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The Quintessential IGP Solomon Arase

UZOR MAXIM UZOATU   e-mail: maxim.uzoatu@theunion.com.ng

The evening was petering out into darkness, and the boys of Lagos were headed to the watering- hole off Adeniran Ogunsanya Street, Surulere, Lagos. The proprietress of the good joint, a middleaged lady with the looks of a beauty queen, was almost in tears. Her manager who happened to be her brother had just been taken to the police by one of our friends who also frequented the bar. In short, the manager had been arrested, and it was a Friday; he would thus be locked away over the weekend until Monday. The lady begged all of us gathered at the joint to see whatever we could do to procure the release of her brother from the police cell. We settled on the idea that we should quickly summon another friend who always shared drinks with us at the place: Kingsley Arase. He was the cousin of Solomon Arase who was then a Principal Staff Officer (PSO) of the Inspector-General of Police in Abuja.

Immediately Kingsley arrived we asked him to put a call through to his PSO cousin in Abuja to step into the matter because the arrested manager was a victim of injustice and we all knew that Solomon Arase stood as a shining light of human rights implementation in the police. The ebullient Kingsley asked the proprietress to “load” his phone with a N1500 MTN card which was promptly done. Then Kingsley called his cousin and put on a show of crying theatrically while speaking over the phone, summing up that his best friend had just been put away in a police cell for the weekend in a glaring case of police brutality. The PSO advised that we should proceed to the police station and then make the call to him from there. We did as he advised. At the police station, Kingsley called again and was advised by his cousin to hand over the phone to any policeman on duty there. Well, the locked manager was instantly, miraculously, released!

The appointment of DIG Solomon Ehigiator Arase, fdc., NPM, as the Acting Inspector-General of Police is indeed a breath of fresh oxygen, the charge of cool electricity. He has indeed paid his dues, and stands tall, poised to raise the police beyond the stratosphere. Solomon Arase has indeed been marked out for great feats since his birth on June 21, 1956. He enlisted in the Nigeria Police in 1981 upon earning a degree in Political Science in 1980 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

An avid lover of knowledge, he has in his academic kitty the LL.B degree of the University of Benin. He studied further, bagging LL.M from the Lagos State University, where he specialised in Corporate Management and Finance Law. He was not done yet as he also got a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from University of Ibadan. He is a distinguished Fellow of Nigeria Defence College, (fdc). He has also been the recipient of the National Police Medal (NPM).

The guru fondly called Solo has excelled in diverse departments of the police, notably Operations, Investigation, Administration and Intelligence. He was a member of the Nigeria Police contingent to the United Nations Mission in Namibia. He belongs to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). A pivot of the International Bar Association (IBA), he is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and serves as the National Legal Adviser, Alumni Association of the National Defence College – Nigeria (AANDEC)

He took his sterling qualities to the Failed Bank Inquiry set up by the Federal Government to investigate the massive fraud in the Nigerian Banking Sector in the 1990s. In the service of the country, he was among the Special Homicide Investigation Team into the murder of the late Bola Ige, the then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in the regime of President Olusegun Obasanjo. As the Head of the Lagos State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID) he liaised with the Lagos State’s Ministry of Justice and the Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA Criminal   Justice Programme to initiate landmark reforms and evaluation mechanisms. In 2006 he served as the Secretary to the Presidential Committee on Nigeria Police Reform and was a member of Nigeria Police Committee on Review of the Nigerian Constitution/Police Act.

A master of the history and vast dimensions of the Nigeria Police, he co-edited the epochal book Policing Nigeria in the 21st Century with Iheanyi Pita Okute Iwuofor in 2007. Forging further afield he edited in 2010 Monograph on Criminal Investigation. In 2013 he edited National Security: Intelligence and Community Partnership Approach. His accomplishments include serving on the Editorial Board of Nigeria Police: The Journey so Far and having his Course Essay at the Nigeria Defence College winning the award for the Best Essay on Internal Security. His immense contributions of several scholarly essays to various local and international journals remain a treasure-trove. Having taken part in multiform workshops and other professional engagements in the US, UK, Canada, Spain etc, he has won plentiful plaudits under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and ECOWAS.

His record is yet to be broken, having been the only officer to serve as the Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to three different Inspectors-General of Police between 2002 and 2008. While at the Lagos State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti in 2008, he developed the “Panti Vision” of crime detection. As the Commissioner of Police, Akwa- Ibom State Police Command, he developed landmark anti-robbery and anti-kidnapping operational protocols that proved highly effective in addressing the high-level crimes in the State.

In his capacity as the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in-charge of the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) he undertook watershed reforms and restructuring initiatives, especially the establishment of the Gender Unit together with the successful sourcing of a three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) grant from Ford Foundation to enhance the operations of the Gender Unit. He set up a state-of-the-art technical intelligence platform which has crucially restored the primacy of the Bureau as the most strategic intelligence agency in the internal security architecture of the country.

It was whilst excelling as the Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) and Head of the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (FCIID) that he earned the appointment as the acting IGP. At the FCIID he had introduced a close collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime to establish a Case Tracking and Analysis Unit. He also initiated and enforced a Pre-Trial Detention Policy which ensured that cases of arbitrary detentions were discouraged in the Department.

A champion of fundamental police reforms, Solomon Arase is a crusader for intelligence-led policing strategies, community partnership, and the application of cutting-edge technology to policing functions at all levels. Indeed Solomon Ehigiator Arase is the quintessential IGP that Nigeria needs now to rub shoulders with the best of the world.

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