Ibrahim Coomassie

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Ibrahim Coomassie
9th Inspector General of Police
In office
1993 – 29 May 1999
Preceded byAliyu Attah
Succeeded byMusiliu Smith
Personal details
Born(1942-03-18)18 March 1942
Katsina, Colonial Nigeria
Died19 July 2018(2018-07-19) (aged 76)
OccupationPolice officer

Ibrahim Coomassie (18 March 1942 – 19 July 2018) was a Nigerian police officer and the 9th Inspector General of Nigerian Police serving between 1993 and 1999, under the military governments of Generals Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar. He died on Thursday 19 July 2018 after a protracted illness. He was 76 years old.[1]


Ibrahim Coomassie was among the eldest sons of Malam Ahmadu Coomassie, an educationist and businessman who became a permanent secretary of the ministry of education in the Northern region.[2] Ibrahim Coomassie was born in Katsina State on 18 March 1942. He was educated at the Provincial Secondary School, Zaria, Barewa College, Zaria, the Detective Training College, Wakefield, UK and Washington DC in the United States.[3]

Inspector General of Police[edit]

In 1993, Ibrahim Coomassie was appointed Inspector General of the Nigerian police, succeeding Aliyu Atta.[4] In June 1994, president-elect M.K.O. Abiola was arrested without warrant and detained by the police. He was mistreated in prison, where he was held for four years before dying in June 1998. Although head of police, Coomassie evaded responsibility for the detention.[5]

In 1996, Coomassie launched an investigation into police actions during the military rule of General Ibrahim Babangida (1985–1993).[6] In July 1997, Coomassie said he wanted to question the American Ambassador and members of the US Embassy staff about a series of bombings of military targets. The government had accused the National Democratic Coalition of responsibility, and said publicly that they suspected American diplomats knew about the bombings in advance.[7]

In March 1998, Ibrahim Coomassie said that the press was misinterpreting a speech that head of state General Sani Abacha had made in November 1997. He said General Abachi had promised to grant amnesty to some prisoners, but not to release political detainees.[8] At a police graduation ceremony in July 1998, Coomassie warned the new officers against corrupt practices, and said he had ordered the removal of all police roadblocks. However, the police roadblocks continued.[9] In 1998, Coomassie observed that any time a citizen became a public figure, his first act was to ask for an orderly and policement to guard his house, as a status symbol.[10]

Sani Abacha died in June 1998, apparently of a heart attack. A federal government delegation led by Ibrahim Coomassie paid a formal condolence visit to Mrs. Abacha. During the visit, she accused a prominent member of the delegation of being responsible for Abacha's death, and asked Coomassie to arrest him.[11]

In January 1999, Coomassie was part of a delegation that flew to Libya, despite a UN ban on air travel to that country, and held talks with the Libyan Foreign Affairs Minister.[12] Ibrahim Coomassie retired from service and left with the Government of General Abdulsalami Abubakar in May 1999.[13]

Later career[edit]

In October 1999, government investigations into abuses by the Abacha regime, including the assassination of Kudirat Abiola (wife of M.K.O. Abiola) in 1996 and the suspected murder of Shehu Musa Yar'Adua in detention in December 1997, resulted in the arrest of Ibrahim Coomassie and other leading figures, including Mohammed Abacha, the dictator's son.[14] Coomassie was placed under house arrest.[15] Coomassie was reportedly scheduled to appear before the police's Special Investigation Panel. However, later that month, Information Minister Dapo Sarumi denied reports that Coomassie was under arrest.[16]

In August 2004, the Emir of Katsina appointed him to a committee to the development and growth of Jamaatul Nasir Islam's activities in the state.[17] He became a member of the board of trustees of the Arewa Consultative Forum for Katsina State. The forum's mission is to protect the interest of Northern Nigeria and promote healthy co-existence that will sustain the environmental quality, livability, and economic vibrancy of the region.[18] In September 2008 he suffered serious injuries in a car accident, and spent some time in intensive care.[19] In August 2009, he donated about a million Naira worth of laboratory science equipment to the Police Boys secondary school, Mani, in Katsina State.[20] He died on 19 July 2018


  1. ^ "Katsina mourns as Ibrahim Coomassie, ACF chairman dies - News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)". News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). 19 July 2018. Retrieved 20 July 2018.
  2. ^ L. Abbas FUNTUA (5 May 2008). "Life and time of Coomassie". Daily Triumph. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  3. ^ Augustine Adah and Morayo Badmus (15 March 2009). "In the News". Newswatch Nigeria. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  4. ^ Godwin Ijediogor and Samson Ezea (11 April 2009). "Politics of Who Succeeds Okiro". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  5. ^ "Abacha's henchman al-Mustapha sings briefly about "Abubakar-Diya Coup" plot, the killing of Abiola, NADECO and other issues". USA Africa Online. 27 November 2000. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  6. ^ William Reno (1999). Warlord politics and African states. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 203. ISBN 1-55587-883-0.
  7. ^ "Nigeria May Ask U.S. Ambassador About Bombings". New York Times. 17 July 1997. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  8. ^ "DETAINEES AND THE I-G". The Guardian. 16 March 1998. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  9. ^ "NIGERIA: SELECTED ISSUES RELATED TO CORRUPTION". Immigration and refuge board of Canada. January 1999. Archived from the original on 1 January 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  10. ^ Lone Lindholt (2003). Human rights and the police in transitional countries. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 69. ISBN 90-411-1781-4.
  11. ^ Mudiaga Ofuoku. "Abacha's Last Days". OnlineNigeria. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  12. ^ "Libya: News and Views". Libyanet. January 1999. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  13. ^ "Response to House of Representatives' Allegations by President Olusegun Obasanjo". Dawodu. 7 September 2002. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  14. ^ Europa Publications Limited (2003). Africa South of the Sahara. Routledge. p. 782. ISBN 1-85743-131-6.
  15. ^ Neilan, Terence (19 October 1999). "NIGERIA: NEW CRACKDOWN". New York Times. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  16. ^ "NIGERIA: IRIN News Briefs". UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA – AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER. 20 October 1999. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  17. ^ Jare Ilelaboye (14 August 2004). "Katsina Emir Inaugurates JNI Committees". This Day. Archived from the original on 24 August 2005. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  18. ^ "Executive Officers". Arewa Consultative Forum. Archived from the original on 27 June 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  19. ^ Lawal Saidu (18 September 2008). "Nigeria: Coomassie Critically Injured in Accident". Leadership (Abuja). Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  20. ^ "Former IGP Coomassie Donates Equipment To Police School". Nigeria Police. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 26 November 2009.[dead link]