With the recent promotion of the incumbent Commissioner of Police in charge of Lagos State, Zubairu Muazu to the rank of Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) and his imminent redeployment, a good number of Lagos residents have called on the Inspector General of Police and the Police Service Commission to ensure that Mohammed Ali; Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations succeeds Muazu as Commissioner of Police in charge of Lagos State.
A sampling of opinion done by some journalists has revealed however that DCP Mohammed Ali is largely loved by many Lagos residents who are familiar with the activities of officers and men of the Lagos State Police Command.
While many of the residents spoken to, chose to remain anonymous even though, they spoke in favour of Ali becoming the Commissioner after Muazu, others like to be quoted as they are firmly convinced of their position.
One such respondent, the Managing Director, Angel Guards Security Limited, Apapa; Mr. Israel Asigbe said, “The bitter truth is that DCP Mohammed Ali has paid his dues. He was an excellent police officer when he was in Apapa where he was the Area Crime Officer before becoming the Divisional Police Officer. He proved himself.
Even when he was redeployed to Denton Police Division, he was a super cop. When he was the Commander in Charge of Area C, he also proved himself.”
According to the Angel Guards boss, even as Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations at the State Command, Ali is still serving with passion and everybody is still feeling his touch.
In his words, “The truth is that Mohammed Ali is in a better position to handle the office of the Commissioner of Police in charge of Lagos.
Publisher of Security Watch Africa magazine cum Crime Watch television host, Mr. Patrick Agbambu spoke in similar vein describing Ali as well qualified to take over at the exit of Muazu as Lagos Police boss.
“Ali has proven to be a man capable of handling the Lagos State Police Command. He has been tried, tested and proven to be a man who is passionate about his job,” Agbambu said.
Explaining further, Agbambu said, “Just like former Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal who was DCP Operations when he assumed office as Lagos State Commissioner of Police during which he did wonderfully well, I believe Ali would also do excellently well.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohammed Ali is unarguably one of the officers who can proudly claim to have an in-depth knowledge of the Lagos terrain with its attendant crime characteristics. This is certainly based on the fact that out of the 29 years he has served so far in the Police Force, fourteen and half years have been spent in Lagos State alone.
The remaining fourteen and half years were spent at other police Commands such as Benue, FCT, Police Staff College, River, Bayelsa, Delta, and Kano. What this clearly shows is that Ali is more at home with fighting crime in Lagos than elsewhere since the number of years he has served in Lagos in different capacities gives him some advantage in understanding the arts and science of crime and criminality and how best to checkmate same.
Little wonder why he can audaciously tell criminals of different stock to relocate from Lagos if they would not repent as he has what it takes to pursue them to the gate of hell.
Having served at different times in Lagos as Crime Officer, Divisional Police Officer, Area Commander and currently Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Ali stands taller than many of his contemporaries as far as policing Lagos State is concerned.
This has become evident in light of the fact that with his foiling of bank robbery in Apapa area of Lagos in 2009 and the recovering of five AK 47 rifles with 1500 rounds of live ammunition, authorities of the Police Force have chosen to entrust him with more challenging task where-ever he is posted to serve.
Prior to his current posting in Lagos, he had served as Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Administration at the Benue Police Command after spending a few weeks as the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Zonal CIID, FCT Abuja.
At various times, he was the Area Commander in charge of Area C, Lagos, Assistant Commissioner of Police at Rivers Command and later Area B Command, Lagos.
He had also served as Divisional Police Officer in various Stations in Lagos, Bayelsa and Delta Commands.
As the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations in Lagos, Mohammed Ali has proved his mettle holding forte in a manner that gives his immediate boss – the Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu some measure of relief from the head and heartache policing Lagos could generate for whoever is in charge of the Command.
While serving in the same capacity during the immediate past administration of Imohimi Edgal, the State Commissioner of Police, DCP Ali had exhibited absolute loyalty and finesse in the discharge of his duties as the man charged with daily operational activities of Police personnel in the Lagos Command. He had combined forces with the Commissioner in leading officers and men of the Command to checkmate various types of crime in the state such that Edgal’s administration recorded a decrease in crime rate in the state.
Cultists, kidnappers, armed robbers, ritualists, and other sundry criminals were given a hard fight in every aspect with the combined efforts of Lagos residents through the instrumentality of Edgal’s community policing partnership initiative, which provided an opportunity for the civil populace to assist the police with relevant crime information.
DCP Ali with a Bachelor of Science degree in Library/Political Science from University of Maiduguri, a Master of Science in Industrial Relations from Delta State University and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Industrial Relations from Irish University Business School, Pembroke Square, UK, can best be described as a thoroughbred professional police who brings intellectualism to bear on his operational activities. He does not get intoxicated with the powers of a super cop as he strongly believes in the rule of law in every circumstance particularly in policing.
He also believes that fighting crime is a collective effort and would not hesitate to tell anyone who cares to listen that the decline in criminal activities in Lagos in recent time particularly in the last two years was as a result of a partnership with various stakeholders and state government positive intervention in security matters.
The Lagos Command with Ali as DCP Operations in the last two years under the leadership of Edgal and now Muazu has had far-reaching partnership interactions with the local vigilante groups, Community leaders, religious and youth leaders among others to support Intelligence gathering towards tracking down criminals.
With the collaboration of these relevant stakeholders and a subsequent decrease in crime rate, Ali can proudly say that Lagos is the safest place to live in Nigeria.
His in-depth knowledge of the Lagos environment and its demographics coupled with the awareness of daily influx of more migrant populations from other states seeking a settlement in Lagos, Ali stands robustly qualified to head the Lagos Command anytime the position becomes vacant.
It is historically revealing that Lagos as a microcosm of the larger Nigeria has the tendency to warrant a more careful choice of who is appointed the Commissioner of Police to take charge. The good people of Lagos are always at home with a police commissioner who understands their cultural diversity and the cosmopolitan dynamics that occasionally become the priority of government with respect to economic investment interest.
Unarguably, DCP Ali fits in, as a detribalised Nigerian police officer who has the ability to amiably relate socio-culturally with all manner of people of different ethnic or racial extractions without playing up his own tribal swag.
Perhaps, this is ostensibly why some Lagos residents often mistake his identity. His mastery of some Nigerian languages outside his own native language has often brought him closer to the populace in Lagos and thereby making his community policing strategy work better.
He is ready to tell anyone who cares to listen to that, “We know in and out of Lagos State and we have credible informants. We act on information and intelligence and would arrive at the criminals’ den and pick them like snails.”