03.08.2021 Feature SPOTLIGHT: Will ‘Good Guy’ Tunji Disu be Different from Abba Kyari?

Published 3rd Aug, 2021

By Damilola Ayeni

During the October 2020 #EndSars protests against police brutality in Nigeria, Tunji Disu, then head of the Police Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Lagos State, released his command’s ambulances to help protesters in need of medical care. Earlier, his officers had taken a woman in labour to the hospital after they found her husband looking for help on the road.  

Disu, the newly appointed head of Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and Deputy Commissioner of Police, was born in Lagos Island.

Following successful completion of primary school, he went to Mayflower Junior School, Ikenne, Ogun State; then Pobuna Secondary School, Epe; and Saint Gregory’s College, Lagos, where he obtained an SSCE certificate which qualified him to study English Language at the Lagos State University.

READ ALSO: IGP Replaces Abba kyari with Tunji Disu as IRT Head

After training at the Nigeria Police Academy, Kaduna, Disu served, first, as Cadet Assistant Superintendent (ASP) of Police. He was Aide-De-Camp to Bola Tinubu, a former Governor of Lagos State, and at different times DPO of several police divisions, including Ago Iwoye Division, Ogun State.

In 2005, he was deployed to Sudan as head of Nigerian Police contingent in an African Union Mission to quell crisis in Darfur. As a result of his exemplary feats in Darfur, he was, on his return into the country, made Officer-in-Charge (OC) of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Ondo State Police Command, and later OC SARS, Oyo and Rivers State.

As an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Disu led the police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Rivers and Lagos where he was eventually deployed to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), a special security outfit funded by the Lagos State Government, as commander.

Like almost every other unit of the Nigeria Police Force, the Lagos RRS had an unhealthy public image which Disu first addressed by naming his officers ‘The Good Guys’. The move was to let the officers understand that law enforcers could behave responsibly and be citizens’ friends while carrying out their activities. Disu’s officers operated with an unusual mindset and adhered to the concept of policing practiced in advanced countries.

Following trainings organized by the police chief, Lagos RRS officers were equipped with First Aid and CPR with which they administered initial treatments to citizens in an emergency. Disu ensured that the officers were rewarded handsomely for their good works to spur healthy competitions. For instance, officers who took the woman in labour to the hospital during COVID-19 lockdown were rewarded with cash gifts.

READ ALSO: Abba Kyari, the Police Chief Who Started the #EndSars Fire

While spelling out RRS officers’ duties in the morning, Disu would check their outlook and ensure they were properly dressed before dispatching them. As such, there were few complaints against the officers. Every complaint was also taken seriously and the erring officer sanctioned.

A brilliant and tech-savvy police chief, Disu has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State. He obtained a post-graduate Diploma in International Relations and Strategic Studies from LASU, and a certificate in Personal Protection from the United Kingdom.

Disu attended several local and international trainings, including Strategic Leadership Command Course, Police Staff College, Jos; Strategic Small Arms Smuggling Training, Botswana; Forensic Investigations and Criminal Intelligence Course, University of Lagos; and Internet Fraud training, Cambridge University, UK.

Among several professional affiliations, Disu is a member of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations, Chattered Institute of Personal Management and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

In his new role as IRT boss, he would replace Abba Kyari, a highly decorated Nigerian cop who was suspended on Saturday over his indictment in a recent FBI report on alleged fraud conspiracy.

Like Disu, Kyari is a former head of Lagos SARS under whose watch the unit garnered a reputation for notoriety which indirectly led to the weeklong #EndSars protest in the country.

While supercop Kyari has several allegations of human rights abuse, forced disappearances of people and extrajudicial killings hanging around his neck, Disu has a reputation for kindness and adherence to international policing standards. What is left to be seen is how the IRT will play out under his watch and whether he, despite his ‘good guy’ image, will conduct himself in office differently from Kyari, whose Instagram page was the stuff of celebrity dreams and who openly frolicked with men of questionable wealth.

Published 3rd Aug, 2021

By Damilola Ayeni


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