Commissioner of Police Mbu Joseph Mbu was on February 6 redeployed in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and replaced with Johnson Tunde Ogunsakin, an indigene of Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State, who was the commissioner in charge of the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Milverton Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. Mbu, for almost all his time in Rivers, many say was unprofessional.
To Rivers indigenes, Ogunsakin’s success will depend on his embrace of professionalism and neglect of partisanship.
Ogunsakin was born on August 1, 1957 and enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in 1982. He attended L. A. Primary School, Ikere-Ekiti and later proceeded to the Annunciation College, Ikere-Ekiti.
On completion of his secondary school education, the Rivers police commissioner gained admission into the then University of Ife, Ile-Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). He graduated in 1980 with B.A. (Hons.) in Political Science/History.
He participated in the compulsory one year national youth service in Ogun State in 1981. He also has Advanced Diploma in Law Diplomacy/Conflict Management from the University of Jos (UNIJOS) and enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in 1982.
Ogunsakin started his police career in 1984 in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, as a Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) at the Bodija Police Station. In 1985, he attended the Anti-Riot Mobile Police Training at Gwoza, Borno State. He was the Unit Commander, Number 4 Squadron, Ibadan. In 1989, he joined the Interpol Lagos as a Detective Superintendent.
t Interpol, he performed excellently, became the head and was made the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of the Organised Crime Division; OC, Europe/North America of the Economic and Financial Crimes Division and the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of Interpol.
Ogunsakin was among the officers that worked on the team that put an end to the terror reign of the notorious armed robbery gang of Lawrence Anini in the country.
Shortly after his redeployment, said: “I am going to do my professional work and create an environment for the peaceful conduct of elections. I will be fair to all.”
The new Rivers police boss was appointed commissioner of police, SFU in 2009. Prior to the appointment, he was the deputy police commissioner, Information Technology, at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
Ogunsakin also served as the Director of Operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) between June 2008 and May 2009. He is a former Head of Investigations at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
The representative of Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro constituency of Rivers State in the House of Representatives, Dakuku Peterside, believes there is the need to give peace a chance in the state.
Peterside, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) and ex-Rivers Commissioner for Works, said: “Mbu is only a symptom of an ailment. Mbu is not all about the problem. He is not the fundamental problem. The fundamental problem is to guarantee the rights of Rivers people to associate freely. The rights of Rivers people to gather when they so choose to. That is the issue. Mbu is only a vehicle that they have abused.
“The police force is established by our constitution and they have rights. It is funded by tax payers’ money. They have rather abused the institution of the police force. Whether you change Mbu or not, is not the issue. The President is under oath to guarantee the freedom of all Nigerians. He is on oath to protect lives and property. Are lives and property protected? The answer is no.
“For me, when there is breakdown of law and order, when you continue to go on with lawlessness, it is the first sign of a failed state. We are advancing to that point. We must do something drastic to halt the decline that we are currently experiencing.
“We must do something very fundamental to stop the lawlessness that pervades the land. Until we stop the lawlessness, then there is no hope for our people. Our people will take their destinies into their own hands. They will stop this impunity by their votes. Of course, February 2015 is by the corner.
“Our people are tired of this lawlessness. They are tired of this impunity. They will use their votes and stop this madness.
“Whether Mbu comes or Mbu goes is immaterial. The Nigeria police should keep themselves to their constitutionally-guaranteed duty of enforcement of law and order. Whether it is Mr. White or Mr. John, we are not excited.
“What we want to see is the fact that the police force must be impartial, must be fair to all manner of people, protect lives and property and ensure the maintenance of law and order. That will be our ultimate joy and will be the ultimate joy of our people.”
Senator Magnus Abe, who was at the receiving end of Mbu’s reign of terror, said change must come.
Abe, while recalling his experience in the hand of Mbu’s men, said: “I was not alone there (Rivers College of Arts and Science, Rumuola, Port Harcourt). There were more than two hundred people, who saw what happened. This young man was there with the camera. He was beaten up and his camera was destroyed. So, if nothing happened, why were they so eager to make sure that no picture of what happened got out?
