Retired DIG, Foluso Adebanjo, Itemizes Solutions For A Better Police Force

DIG Adebanjo
Adebanjo being honoured by Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode
Foluso Ayodeji Adebanjo mni, is the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of the force’s Information And Communication Technology (ICT). Adebanjo who served with impeccable  track records who recently retired after serving the Nigeria Police Force meritoriously for 33 years and three months. In this interview with the Editor, FOLORUNSHO HAMSAT, the ex-super cop shares his success story as a police officer, his hopes for a better police force, and more. Excerpts…
Could you give an insight into your background?
I was born on 15th March, 1958 in Lagos to the family of Late Chief Emmanuel Olukoya Adebanjo and Late Mrs Omobola Adebanjo. I attended Lagos City Council Primary School, Okesuna, Lagos. I also attended CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos and Government College Epe, Lagos State. I then proceeded to Central State University, Edmond, Oklahoma, USA now (University of Central Oklahoma) where I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in

DIG Adebanjo (rtd)

Criminal Justice and Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Management and Administration. I was enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent Of Police in 1985. I have served in various States and Zonal Commands all over the country and held strategic positions in almost all the departments in the force. I also served in the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (INTERPOL), Presidential Task Force on Trade Malpractices, a forerunner to EFCC at Ikoyi, Lagos. I was Commissioner of Police Anti-Bomb Squad also known as Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), Force Headquarters, Abuja. I also served as Commissioner of Police Edo State Command, Commissioner of Police in charge Administration, Force Headquarter Abuja, and Commissioner of Police River State Command. I have attended several local and international courses both in Nigeria and abroad.  Am a member of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) and also a member of several professional and international organizations.

Can you share your best moments in the police force?
It has been very  interesting and challenging and  I love every minute of it. It’s a job I love with passion . I look at it as one of the best jobs around. I thank the Almighty God who has protected me throughout my career. I will also miss the IGP and members of the management team who have all been wonderful and great colleagues. I will also miss other senior officers; officers and men that worked with me in one way or the other. Most of them have been wonderful and very disciplined. I hope I won’t miss waking up very early and closing very late and not having to switch off my phones even for one minute.
Looking back, what were your low moments as a police officer?
My lowest point was the day four of my men were brutally murdered by ruthless kidnappers, while attempting to foil a kidnap incident in Edo  when  I was the commissioner  of police. The low point is  when officers are killed by criminals anywhere in Nigeria. What is your assessment of the police force you are leaving behind?
My assessment is with mixed feelings. I see a lot of very good and hardworking officers being maligned due to the excesses of very few officers who have no respect for the rule of law, human right, engage in corrupt practices and indiscipline. That should not be allowed to deteriorate. It seems that most officers don’t check the junior ones who are misbehaving anymore. We must check them so that our image does not nose dive to a level that cast aspersions on the good officers and men of this noble profession. I have enjoyed virtually every minutes in the force.

You once commended President Buhari on his efforts toward the welfare of the police. Do you still hold that view as you are about retiring?
The general welfare of officers and men are what you can call “work in progress”. There is the urgent need to improve on the general welfare of officers and men and I also know that it has to be in the budgetary proposal. Seriously speaking, there is an urgent need to improve the welfare of officers and men and I am sure that president Buhari will surely do that with time. Funding for the police is very poor and the money approved by the National Assembly is usually not release up to 30 to 40% by the Federal Government. There is need to improve the general welfare of the police if we desire a good country where crime is reduced to the barest minimum. I’m also urging the National Assembly to pass the Nigeria Police Development fund Bill for the sake of all Nigerians, if they desire a peaceful country because we’re all going to be ex-this, ex-that some day if that is their only achievement, it will be their greatest achievement ever and they will look back one day and tell their children that I am one of the people that made this country better for not only our generation but our children and children unborn. Mark my words, if we don’t act fast, Libya will be a child’s play.

What is your position on the clamour for the creation of state police?
My position on state police is mixed, mixed in terms of looking at the past, present and the future. Looking at the past, not many people will give it a serious thought because of the abuse by past leaders. The present day Nigeria is full of unbelievable challenges such as terrorism, herdsmen/farmers clashes, kidnapping to mention a few. The future is troubling because of the present challenges, but I can tell you that the challenges are not insurmountable, if we’re serious as a people or Government. Majority of state Government cannot fund the state police because security is expensive. The present Nigeria police are grossly underfunded, so what do we do to get out of the present complexity of criminality and security challenges. Looking at the clamor for Restructuring of the country and the unprecedented clamor for state police. It will be undoubtedly inevitable to ignore it. It is an idea that is worth experienced, no matter our fears as we can put in checks to control the abuse by state Governments. The American and other models should be carefully studied at the National Institute for policy and strategic studies, in Kuru, Jos.

A notorious bank robber, Kelvin, confessed that he moved to Lagos when you were in charge in Edo State because the heat was unbearable for his gang. What was the magic? 
Edo State was crime infested when I reported in Edo State and by the grace of the Almighty God, it was reduced to the barest minimum within a period of two years. This is due to determine and purposeful leadership that is willing to sacrifice for the good people. Officers were equally mobilized to the war on crime. It was a battle of good over evil. The support of the state Government and the people is equally important. We had the support of the Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole who provided the logistical support in ensuring the relative peace that we achieved. We were very close to getting Kelvin arrested because most of his men had been arrested and it was only a matter of very little time before his arrest.

What is your advice to officers who are still in service?
They must uphold the dignity and power of the force. The Nigerian Police is the foremost internal security agency and must be in the forefront in the fight against all form of criminality. We cannot afford to be playing a second fiddle to any other organization,  of course there must be synergy between the police, the military and other security agencies. They must ensure that discipline which is the bedrock of the force is maintained by all officers especially the rank and file of the force. Impunity must not be condoned under any guise.

If there is another world after this, would you still prefer to be a policeman?
I would like to be a business tycoon so that I can make more money like Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga, Femi Otedola and other big boys, so I can use the money to help the downtrodden to better their lives. I am looking forward to setting up an NGO to take care of the less privileged in the society.

What is your advice to the nation as we get set for the next general elections?
I’m in the process of publishing a book on election security. Election should not be a “do or die affair”. Politicians must know that there will be winners and losers. Every one running for election must adhere to the electoral laws and not buy arms and ammunitions for thugs to cause mayhem. There should be a level playing field for contestants by all political parties, INEC, the police and other security agencies. We should not destroy this country because of elections.

When you feel like relaxing outside Nigeria, which country do you prefer?
I love traveling to the United States and Europe. Now I want to explore traveling more to Africa countries.

There were notable personalities at a party  organized in your honour in Lagos. How did you feel?
I feel honoured by the large turn out of people. The party was organized in my honour by all the Assistant Inspector-Generals of Police and Commissioners of Police  in the southwest which included AIG Agboola Oshodi-Glover, Assistant Inspector-General of Police Zone 8, AIG Adamu Ibrahim Zone 2,Onikan,Lagos ,CP Illiyasu Ahmed, Ogun, CP Abiodun Odude, Oyo, CP Gbenga Adeyanju, Ondo, CP Olafimihan Adeoye, Osun, Arch Kunle Adeyemi, Mr Bube Okorodudu, AVM Terry Okorodudu And Chief Tunde Fanimokun, among others.