TRIBUTE: Tafa Balogun, ex-top cop, advocate of constitutional court

Death is not strange. Those living in Northeast where terrorists kill hundreds, abduct for ransom would have no value for lives. They have watched the numerous killing of women and children at gunpoint and they are still helplessly witnessing wanton killings. They are all victims of attacks with no one to console other.

Every life will surely expire but how it ends would never be same. Death is a debt every living thing owes nature. Caution any individual carelessly stepping on peoples toes that he or she has expiry date. Please advise powerful people who can turn mountains to lowlands that life is temporal and there is always end to everything.

Earth is a marketplace. Humans are temporal inhabitants. People leave the this world everyday unannounced. Like others, Mustafa Adebayo Balogun popularly known as Tafa Balogun has joined his forefathers.

At 74, he bade farewell to this world after graciously scaling through basic hurdles of life. He did not die in vain. He was not just an ordinary police officer. He moved from the position of ASP to the highest position in the Nigeria Police Force; the Inspector General of Police.

Tafa Balogun married a beautiful woman, gave birth to wonderful children who have excelled in their chosen careers and strived so hard to live a remarkable life.

Life is not as sweet as honey. Life sometimes is not ‘ice-cream’ a 5-year girl child licks and desires more. Life is laced with untold challenges, traps and regrets.

Every human is destined to face challenges at a particular time. Mustafa Adebayo Balogun was no different. All the challenges he missed as a young officer waited for him till he became the most senior police officer in the force.

Findings revealed that fortune smiled at him as a young officer. He was active, lucky and very fortunate while in service. He rose from being a cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Course 3 to Deputy Police Commissioner (Edo State) to Police Commissioner (Delta, Rivers, Abia states) to Principal Officer to Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) to Inspector General of Police (IGP).

When he became the most senior officer in the force, he came with loads of ideas and policies to reform the force. He came prepared and many opined that he would give a worthy facelift to the force. His vision to make the force a cynosure of all eyes became a mirage.

Tafa Balogun was arraigned on April 4, 2005 at the Federal High Court, Abuja for stealing and laundering of over $100 million in his three years as Inspector General of Police from the Police treasury.

He slumped on his seat on June 29, 2005, at the Abuja High Court. After pleading guilty to eight of the 56 count-charges directly affecting him, he was convicted and sentenced to six months in each of the charges, which ran concurrently.

After completing his sentence, he embarked on a journey of secrecy. He lived a very private life till he died. He was completely out of public glare and probably regretted his atrocities that made him an ex-convict.

EARLY LIFE

Mustafa Adebayo Balogun (25 August 1947 – 4 August 2022), widely known as Kumawu and sometimes ‘Tafa Balogun’ was a Nigerian police officer, 11th Inspector General of Police from March 2002, but was forced to retire because of widespread charges of corruption in January 2005.

EDUCATION

Balogun attended the University of Lagos, graduating in 1972 with a B.A. in Political Science. He joined the Nigeria Police Force in May 1973. While a police officer, he gained a law degree from the University of Ibadan.

After working in various positions around the country, he became Principal Staff Officer to former Inspector-General of Police, Muhammadu Gambo, then Deputy Commissioner of Police in Edo State, and then Commissioner of Police first in Delta State and then in Rivers State and Abia State.

He was appointed Assistant Inspector General of Police in A.I.G. Zone One Kano, the position he held when promoted to Inspector General of Police on 6 March 2002.

In November 2001, as A.I.G., Balogun reassured reporters that there were provisions to ensure the safety of businessmen in Nigeria through the outfit called Diplomatic Corp and Foreign National Protection Unit.

CAREER

Balogun became IGP in March 2002, replacing Musiliu Smith. He was responsible for overall police security during the April 2003 national elections, which were marred by reports of police abuses. In August 2003, Balogun presented a paper on “Nigeria: Electoral Violence and National Security” in which he advocated improvements such as use of national identity cards, mass education, electoral law reforms, citizens participation in politics, good governance and establishment of a constitutional court.

In December 2003, Balogun organised extensive security measures across Nigeria to ensure that there were no disturbances during the Commonwealth of Nations summit.

Following various incidents in 2004 where reporters were beaten and their equipment damaged by policemen, Balogun made apologies and promised that those responsible would be punished.

Towards the end of 2004, newspapers published allegations of corruption on a massive scale, asserting that Balogun had pocketed public money and taken bribes from politicians and criminals. These led to his forced retirement in January 2005.

MAJOR CHALLENGES

On 4 April 2005, Balogun was arraigned at the Federal High Court, Abuja on charges involving about N13 billion obtained through money laundering, theft and other sources.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission under Nuhu Ribadu brought 70 charges against Balogun covering the period from 2002 to 2004.

He made a plea bargain with the court in exchange for returning much of the property and money. He was sentenced to six months in jail.

He was released on 9 February 2006 after serving his sentence, part of it in Abuja National Hospital.

In November 2008 and again in February 2009, the Chairman of the House Committee on Police Affairs, Abdul Ahmed Ningi, asked the Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro, to provide details of the money recovered from Balogun, a request that he passed on to the EFCC chairman, Mrs Farida Waziri. However, the EFCC stated that they did not have records of the exact properties recovered from Balogun.

It was said that some of the houses had been secretly sold to certain individuals at give-away prices. In April 2009, the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs invited Balogun, Mike Okiro and Mrs Farida Waziri to explain how the N16 billion allegedly recovered from Balogun went missing.

May Mustapha Adebayo Balogun rests in perfect peace