Police detectives have recovered no fewer than 30 vehicles belonging to the Nigeria Police Force that were appropriated by retired management officers who left the service in June 2016.
The vehicles were recovered from a former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, and seven Deputy Inspectors-General of Police who retired alongside him.
Our correspondent learnt on Sunday that 19 of the vehicles were recovered by the Special Investigation Panel (SIP), while 11 others were returned voluntarily by the retired officers.
The SIP was set up last July by the current IGP, Ibrahim Idris, to probe the disappearance of police vehicles from the parking lot at the Force headquarters in Abuja.
With the recovery of the vehicles, the SIP, headed by retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Ali Amodu, has concluded its investigation into the matter.
Some of the recovered vehicles include assorted sedans comprising three BMW cars, including a 7-series model, three Toyota Hilux pick-up vans, four Nissan pick-up vans, nine Sports Utility Vehicles consisting of two Nissan Patrols and seven Toyota Prado Landcruisers.
Also recovered were three brand new 2014 Toyota Corolla cars with registration numbers NPF 2211 D and NPF 2212D and a new Toyota Siena without a registration number.
A senior police officer familiar with the investigation stated that the former management officers cooperated with the SIP after a media report on the recovery of 19 vehicles from the former IGP.
The source said, "In all, we have recovered 30 vehicles from the former management officers. Following a newspaper report about the 19 vehicles we recovered from the former IGP, the retired DIGs who also went away with vehicles started cooperating with us and they voluntarily returned 11 vehicles, bringing the total to about 30 or so."
It was further gathered that the police returned four of the recovered vehicles to Mr. Arase "as his entitlement, as is the tradition in the police."
The former IGP had strenuously denied taking away 24 vehicles, insisting that all the vehicles bought by the police under him were distributed to the state commands and other appropriate units of the Nigeria Police Force.
He accused the police of media propaganda and challenged the Force to publish the registration numbers of the vehicles he went away with.
However, yesterday, Mr. Arase confessed to carting away official vehicles, claiming that he did it to protest the demeaning ways his successor handled the issue in public.