Some retired police officers and family members have described the late former Inspection-General of Police (I-GP), Tafa Balogun, as one of the best cops Nigeria ever produced.
The retired officers paid glowing tributes to the late Mr Balogun in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday at his Ikoyi, Lagos residence.
Many said Mr Balogun, who was convicted for stealing and money laundering during his tenure as IGP, was one Inspector-General of Police that brought great reforms to the force.
Tunde Alapinni, a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) and one-time Force Spokesperson, said the impact made by Mr Balogun could not be ignored.
Mr Alapinni said that Mr Balogun was devoted to the transformation of the police and its personnel.
In his own tribute, a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), Waheed Kassim, described the late Mr Balogun as a dear brother and friend, stressing that his death was shocking.
For David Omojola, it was too early for Mr Balogun, whom he described as his “Big Boss’’, to leave this earth suddenly.
“However, we are consoled that he impacted positively on our lives. His tenure as I-G witnessed tremendous and good policing,’’ Mr Omojola said.
Edward Ajogun, a retired Commissioner of Police (CP) and one- time Personal Assistant to Mr Balogun as IGP, said his former boss was always thinking positively about the Nigeria Police Force and security of Nigeria.
Mr Ajogun said that Mr Balogun brought lots of reforms into the police including the creation of female mobile police.
He also introduced computer training for officers, mass promotion for officers stranded for years and ensured that officers were promoted according to seniority.
He said that under Mr Balogun, the Force had credible staff list which was used for promotion, stressing that the late IGP was a unifier, encouraging officers to work as a team.
The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Abiodun Alabi, described late Mr Balogun as a visionary leader and a mentor to many retired and serving officers.
Mr Alabi said that anytime he visited the late IGP, he always drew attention to how best Lagos should be policed.
“The Force will miss his wealth of experience. It is his mentorship that has piloted some of us to where we are today in the Force,’’ Mr Alabi said.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State CID, Fayoade Adegoke, described the late IGP as, “a great dad, benefactor, mentor, super cop who revolutionised the Force as an IGP.’’
The first son of the deceased, Abayomi Balogun, said that his father never changed one bit before his death as an advocate of doing anything that was right.
He said many people misunderstood his father as a strict person, stressing that members of the family were not exempted from such strictness.
He described his father as a brilliant officer, father, who always attracted standing ovations at occasions, local or international wherever he delivered speeches or lectures.
The second daughter of late Mr Balogun, Bolale Balogun, said her father would be greatly missed for many things, including food recipes, words pronunciation, reading and responsible behaviour.
“My father taught me that there is no alternative to success than to follow due process in all things.
“He made me tough like himself. If he wants to punish you for doing wrong, it is 24 strokes of the cane; because of this, no one dares get into daddy’s trouble,’’ she recollected.
The former police boss died at Reddington Hospital in Lagos on Thursday night.
He will be buried on Saturday in Osun. He was Nigeria’s 21st indigenous Inspector-General of Police. He served as IGP during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He joined the Nigerian Police Force in May 1973 as member of Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Course 3.
Mr Balogun attended the University of Lagos and graduated in 1972 with a B.A. in Political Science.
He worked in various police commands and rose through the ladder to become IGP.
Mr Balogun was at a time the Principal Staff Officer to former Inspector-General of Police, Muhammadu Gambo, and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Edo, and pioneer Commissioner of Police in Delta.
He was also CP in Rivers and Abia states.
Mr Balogun, a fellow of the premier highest military institution in Nigeria, the National War College, later became an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone One, Kano, from where he was named the 21st IGP of Police on March 6, 2002.