Nigerians might wake up one day and hear the announcement that a murder suspect is the new Inspector General of Police. His name is Ibrahim Danjuma. At the moment, he is an Assistant Inspector General of Police.
In other words, he is just a promotion away from being considered for the position of Nigeria’s top policeman.
In 2005, Danjuma was heavily implicated in the murder of six people in Abuja. The case is one of the most notorious cases in the annals of extra-judicial murders by the police.
Now known as the Apo six killings, the six youths got involved in an altercation at a nite club with Ibrahim Danjuma who was a Deputy Commissioner of Police at the time. A big shot by all accounts.
And perhaps that was why he felt insulted the youths did not allow him to harass the only girl in their company.
Seething with anger, he went to a checkpoint near the nite club the incident with the Apo Six occurred. He informed the policemen manning the checkpoint about his encounter with some armed robbers who would soon come that way.
What happened when the Apo six got to the checkpoint could only be imagined by a sick mind? They were shot to death by the police.
Two of the boys escaped the initial assault but were later tracked and killed at a different location.
Danjuma and his men released a statement that all six were armed robbers killed while trying to escape from the police.
These events occurred in 2005.
Serious protests by members of the public forced President Obasanjo to order an investigation. The truth was unearthed. It was cold-blooded murder perpetrated by the police.
From the very beginning, there was an attempt to shield the implicated policemen from justice even after they were arrested. One of them was even allowed to escape from jail. His whereabouts remain unknown to this day.
Due to the dogged determination of the families of the victims and numerous organizations, the case went to trial.
In March this year, two junior police officers were found guilty of the murder and sentenced to death. Danjuma and two other officers were freed due to the lack of sufficient evidence against them.
A few weeks later, Ibrahim Danjuma was promoted to the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police.
It is easy to point to the fact that since the court had found him innocent, it is out of order to point accusing fingers at him. That could be true but that is missing some very important points.
From the testimony of witnesses, Danjuma was there when the murder occurred. He gave the order for the police to stop the murdered victims. He was part of the conspiracy to cover up the murder when they released a statement that the six victims were armed robbers.
The reason for freeing him was simply a lack of fingerprints on the weapons that fired the fatal shots. Who knew the police employed fingerprint technology in homicide cases in Nigeria.
Based on the facts on the ground, the least Danjuma could have got was a dismissal from the force. He committed several heinous crimes including colluding to cover up multiple murders.
Instead, for twelve years, he was allowed to remain in the force while the case was ongoing. And the reward for his steadfastness is a promotion to one of the highest positions in the force.
Danjuma must have very strong ties to the relevant centers of power in the country. At the moment, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, is refusing to grant the families of the victims the required fiat to appeal the judgment passed on Danjuma.
He had also refused to appeal this clear miscarriage of justice.
This is not the first time the police have conspired to protect rogue officers.
The case of Sam Chukwu is still fresh in the minds of many people. In September 2009, Sam Chukwu conspired with his son and two other men to kidnap Lota Ezeudu in Enugu.
Nobody has seen Lota since the kidnap even after the family paid N1 million in ransom. Investigations, after pressure from the public, implicated Sam Chukwu, his son and two junior police officers in the commission of the crime.
Sam Chukwu was a DPO in Awkunanaw in Enugu State at the time.
Today, even though his son is in jail awaiting trial in connection with the kidnap alongside the two junior police officers, Sam Chukwu is still a free man.
As a matter of fact, in 2014, San Chukwu was promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police. That is the rank he holds today.
It is this absence of punishment for indicted persons that has led us to the mess we are today. People of questionable past end up in positions of authority; and we expect them to be different.
Fact is, human beings hardly change. They just get older and perhaps smarter.
Men like Ibrahim Danjuma and Sam Chukwu are completely indebted to the big shots that ensured they escaped conviction and were subsequently promoted.
They are now at the beck and call of whoever made it possible for them to be free today. Can anybody say with a bit of certainty they haven’t been compromised?
The other scary thought is that the Police and those in authority don’t see things like these as unusual. Maybe, almost every single cop is tainted with a serious misdemeanor.
In which case, it is no surprise that the Police from the top to the bottom, behave as if the law doesn’t apply to them. They only obey whoever calls the shots.
That makes them the perfect legmen for any dirty job that involves breaking the law of the land and trampling on the rights of citizens.
God help us.