“They (policemen) opened fire on us in their midst. We were not in any crowd. To say that I was not shot is the largest understatement or the biggest lie of the century. These men opened fire, teargassed, everything was fired everywhere. People saw what happened.
“That I was not killed, yes, but to say they opened fire on you and you did not die, therefore nothing happened, is the height of. I do not know how to describe it. However, for me, I am going to court. I have asked my lawyers to file my case in court, against all those who had hands in what happened. I will meet them in court.”
He said the time had come for a new direction for the state.
Abe said: “We have had lots of these crises. Any right-thinking person will agree that it is time for us to put some of these things behind us. Since last year, there had been a concerted attempt to remove the governor (Amaechi) from office and overthrow the government of Rivers State by force and there is no provision in our Constitution for that kind of behaviour.
“Having tried by all earthly means and they have failed, I will appeal to them to now sheathe their swords and let us work together, to try to help the people of Rivers State. That is the reason for which we say we are playing politics. What we are doing now is not helping them. It is clear that the governor cannot be removed without the law.
“So, since that is clear and that is what we all agreed, as citizens of Nigeria, let us work with the governor (Amaechi), let him do his job and let all of us, who also have jobs to do, be allowed to do our own jobs. If we do that, it will help the state (Rivers), it will help the country.
“For us to turn Rivers State into a theatre of war, because of the ambition of any single individual, is morally, politically and spiritually wrong. We cannot kill ourselves here, because of anybody. If people feel that they want to join a political party, they should be allowed to join the party of their choice.
“If you feel that you have superior reason why people should follow your own party, explain your reasons to the people. Do not carry guns to go and attack or kill the people, for going to join another party. There is no justification for that kind of behaviour. As far as I know, the President (Dr. Goodluck Jonathan) himself has said he does not think that anybody’s ambition is worth anybody’s blood.
“Nobody should assume that when you throw a stone into the market, you know who it will hit. If we continue to buy guns and arm people, every gun you buy has a lifespan of over one hundred years.
“So, who knows who will be your friend tomorrow? Who knows who will be your enemy tomorrow? Who knows in which direction these guns will point tomorrow? Let us play our politics, win or lose, let us thank God for the privilege he has given to us to lead and we should move on with our lives.”
The Rivers Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ibibia Walter, however, insisted that Mbu exhibited professionalism.
Walter said: “Mbu exhibited professionalism
while in Rivers State. Many Rivers people appreciated the works of Mbu in Rivers State. Mbu was accused of protecting the PDP by Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the APC and SRM’s leaders, who found it difficult to pocket Mbu, who showed so much professionalism.
“That is why he (Mbu) has been deployed to a higher challenge. The incoming police commissioner (Ogunsakin) must also show professionalism.”
The President of the pro-Amaechi’s SRM, Charles Aholu, a lawyer, declared that Mbu would be remembered for rascality, partisanship and trampling on rights of Rivers people.
Aholu said: “Mbu’s redeployment from Rivers State to Abuja is a victory for democracy. Mbu will be remembered for the rascality he perpetrated on the psyche of Rivers people. He will be remembered as the only cop that has worn a very clear apparel of partisanship, when it comes to policing.
“Mbu will also be remembered for trampling on the rights of Rivers citizens and for us, these are not good remarks.
“The incoming police commissioner (Ogunsakin) should not make the mistakes that Mbu made. We will expect him to be professional in his approach. We believe that he will be professional.”
The new Rivers police commissioner said in an interview: “As a policeman, you must be prepared for every challenge. Whether you are doing investigation, operations or even administration, you must be prepared to step on toes.
“If you are doing investigation or working on a case, you must believe in yourself and then know that you have responsibilities. The responsibility you have is your guts, your country and you will do justice to the case you are doing.
