Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday fired the country's police chief and his six deputies following a rash of Islamist terror attacks. The sacking of the top brass also came a week after the main suspect in a Christmas Day bomb attack escaped from police custody, according to Reuters.
Last week, police arrested Kabiru Sokoto in connection with the Dec. 25 bombing. But their vehicles came under heavy gunfire when they were transporting Sokoto from police headquarters to his house in Abaji, and he escaped.
A statement from the presidency noted that Jonathan has approved the appointment of Mohammed Abubakar, 53, as acting inspector general of police. Abubakar's appointment is the first step toward revamping the police force and giving it a comprehensive reorganization, the office said.
Mr. Abubakar, who is currently an assistant inspector general of police, replaces Mr. Hafiz Ringim, who proceeds on terminal leave with effect from today, the statement reviewed by the media noted.
The statement added that the deputy inspectors have been approved for immediate retirement and a committee has been established to oversee the reorganization of the police force, according to the statement.
Abubakar has been in the force since 1979, according to Reuters, and like Ringim, he is a Muslim from the north. The north is where Boko Haram has carried out a majority of its violence. The militant group has claimed responsibility for several bombings in the northern city of Kano on Friday. Those bombings reportedly killed at least 185 people.
Reports are that Boko Haram also killed more than 500 people last year and more than 250 within the first weeks this year. Those people died in gun and bomb attacks.
Jonathan, a Christian from the southern oil-producing Niger Delta, has been heavily criticized for his failure to stop the increasing number of Boko Haram Attacks.
Jonathan has reportedly said that members of the sect have penetrated the security services and all areas of the government.
Nigeria's population is split between a Muslim north and a Christian south.