flouts constitutional provisions, and, in a swift response, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), assured the citizenry that it is their constitutional right to stay behind to monitor proceedings at the polling centres after casting their votes.
Following criticisms of his action, the IGP later made a clarification, saying he never banned voters from staying back to monitor the votes.
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3. The enforcement of the ‘no vehicular movement rule on governorship and House of Assembly elections in Asaba, Delta state capital, as soldiers had a running battle with motorists.
4. Redeployment of the controversial former Rivers State police commissioner Mbu James Mbu to Lagos State ahead of the general elections.
5. Abba’s silence over the banned #BringBackOurGirls rally within the Federal Capital Territory by Mr Joseph Mbu, the controversial Assistant Inspector-General of Police.
In his maiden speech at a handover ceremony at the force headquarters in Abuja, Abba had promised to observe the visions and missions of different administrations of the Nigeria police. He also promised to make a clear departure from this trend. “We will come up with visions that are not personalised. The focus of my leadership is attitudinal change, because you cannot reform an institution if you do not reform the people,” Abba said.
On August 1, 2014, Suleiman Abba was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan as the Acting IGP.
Abba was the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 7, comprising of Abuja, Kaduna and Niger states. He took over from Mohammed Abubakar, who proceeded on the statutory retirement after 35 years in public service.
Abba, a lawyer and alumnus of the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru Jos, hails from Jigawa state.
He was at various times the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department, FCT Command, Deputy Force Secretary and Commissioner of Police, Rivers state.