The Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has claimed that the past IGP, Solomon Arase went away with 24 police vehicles upon retiring from service.
In a statement made to journalists at a press conference in Abuja on Sunday, July 17, Mr. Idris said, “A week before I was announced IG when you look through my office window, you could see so many cars. But the cars all disappeared when I came in.”
“When I took over, there were no vehicles. I discovered that the last IG went away with 24 vehicles, including two BMWs. The DIGs some took seven, others eight. And they left me with an old vehicle.”
Mr. Idris said that he asked the former IG to return the excess cars.
“So, I wrote to him and reminded him of the police rule. When a policeman retires as IG, DIG, AIG or CP, he is entitled to some vehicles. So, he should take his entitlement and return the extra. I believe four vehicles are enough for an average person. What does one need 24 vehicles for?”
The new head of the Nigerian Police mentioned that he had created a special investigative unit that would look into all vehicles’ purchases in the last three years. Mr. Idris will also be investigating irregularities in promotion in the police force to ascertain if the Police Service Commission rules were followed to the letter.
He was particularly determined to tackle the issue as he claimed he had been a victim of the promotion irregularities, recalling that he spent five years as Commissioner of Police, while some of his colleagues were made Assistant Inspector Generals (AIGs) with two years.
“This is a constitutional issue,” he said.
According to The Vanguard, a source close to Mr. Arase said the former IGP is “the embodiment of a professional officer who will not stoop so low to confiscate operational equipment which he fought for the police to have, into personal use”
“In this era of anti-corruption crusade which Arase fought in the Police force in all ramifications,” he was quoted as saying, “how can the same Arase turn around to soil his integrity built over the years with operational vehicles.”
At the press conference, Mr. Idris narrated an exchange which he had with the President who asked, “what I was doing with that kind of vehicle.” Describing the said vehicle, Mr. Idris said, “The headlight has changed colour, which means it was parked for long under the rain. But the new ones that were bought, including an Armoured BMW 7 series, he took them away.”
Mr. Arase denied the allegation, describing it as a spiteful propaganda.
He urged the acting IG to focus on confronting the security challenges facing the country instead of wasting time on “media propaganda.”’
According to The Punch, the former head of police was quoted as saying, “What am I going to do with 24 cars? Do I want to open a car shop? This is a malicious accusation. There are ways of verifying issues rather than engaging in media propaganda.”