In an audacious move, the Nigeria Police on Saturday refuted claims by Presidency officials that President Muhammadu Buhari had queried the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, for his alleged disobedience to a presidential directive ordering him to relocate to Benue State in the aftermath of the New Year day massacre in the state.
“The IGP was not queried,” Jimoh Moshood, newly promoted Assistant Commissioner of Police and Force Public Relations Officer, said firmly to THISDAY on phone, adding: “There is very clear issue on that, that he was not queried by the President.”
The president had, after the murder of 73 people by suspected herdsmen in Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State on New Year Day, ordered the police boss to relocate to the troubled state to stem the killings and bring the tense situation under control.
But the president was told by the Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, and elders of the state during his condolence visit to Makurdi, the state capital, last week, that the police boss disobeyed his directive, saying Idris never spent a night in the state.
Rather, the IGP was said to have spent only a day in Benue, relocating to neighbouring Nasarawa State, from where he subsequently returned to Abuja.
“I did not know that the IG did not stay in the state. I am getting to know this at this meeting. I am quite surprised,” a visibly embarrassed Buhari told his distraught hosts, who were on the boil for what they called less than caring attitude of the president that was visiting the state more than two months after the incident.
Buhari’s comment attracted severe criticisms from many Nigerians who felt that the president was not in charge of his responsibilities, giving room for the disobedience of his orders by his appointees, like the IGP.
Many Nigerians had also called on the president to sack the IGP following the revelation.
Last Tuesday, Idris was an early morning caller at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where presidential spokespersons said he was queried over his alleged disobedience to the presidential order to relocate to Benue State.
“Pres @MBuhari today summoned the Inspector-General of Police to explain his flouting of the presidential order to remain in Benue State. The President has also asked for a comprehensive report on Police Operations in the affected States, after which further decisions will be made. We would like to restate our determination to ensure that the attacks and killings are brought to an end, and perpetrators brought to justice,” an official twitter handle of the president read.
Relying on this twit many Nigerians believed that the IGP had been queried and that he was preparing his response.
However, on Saturday when THISDAY asked the police spokesperson for an update on the presumed query, he rebutted the claim.
“Anybody that said the IGP was queried by the president should bring the copy of the query, let us display it,” Moshood said.
He argued that those speculating that the IGP had been queried by the president were angling to cause disharmony and disaffection, with the intension to distort facts.
Moshood told THISDAY that since the presidential visit to the state, security of lives and property of the people had improved.