About a month after he retired from service, immediate past Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, has been drawn into a battle of attrition with his successor, Ibrahim Idris, over claims that he (Arase) went away with 24 police vehicles.
Mr. Idris, at a press conference in Abuja on Sunday, claimed that his predecessor went away with the vehicles, which included two BMW 7 series – one armoured; and has refused to return them despite requests to do so.
The Punch newspaper quoted the Acting IG of Police as also alleging that the deputy Inspector Generals, who retired alongside Mr. Arase, also left with between seven and eight cars each.
He added that a special investigation team was already probing the number of vehicles purchased by the police in the last three years and how they were distributed.
Mr. Arase, however, denied the allegation, describing it as a malicious propaganda.
Idris insisted on recovering the vehicles, saying he had written to his predecessor and other recently retired senior police officers to return the vehicles in their possession.
“So, what I am telling you is that I have signed a directive to my SIP (I have a special investigation panel, I set it up). It is going to investigate all the vehicle purchases, contributions to the police and the distribution of those vehicles in the last three years; we are going to look into that.
“When I took over, there was no vehicle, even the vehicle I would use. I discovered the last IG went away with 24 vehicles; the DIGs, some of them eight, some of them seven. The IG’s vehicles included two BMW 7 series, one armoured; and he left me with an old car.
“The last time I followed the President with it, he was asking me, ‘what are you doing with this old car’ because if you see the headlight, the thing has changed colour, which means they parked it and rains and everything had fallen on it, but the new ones that were bought, he (Arase) went with all of them; they are part of the 24.
“I wrote back to him and said, we have a policy that says when a policeman retires, if you are an IG, AIG, a CP, you are entitled to some vehicles; please, the extra, return it. Four vehicles are enough for an average human being, but what will you even do with four vehicles; but he took 24 vehicles, including two BMW cars.
“I wrote to him (Arase), I wrote to the DIGs”.
Mr. Idris said he was shocked to discover that cars that were parked at the force headquarters transport department disappeared just a week before he assumed duties as Acting Inspector General.
“If you look through the windows of my former office and from the report from my (Force) transport officer, you would see cars but a week to the day I would resume, all these cars disappeared”.
In his reaction, Mr. Arase advised his successor to focus on confronting the security challenges in the country instead of wasting time on “media propaganda”.
“What am I going to do with 24 cars? Do I want to open a car shop? This is a malicious accusation. There are ways of verifying issues rather than engaging in media propaganda”, the newspaper quoted the retired police boss as saying, when he was contacted.