“If you are investigating any case, you must have it at the back of your mind that your friends, brothers, sisters and church members are going to come to try to influence you, either on the side of the suspect or the complainant.
“So, you must be able to define your own pedigree. Once you believe in God and you believe in fairness, you will overcome every challenge. I have friends, but my friends know me when it comes to my job. I do not joke with my job. I can hardly be influenced.”
Ogunsakin also admitted that initially, he did not want to become a policeman, while opting to work in a foreign mission
He said: “Everybody has an ambition. As a small child, when you are growing up, you always want to grow up to be like your father. So, it is true that while we were in the university I did not want to become a police officer, because the profession did not look attractive then, but the event that happened later did change my whole perception about the police.
“I am very proud to be a police officer. I thank God for that. I have satisfaction being a policeman and people must appreciate that police are friends of the public.
“There were several jobs when we finished school, but my target was to work in foreign mission, but I am now a policeman and I am very happy to be a policeman.”
The new Rivers police boss admitted that he did not know he was going to join the Nigeria police, but it happened after an event, as he was impressed by how a police officer handled the matter, when he and his friend were wrongly accused of assaulting a police officer, which he said propelled him to join the police.
Ogunsakin said: “Prior to that incident, if there was any profession I was interested in, it was not definitely the Nigeria police. I was on the verge of joining the Nigerian Foreign Service, when a friend and I were accused of assaulting a police officer and we were taken to the police station.
“An ASP handled the situation so professionally, that I was so keen to want to join the Nigeria police, because of his action and that led me to where I am now. I am actually proud to be a policeman and I am enjoying the job.”
Hailing from Ekiti State, fondly referred to as “The Fountain of Knowledge” and “The Land of Honour,” which has Dr. Kayode Fayemi as governor, the new Rivers police commissioner places emphasis on integrity and fear of God, standing out as a police officer who cannot be compromised.
Ogunsakin said: “As soon as I finished the training, that lasted for 13 months, at the Police Staff College, Jos, I was posted to Ibadan as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). I was privileged to serve in the office of Mrs. Koloko, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) at Dugbe Motor Traffic Division.
“My working with Mrs. Koloko shaped my job in the Nigeria Police, because she was a very strict disciplinarian. She had zero tolerance to corruption. I was to spend three months attachment with her, but ended up spending eight months, out of the nine months attachment I was supposed to do, because she would not let me go.
“Initially, senior officers who had worked with her tried to discourage me from doing my attachment with her, when they heard that I was posted to her office, because they believed she was wicked and all that, but then, I had no choice, I was posted there.
“My first day, I got to the office around 7:30 am and she was already there. The second day, I was in the office by 7:45 am, she was there again and I told myself I had to adjust my timing, because she did not say anything. The third day, I got to the office five minutes before her and the fourth day 10 minutes earlier and since then, I studied her conduct.
“I did my best and she reciprocated by giving me a lot of sensitive jobs, counseling me and she was very good to me. She mentored me. She stays in Ibadan, but she still comes around to encourage us.
“After my attachment, I was posted to the Crime Department of Bodija Station in Ibadan. After about a year, there was an opening in the Anti-Riot Police, otherwise known as the Mobile Police and I was very interested. So, I went to the Commander in the Mobile then, who is late now, and I told him I was interested in Mobile Police.
“The Commander just looked at me and said I was just about a year old in the Nigeria Police Force and that the Commissioner of Police then, Senator Nuhu Aliyu, now retired, would not consider me, because I had to spend at least three years, before I could be admitted to the Mobile Police. I begged him that I wanted to do it.
“Fortunately for me, not many officers wanted to go into Mobile Police then, because most officers wanted to work in other divisions. I put more pressure and I was taken to the then Deputy Commissioner of Police, who was initially reluctant, but eventually took me to the then Commissioner of Police, who asked me if I really wanted to join the Mobile Police and I said yes. He then said if I had made up my mind to join the Mobile Police, he believed I could do great.
