The Nigeria Police Force is bereaved. The demise of a former Inspector-General of Police, Mustapha Balogun popularly known as Tafa Balogun during the week, elicited flurry of reactions especially from kinsmen and associates.
He died at the age of 74 after a brief illness, a few days before his 75th birthday on August 25.
Balogun was the 21st Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and replaced Musiliu Smith in March 2002.
He also made history as the first IGP to serve a prison term. After the numerous travails he experienced over corruption charges, Balogun remained silent and went off public radar.
But in 2020, Balogun emerged from his hiding hole, after he was installed as the Oluomo of Igbomina in Ila-Orangun at the palace of the Orangun of Ila, Alayeluwa, Oba Wahab Oyedotun, Bibire II
The installation had in attendance several eminent personalities including traditional rulers and Balogun’s admirers.
The deceased was born on August 8, 1947, at Ila-Orangun in Osun State. He attended the University of Lagos, graduating in 1972 with a B.A. in Political Science. He joined the Nigeria Police Force in May 1973.
Balogun was a member of the cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Course 3. During his service as a police officer, he gained a Law degree from the University of Ibadan.
After working in various positions around the country, he became the Principal Staff Officer to former Inspector-General of Police, Muhammadu Gambo.
From Principal Staff Officer, he became a Deputy Commissioner of Police in Edo State. He was appointed as the first Commissioner of Police in Delta State and also served as Commissioner of Police in Abia State.
He was later appointed as Assistant Inspector General of Police in A.I.G Zone One Kano. He held the position until he was promoted to Inspector General of Police on 6 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.
Balogun during his tenure, dismissed over 1,200 police officers for various acts bordering on official corruption in his three-year tenure.
On 4th April 2005, Balogun was arraigned at the Federal High Court, Abuja, for the stealing and laundering of over $100 million from the Police treasury in his three years as IGP
The Nuhu Ribadu-led Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had prosecuted Balogun on eight count charges bordering on diversion and embezzlement of public funds.
In 2005, after pleading guilty to the charges levelled against him, a judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, Binta Nyako sentenced Balogun to six months imprisonment after he had spent 67 days in custody of the EFCC.
During one of the numerous proceedings, Balogun reportedly collapsed from his seat at the Abuja High Court, Wuse, gritting his teeth, clenching his fist and in pains before he went stiff. Although his eyes were closed, he was observed breathing spasmodically.
He was later released on February 9, 2006, after serving his sentence; he spent part of it at the National Hospital in Abuja.
Mourning Balogun’s death, President Muhammadu Buhari condoled the family, friends and associates of the former IGP.
He said: “He also mourns with the Nigeria Police Force, an institution Balogun spent the better part of his life serving
“The President recalls that Tafa Balogun, during his tenure as IGP, did his utmost to ensure that the police performed its statutory responsibilities under a democratic dispensation; and his penchant for boosting the morale of officers and men in the Force has been acknowledged by those who served under him.
“President Buhari’s thoughts are with the family, the government and people of Osun State, as well as colleagues and former colleagues of the deceased police chief.
“He prays for the peaceful repose of the soul of the departed.”
Also, Osun Governor Gboyega Oyetola also expressed saddens over the demise of the former Inspector General of Police.
He said: “The late retired police officer contributed in no small measure to the nation’s security during his years of meritorious service in the Force including when he served as the IGP between 2002 and 2005.
“On behalf of the government and the good people of Osun, I join family members, friends, the Nigerian Police Force and the people of Ila-Orangun to mourn the death of retired Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun.
“I pray Almighty Allah overlook his shortcomings, admit him into Aljanah and grant his family and loved ones the strength to bear his demise.”