By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
The Assistant-Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Annex, Alagbon Close, Lagos, AIG Murtala Usman Mani has disclosed that the lost glory of the annex has been restored following the reforms put in place by him.
Emphasising that the unit is now repositioned for better performance, Mani stated that the forensic laboratory has been refurbished to serve its purpose, while renovation works have been done to give the annex a befitting look.
He further stated that plans were under way to revive the finger print section of the department as they had presented some templates to the IGP in that regard, assuring that in the next couple of months, the finger prints section would be highly effective even as he pleaded for more time.
The new helms man at the dreaded Police apex investigation unit, who spoke in an interactive session with journalists at the weekend, said the Inspector-General of Police has made conscious effort to trim down the number of officer at the formation to ensure adequate supervision and also promote professionalism.
According to him the new leadership is set to restore the lost glory of the formation.
His words, ” There is need for us to tell the world what the police is doing, especially under the leadership of IGP Mohammed Adamu, so that the confidence we are trying to build in the minds of the people is restored.
This is one of the reason why the IGP felt there was need for a very senior officer to take over the leadership of the annex, firstly to sanitize the place and secondly, to as much as possible make the place regain its lost glory and that is what we are doing.
When I came in, I discovered there is a need to revive what we used to know as the then Alagbon Close. It is the apex of the Nigeria police investigation and any officer posted here surely must answer its name. Those days, not just any officer was posted here, you must have the wealth of experience needed to act and perform your duties, you must have served in the police for at least 15years.
This is why the IGP has trimmed the number of officers here, he transfered some of them to the state commands, so that the little we have, we do checks and balances. That is why we have a very vibrant section. We want the public to know that we are here for them.
On the forensic lab, we know it is key and the IGP and the DIG have special interest in it, they are keen about the operation. We have refurbished the place and it is back to normal operation, because it is a very sensitive place.”
Speaking further, Mani said, ‘ I think some of you here knew what Alagbon Close was in those days, some of you who are very young, who are just coming into the field of journalism may not know when you talk of Alagbon Close in those days because if you are invited then in Alagbon Close, before answering the invitation, you will go to toilet ten times. Of course yes, because you don’t know what you are going to meet and you don’t know what is going to happen to you. It is the apex of the Nigeria Police investigation body and any officer posted here surely must answer his name.
In those days, you don’t just post any Tom, Dick and Harry, you must answer your name, at least, you must have served in the Nigeria Police for nothing less than fifteen years before you are posted here so, that you have got the little experience needed for you to act and perform your duties here”.
Mani added that the IGP felt there was the need for a very senior officer to head the department at Alagbon in order to stem the abuse inherent in the process of crime investigation, to sanitize the place and to as much as possible see how to make the place regain its lost glory that it hitherto was known.
He said,” So, this is exactly what we are doing and as I came here, I told you, less than two months, I referred cases back to commands, if I could say about 30 to 40, when I see that the case is not supposed to be for the Force CID, I take it back to the CPs, the CPs can handle it. So, we don’t allow it or somebody having a case somewhere, he will come and say I don’t trust Panti or I don’t trust Zone 2 or I don’t trust Zone 9, I always ask them, if you don’t trust Panti, that means you don’t also trust me because I can be in Panti tomorrow and within the same organization and you are telling me you don’t trust members of my organization. So, by extension, you don’t trust me as well, so, I don’t think I will be able to give you the satisfaction if you don’t trust Police officers in Panti which means you don’t trust me yourself.
“So, as much as possible, I try to discourage that and I encourage those people to go back to that place, they will get justice. At times, I call the officers personally and tell them that I am sending some persons, you are handling this case, please, see how you can do it judiciously so that justice is seen, not only seen but seen to be done. And in most cases, some of these people, they come back to say thank you very much. It is not everything that the Force CID will attend to”.
While revealing that the IGP had keen interest in resuscitating the Forensic Laboratory of the Department as the section was key, AIG Mani observed that his DIG also had keen interest in getting the Lab up and running once again.
“But right now, if to say we are going into that formal forum that I am planning to do with you, we would have moved round and you would have seen what the Inspector General of Police put in that place and as I am talking to you now, between now and tomorrow, we are putting about eight brand new air conditioners in that place so that all the machines will be functioning properly. So, the place is now coming back to its normal, the way you knew it, the IG is so keen about it because it is very key, it is very sensitive place. So, we are putting it in order and in the next couple of weeks, when you go there, you won’t believe it is the same forensic lab, I assure you that”.
On the measures put in place to make the place viable once again, the AIG pointed out that “In a bid to do that, the IG has reduced the number of officers meant for this place so that the little we have we will be able to have some checks and balances and put them on track and do the right thing not only for CID here but generally, all the policemen. That was why we have a very viable, vibrant and active X-Squad section and they are working.
He therefore called on the media to collaborate with the department to let the public know what the FCID was doing saying “When I came and discovered that the relationship between this place and the press is not all that romantic, if I can put it that way, I feel why should it be so? That there is the need for us to understand what is on the ground, there is the need for us to tell the world what the Nigeria Police is doing particularly under the able leadership of the current Inspector General of Police, IG Adamu Mohammed.
“So, I feel we need to invite the press men, sit down with them, tell them what we are doing so that at least, the world can see what we are doing and of course, the confidence that we are trying to build in the mind of the public is restored”.
The AIG also revealed that the annex will henceforth handle cases that cannot be investigated at the state command levels saying, “ I have had to refer about 30 to 40 cases back to the state commands. If the state commands can handle a case, I send it to them.”