“The mobile training I received has always been a good part of me, because it was quite different from the ordinary learning process of the police. It was effective, thorough and strenuous. There is a saying in the Mobile Police, the three “S” which is Silence, Speed and Surprise. The Silence, Speed and Surprise are the key “S” that prepares you for other issues.”
He believes it pays to work hard, be professional in one’s duties, shun corruption and put one’s trust only in the Lord.
Ogunsakin said: “When I left the Mobile Police after three and a half years, I was in Lagos and I had an instance when my boys killed eight armed robbers in one night, when Anini was terrorising the state.
“If you are good in the Mobile Police, you are good, because they are very professional. I was nicknamed ‘Tunde OC Court’ or ‘Tunde Idiagbon’ in Ibadan, because they knew that I would never want to hear about anybody collecting money at the road blocks. My experience at the road traffic in Ibadan helped me a lot. Back then in Ibadan, anybody that was caught was taken to court, hence the nickname given to me.
“That was how I got myself into Interpol, because when I left the Mobile Police, I met with Aliyu, who said I would be good in investigation and he brought me to Lagos. As soon as I got to Alagbon in Lagos, I was posted to Interpol. As at that time, not many people wanted to work in the Interpol.
“I handled the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC’s) case and we recovered about N23 million. I handled the case of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), where we recovered about N650 million and the suspects were charged to court and other cases like that.
“Subsequently, I briefly worked in the Provost’s Office and I was moved to the Police Staff College as the Director of Studies for few months. I was taken back to Abuja and I worked in the Force Secretary’s Office. From there, I was moved to IG Monitoring Unit, where I worked under Mr. Sunday Ehindero (former IGP). From there, I was moved to the ICPC as the Head of Investigations.
“I must mention that Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, is somebody I see myself very lucky to have worked with, because I learnt a lot from him. When I got to the ICPC, there were lots of things we wanted to do, but he was like, he slowed us down, saying we had to be very thorough.
“Most of the cases I handled, I had to first send them to his office and he would call me to his office saying: ‘Tunde, o ya sit down, you want to charge this man to the court’ and I would said yes sir. ‘I am the Judge in this court, you are the prosecutor, convince me why this man should go to the court and all that.’ If you are not prepared, then you would mess yourself up. So, before taking a case to him, you must know what he was going to ask you and you must be well prepared.
“I was later moved to the EFCC as the Director of Operations. From there, I was posted back to the Police as the Deputy Commissioner in charge of Information Technology. It was a section of the Police I enjoyed, because of the dynamism of the society and the globalisation of policing. You must be up to date in Information Technology, to be able to do good policing. I left the place and thanks to the IGP and Police Management Team, I was posted to the SFU as the Commissioner of Police.”
In Ogunsakin’s interaction with police officers across the globe, he said he found that police officers are respectfully remunerated. In United Kingdom, for instance, he noted that a police inspector friend of his (now retired) then earned about 47,000 Pounds annually, and upon retirement, the house he lived in worth about 300,000 Pounds would become his and would go on vacation twice a year, to any location of his choice in the world and the government would pay, while education, medicals and others for his children were free, making cases of corruption in the UK to be very minimal.
He called on the members of the National Assembly and other people at the helm of affairs to give priority attention to police welfare.
The new Rivers police commissioner said: “Police officers and men have to be very well remunerated, because there are so many good police officers and men that corruption practices will be unattractive to, if they are well looked after.
“The core problem of corruption today is because of lack of security. Anybody in the corridors of power thinks that it is his time and the best he will do is to get enriched before the time runs out. Because of our kind of polity and cultural demands, people tend to prepare for the future.
“In a situation where you have a future, in the sense that you have a welfare package and your retirement is secured, then corruption will become very unattractive.”
Ogunsakin also admonished Nigerians, especially the youths, to imbibe the culture of integrity in whatever they do.
Will his integrity not give way in Rivers? All eyes will be on Ogunsakin. Certainly.