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24 missing police car mess – Facts separated from fiction

The 24 missing police cars the acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris on Sunday July 17, 2016, said his predecessor Solomon Arase took on retiring have been found.

Seven Deputy Inspectors-General of Police who retired alongside the former IGP were also alleged to have taken seven and eight cars each. Mr Arase denied the allegation, describing it  the handiwork of mischief makers bent on trying to tarnish his integrity.

However, recent report shows that the cars were actually under police control, some were sent for repairs while others are being used for various operations.

According to an investigation conducted by Vanguard newspaper, an armoured plated and bullet proof car, and the spare staff car, both of which are BMWs, were sent to an auto repair shop for total and comprehensive repairs for use of the next IGP.

According to the report, the cars were sent to Auto Computers located in the Jabi District of Abuja and that the spare BMW car has been completed and repainted.

The spare staff car was said to have been having engine problems for the last five years before the last administration sent it for repairs.

The spare car was said to have been delivered to the Police headquarters on Sunday afternoon after completion of repairs, while the armoured plated Staff Car was still under repair due to the high technology embedded in the car, which required  importing some of its part.

As for the remaining vehicles, they were reported to be intact and that while some were deployed for operations, the Police had records of the location of others.

Recall that Ibrahim Idris made the revelation about the missing vehicles while addressing journalists in Abuja. He also mentioned that a special investigation panel (SIP) had been setup to investigate vehicle purchases, contributions to the police and the distribution of those vehicles in the last three years.

He said, “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.

“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.”

Arase in a swift reaction on Monday, July 18, 2016, denied the allegation, calling it a malicious propaganda.

According to the statement he released from London, where he was billed to attend his son’s graduation, he said, “I suspect there must be a disconnect somewhere because every information needed by my successor are provided in my hand-over notes. I’m also not aware that any letter was written to me because if there was any dropped in my house, someone would have alerted me.

“It’s unfortunate that this matter is being made a media issue because my successor has my telephone number and could have called me for any clarification or even sent me a text message rather than addressing the media on an issue well documented in my handover notes.”

The enquiry into the whereabouts of the cars was said to be instigated by the IGP secretariat comprising of newly posted officers, according to the Vanguard report.

The report also revealed that the Works Department and the Force Transport Department that should have been approached for explanations concerning the location of the cars were not approached.

  • Olalekan Olonilua for

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