The controversy trailing the deployment of the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Edgal Oluwole Imohimi, has routed some pundits to raise eyebrow on what has actually gone amiss in the state especially in the light of the litmus general election coming up mid February.
Much like his coming to Lagos State Police Command as Commissioner of Police – when CP Fatai Owoseni was reluctant at vacating the seat for him to take over, his purported transfer to the Force Headquarters reminds one of the controversies that greeted his entry to the state as the police honcho in 2017.
Added to the irreverent blues is the alleged misgivings by the elements of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos chapter, who are hell bent on uprooting the pro-state police officer, owing solely to his assumed closeness to the incumbent governor of the state, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.
Beyond losing sleep over the perceived animosity the police officer could mount against the party during the forthcoming election, the party hierarchy had concluded that with a police command head loyal to the embattled governor who was denied his second term ticket on platter of political fraud would be a day-light robbery for an election they had calculated to be a mere walk-over for them next month.
Prior to the controversial primary that handed over the party’s gubernatorial ticket to Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, the party leaders and supporters had complained bitterly about the closeness of the ‘no nonsense’ police officer to Governor Ambode.
To an average observer of the political unfolding in the state, especially since the party denied Governor Ambode his second term ticket, APC handlers in the state have been making frantic efforts to displace Edgal for no other reason but for his closeness, hence loyalty to Ambode said to be his classmate in secondary school.
When the opportunity presented itself, Edgal was moved to the Force Headquarters as head of Explosive Ordinance Unit to pave way for a pro-Lagos political establishment police officer in person of Kayode Egbetokun, who had served as Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Commander of Rapid Response Squad (RRS) when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the governor of the state between 1999 and 2007.
What could have been a mother of ridicule to the police force in the country was averted when two police commissioners reported for duty at the Headquarters of the Lagos Police Command office on Oduduwa Crescent, Ikeja Government Reservation Area (GRA).
Commissioner of Police Imohimi Edgal, who was billed to hand over following his earlier redeployment, resumed at works and said he remains in charge.
Kayode Egbetokun, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), who was to take over the baton after a joint news conference, arrived at the Command ahead of Edgal. The handing over could not hold due to an “order from the police headquarters in Abuja”, that Edgal must remain the police boss in the state.
The ‘order from above’ led to jubilations among police officers who had gathered in the Conference Hall where the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) and the Area Commanders, waiting for the briefing by the Acting CP converged.
Not quite long, Edgal, who briefed the reporters in the company of Egbetokun, said, “Gentlemen of the press, are you here for the handing over and taking over? Are you here because you like me or you are eager for me to leave? Well, there is a directive that the status quo should remain till further notice.”
“I am sure that Kayode Egbetokun is an old-timer in the command. Our first job as police is order and directive. We were about concluding the handing over and taking over procedure when we were instructed by our bosses from Abuja to suspend action for now. So, there is no change of guard for now,” he said.
Egbetokun, who came with his personal effect and his personal staff, left the command, saying, “We are government agents and we are always taking directives.”
As Edgal was leaving for Abuja to meet with the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, there was gunshot salute.
The policemen attached to Edgal’s convoy shot four times into the air to celebrate the “good news.”
On arrival, Egbetokun’s car was parked at CP’s parking lot while Edgal’s car was parked at another place.
After the announcement, Egbetokun’s vehicle was replaced at the parking lot with Edgal’s.
Edgal, reputed for his knack to procure communal safety using community policing tactics, has attained a sizeable honour as an advocate of policing in partnership with the people in the society.
His bravado at securing the release of the abducted six students of the Lagos Model College, Igbonla, Epe, in May 2017, by kidnappers who may have wanted to use them as bait to secure pipeline and waterways security contracts from the Federal Government, is apposite here.
Edgal foiled the kidnappers also said to have intended to use the abducted students to pressure Lagos State Government to release most of their gang members arrested for bank robberies and other high profile kidnappings across the state.
The students, Pelumi Philips, Farouq Yusuf, Isiaq Rahmon, Adebayo George, Judah Agbausi and Peter Jonah, regained freedom after spending 65 days in captivity, though N31million was allegedly paid to the kidnappers.
Edgal, who was the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations in Lagos at the time, mounted pressures on the gang to release the abducted students.
Also, Edgal’s name prominently featured in thwarting the Badoo cult gang that disturbed Ikorodu area of Lagos. Badoo kingpin, Alhaji Alaka Abayomi, was arrested and paraded by a team of policemen led by Edgal. Now the group activities have subsided considerably and the people living in the area could enjoy sound sleep without any fear of impending attack form the dreaded cult group.
Similarly, cult groups on Lagos Island, Yaba, Surulere, Jibowu and Mushin have been routed and displaced by police officers leveraging on the wealth of experience of Edgal.
Edgal has also taken his community police prowess to bear on hoteliers and hotels especially where hard drugs are freely used. This measure has seen to the decimation of crimes and criminalities in the state.
Recently 13 police officers out of the 19 police operatives, who raided the Lakers County Nightclub in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State on Sunday, were arrested for unprofessional conduct.
The police officers mainly of the Anti-Cultism Unit of the Lagos Police Command were picked up over actions that were at variance with the ethics of the profession. Many police officers have been shown the way out due to act capable of demeaning the police force.
While some were insinuating that the attempt to transfer the police officer of the state may not be unconnected with the fracas that broke out at the flag-off rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, between two factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) others are of the view that Edgal remains the best hand to lead the protection of the state in the forthcoming election.