Many years ago, the mere mention of Force Criminal Investigations Department, FCID, Alagbon, Lagos drove fear into the spines of many Nigerians. As the citadel of intense investigation by the Nigeria Police Force, it represents more than just policing. It is the apogee of intelligence gathering, forensic research, investigation and even international policing. However, for long, the image of the very vital department of the force took a nose dive for the worse so much so that it was turned into a desolate department that thrive on mere paper works.
Luckily, the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, in his wisdom, decided to restore the department to its former glory by posting an Assistant Inspector General of Police to head the place. The lot, therefore, fell on a very tested and experienced officer, Muritala Usman Mani, a former Personal staff Officer to the then IGP MD Abubakar and later Commissioner of Police in Akwa Ibom state from where he went to the National Institute for Strategic and Policy Studies, NIPSS, Kuru, Jos. From there he was posted to Sokoto as the Commissioner of Police and later he was elevated to the enviable position of Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG. The cool headed and unassuming AIG spoke with our Crime Editor, Emma Nnadozie about his mission, vision and expectations in FCID, Alagbon.
Muritala Usman Mani,
“My mission here is in line with the directive of the Inspector General of Police in his bid to ensure that the Nigeria Police is reformed and taken to the Promised Land. There was no availing senior officer here so he felt Lagos is just a place that you need a very senior officer, he decided in his magnanimity that Alagbon Close, one of the highest body of police investigation cadre, that a senior officer should be here. This is to ensure that the presence of the police and, of course, the investigation department of the force is felt not only within Lagos but, within the South Western part of the country. So, the mission of the Inspector-General of Police is to ensure that the right thing is done and I am sure that members of the public are seeing positive result from what the man is doing and that is why we are here to make sure the right things are done. Cases that are not criminal, we always encourage people to go to court, cases that are criminal, we look into it and make sure they are expeditiously taken to court when investigations are over. That is one of the reasons why the Inspector General of Police now decided that a very senior officer should be here so we can all put hands on deck to ensure that Lagos state and in fact, the entire South West is properly covered and secured.
Coordination, checking abuses
“In the police, we have rules and regulations which we all have to adhere to and we must be upright. Gone are those days where everybody will just be approving petitions. Centrally, any petition must come to this office, the one we cannot approve, we will take them directly to Abuja to the Deputy Inspector General of Police who will either give us approval or based on his analysis, he will personally see the IGP, discuss it with him before he gives approval. This is the right thing and it makes everybody to be on the track. But, if you allow everybody to operate on his own, no checks and balances, definitely you will never get result. The first thing I did when I came in, was, anybody investigating any case must be with my approval or with the approval of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG. Any case being investigated without going through this procedure, the officer will definitely be punished for that.
Units under Alagbon
We have about five units now. We have Drug Investigation, Homicide, Federal SARS, SFU and Interpol. Most of these units apart of SFU and Central Criminal Registry are headed by a Deputy Commissioner.
We sit down and we brainstorm, I pass my message and they pass theirs as well. The fact is that nobody gives approval here without coming to me. Any approval from Abuja doesn’t go to any section, the DIG direct that approval, so the DIG doesn’t give approval directly to anybody; it comes to me because now that I am here, the approval comes from me. I decide which section I want to hand it over to.
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All we know is that these are issues bothering on the excesses of police men and checking the excesses of policemen on the road and other places because if you go to other places, you will find out that what the policemen are doing is not different from what armed robbers are doing. Issues bothering on drugs, we take them to drug investigative unit, issues about murder, we have a Deputy Commissioner in-charge of homicide, issues bothering on forgery, we take them to Central Criminal Registry, CCR.
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I know that Alagbon has lost its glory. By the grace of God, that is what we are doing and secondly, the way and manner I find this place, personally I am bothered. I hate dirty environment. So, you can see that we have started putting some gravel here. If you go to Interpol area, we have started putting it there, anytime we get any little thing, we will continue down to the CCR area. By the time we finish, whoever comes here will have regards for officers working here and for the organization and above all, will have high regards for the institution of police. These are some of the things that I want to be remembered for when I leave here