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FLASHBACK: In 2002, Obasanjo retired Musiliu Smith, new PSC chairman, after police strike

FLASHBACK: In 2002, Obasanjo retired Musiliu Smith, new PSC chairman, after police strike
May 24
16:21 2018

On Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Musiliu Smith, a former inspector-general of police (IGP), as chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) to succeed Mike Okiro, also a former inspector-general of police.

Senate President Bukola Saraki read Buhari’s letter seeking the confirmation of Smith’s appointment and those of three others.

Former President Olusegun obasanjo made Smith IGP on May 29, 1999 but fired him on February 1, 2002, when men of the Nigeria police force began a historic strike. The industrial action came as a surprise and made Obasanjo very angry.

The policemen decided to go on strike as a result of distrust.


After Smith took over from lbrahim Coomassie, who had held the post since 1993, the population of the police in Abuja was on the increase. Smith was said to have presented an idea that he believed would solve the accommodation problem facing policemen.

However, Obasanjo reportedly directed the IGP to allow policemen rent houses while the government made a refund. In a twist of event, the government reneged on its promise and policemen, who believed that their IGP had embezzled their housing fund, decided to embark on a nationwide strike.

Five days after the strike was called, Obasanjo retired Smith with six of his deputies. He was replaced with Tafa Balogun, whose career ended on a controversial note.



After Obasanjo disengaged Smith, Bola Tinubu, who was then the governor of Lagos, who accepted Smith’s security proposal, gave him an appointmengt. In 2007, Babatunde Fashola, former governor of Lagos state, appointed the former IGP as the head of the Lagos state security council, a body charged with the responsibility of reviewing and managing the state’s security system.

Smith carried on with his life, enjoying patronage from the high and mighty.



The paths of the former IGP and Obasanjo crossed again at a maiden biannual special training and capacity building programme organised by the assistant inspector-general of police (AIG) in charge of Zone II at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, March 2, 2017.

Obasanjo , who was the special guest of honour, lambasted the Nigeria police for “keeping him waiting” more than 90 minutes before the event started. He also took a swipe at the former IGP who was a guest speaker at the event.

He said: “Police must be aware and in touch with new developments in other parts of the globe. I can see my former IGP Musiliu Smith. Smith is completely out of date to give lecture on police duty. He has experience to share with you, but not on modern way of doing things. I don’t even know how digital you (Smith) are.”

Smith was born to the Smith family of Offin/Alakoro in central Lagos on April 17, 1946. His father, the late Liasu Akande Smith (MON), was the first surveyor general of Lagos state and a former national president of Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria while his mother was a staunch member of the society in her lifetime.


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