Hafiz Ringim: When sack is not enough?
By Ikenna Emewu
Saturday January 28, 2012
With the removal of IGP Hafiz Ringim this week, it means the lobby of his men for his continued stay, as we heard never cut ice.
The water of his tenure after past lapses got ultimately muddied over the escape of the Boko Haram major suspect from his custody. As the chief cop that had headed the Nigeria Police since September 2010, Ringim made a full circle in incompetence and poor policing with that last act.
The former number one police officer acquired in his career days the reputation most police officers might be too reluctant to emulate. When it comes to role model or standards setting, hairs would split endlessly on what manner of policing Ringim actually entrenched in his career record – for himself, the Nigeria Police and the nation.
Leadership in Nigeria has remained a business for poor showing, but Ringim took that quality some notches higher with his faltering all through the years. But because the race is not to the swift as the great book wrote, even the failings of Ringim never stalled his making it to the top of his career. He possibly proved right the entrenched truth that even for one who rides on the back of patronage and favouritism, it takes just more than lame and subjective considerations to sustain such favours.
A popular saying is that grace or favour takes one to the pinnacle but competence sustains him/her there. That means a legatee of favours should take cognizance of the fact that he should also drag himself off the seat of retardation and favour himself with efficiency.
Hafiz Abubakar Ringim, a native of Ringim Local Government Area of Jigawa State joined the Nigeria Police as Cadet Inspector on March 1, 1977 and started his service in Kano State. From Kano he hit the Alagbon Command with reputation for investigation from where he was deployed to head the Criminal Intelligence Bureau (CIB) in Plateau State, as Deputy Superintendent of Police.
Ringim returned to Kano years later to head the 9th Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadron and later the Police Mobile Force Training College in Maiduguri, at the Gwoza Camp. When he got promoted to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police, he returned to Alagbon once again at the Interpol in Ikoyi, Lagos as second-in-command, a section he later headed.
As Commissioner of Police, eventually, he controlled the command in three states, starting with Adamawa, Osun and later Bayelsa. It was in his days in Bayelsa the forces that brought him to the top job were incubated.
While there, the controversies that bedeviled the former governor of the state, Dieprieye Alamieyeseigha broke. The facts are that Ringim was deep into the management of the security operations that later arrested Alams and stopped him from returning to the Creek Haven in Yenagoa on his dramatic return from overseas.
While Ringim’s job aided Alams’ loss, it in contrast laid the foundation for the coming to power of the deputy, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who providence with time threw up as Nigeria’s president. As Jonathan grew in his vocation of politics, so did Ringim in policing. Three years after he was promoted an AIG, he was posted to head the Zone 9 of the Nigeria Police in Umuahia in 2009. From there, while Jonathan ascended power as substantive president to complete President Umar Yar’Adua tenure, Ringim reaped to the fullest the goodwill Jonathan owed him and was appointed IGP on September 8, 2010. Whether that was meritorious or compensatory was later to unfold.
As per luck to rise, Ringim had it all to himself. It is possible not only luck brought Ringim this far. But if hard work and dedication did to a point, at that point dedication left him, he never reconciled with it. He seemed to have hit the highway of luck, connections and in the process spawned incompetence and questionable performances.
While he served in Bayelsa as the chief police officer, the Niger Delta militants seized the day from his grip. They paraded the streets without let, did as they pleased and had none to question their reign. It could be a coincidence or something just more than that that when Ringim was in charge in Zone 9 that, his charge was confined to his office on Bende Road, Umuahia while kidnappers headed by the dreaded Osisikankwu took charge of the larger Abia and other states under Ringim’s policing jurisdiction. Ironically, just few months after Ringim left Umuahia, the spirit called Osisikankwu that was beyond arrest was neutralized.
And to crown his flaws and failings, some days after he had visited the Boko Haram-infested North East and boasted that their days were over, Boko Haram brought its terror to Ringim’s office. First time in the history of the Nigeria Police, office of the IGP was bombed by terrorists on June 16 last year. That was not enough to wake up Ringim from his slumber as the bombers took a swipe in his face once again two months after on August 24 by bombing the UN Building in the same Abuja. Before these two, there had been bombings in Abuja at the Abacha Barracks on Christmas Eve of 2010.
Ringim’s tenure as the head cop witnessed the worst spectre of security threat in the nation’s history with bombing every other day in the north and hundreds killed with none prosecuted or just few without real links arrested and later released. It got so bad that a certain Tishau granted a live TV interview in Nigeria that he was a Boko Haram leader and once told Ringim in his office the person that masterminded the bombing of this office. He said on the day he was hosted by Ringim, he used the chief cop’s phone to call and discuss with the Force Headquarters bombing mastermind.
After that discussion via a known phone number, what Ringim did about the attacker is yet to be heard by Nigerians. And in all these terrible errors, the president never mooted dropping Ringim and firming up the nation’s policing system. At last, CP Zakari Biu who personally had in his custody the major suspect of the Madalla Christmas Day bombing, one of the worst the nation witnessed, later told the nation the man escaped like in a Nollywood act. Biu, a torturer in the Abacha Gestapo police had been allegedly sacked and later returned and promoted. Facts are that he was Ringim’s course mate at the police college.
The mess got just worse with the major Boko Haram suspect in one of the most chilling attacks escaping from Ringim’s grip like film trick. All his blundering days, he kept Nigerians guessing how worse he would go as the nation’s police chief, and how much more mess and failings or compromises we would expect from this man.
Yes, he was finally removed by the president, his ally, this week, but many of us would still ask if the removal or retirement or leave, however couched, was just enough considering the gross inadequacies of Ringim.
I think it won’t hurt to prosecute Ringim especially for the escape of Boko Haram man alongside Zakari Biu and the rest for that comprise of their job. Ringim was the ultimate boss of the Nigeria Police and with the weight of that escape that put the police in the light of having connived to make sure that major suspect wasn’t prosecuted, he should not go home free.
Moreover, with facts emerging that the Obasanjo administration had sacked Biu after the Oputa panel shocking revelations of his torture roles in the Abacha days, Ringim should explain to the nation how that man said to be his course mate found his way back and why? It is not just enough to ask him to go and it ends there.