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EXCLUSIVE: Ex-IG Ibrahim Idris returns to village as new wife pockets family assets in Abuja

Mr. Idris had a rough tenure as police inspector-general, but his retirement has proven even more bewildering for his family.

• October 27, 2020
Police IG Ibrahim Idris and wife, Asta
Police IG Ibrahim Idris and wife, Asta

Ibrahim Idris has seen better days, and his friends and family are trying to help. Yet they’re conflicted on where to begin. 

Within two years, the former police inspector-general has gone from being amongst Nigeria’s most powerful to freeloading in the palace of emir of Bida, Peoples Gazette can report based on information from police and family sources.

Mr. Idris’ family accused Asta, a retired police helicopter pilot he married in 2017, of taking over the assets he had laboured to acquire all his life; while also ruining his life by subjecting him to physical and psychological ordeal.

They have now triggered a judicial process to get Mr. Idris out of the relationship. But, first, they want to ensure that his assets are not entirely depleted before the final court resolution on the marriage.

In an interview, Mrs. Idris admitted to the Gazette that a divorce process was underway, but said she was still in love with her husband and family assets were properly preserved.

Yam and oil diplomacy

The crisis between Mr. Idris and his wife has brewed modestly since their elaborate wedding ceremony in early October 2017. Top politicians, including Rochas Okorocha, were present at the event when the former police chief received blessings for his new wife from Southern Kaduna.

The ceremony was held barely a few months after Mr. Idris started dating the then-deputy police superintendent who trained at the aviation college in Kaduna. 

Mr. Idris, 61, sought to quickly elevate his newfound lover as a police superintendent, but this was frustrated by the service commission, police sources said. Mr. Idris then asked her to abandon her career altogether in the police pilot wing under operations department, sources said.

He subsequently took her as his new wife and rented a new apartment for her in Abuja. A few months after his new marriage, Mr. Idris had a clash with his first wife, a career legal practitioner and head of police wives association at the time, sources said. 

Mr Idris asked the first wife to move out of the official police quarters the family was occupying in Maitama at the time, after which the new wife moved in.

Prior to his retirement, Mr. Idris had acquired new assets, moving into one of them when he left official police quarters for the new inspector-general in January 2019.

But Mr. Idris’ family said he never enjoyed his marriage to Asta, and sought regularly to punish the former police chief with physical and mental assault. 

Asta Ibrahim Idris
Asta Ibrahim Idris

“Every time she would lock him inside a room,” a family source said. “After many hours and noises from our brother, she would then feed him yam and palm oil to calm him down.” 

The family sources, who spoke under anonymity because of the ongoing divorce, said Mrs. Idris’ treatment of her husband left him “physically and mentally” ill for too long. 

The families said Mr. Idris was finally rescued three weeks ago from their home on Nile Street, Maitama, and taken to his hometown in Bida for “proper care.” 

“We got the blessings of the emir to bring him back to the village,” a source said. “And the emir has been taking care of his feeding allowances.”

Mrs. Idris was also accused of changing titles of assets acquired by her husband and they had to use the police to recover some cars from her recently.

“When we brought the former IG back to the village, we took him to elders for traditional healing,” a source said. “She had cleaned him out of everything — mentally, physically and financially.” 

A husband stolen

Family sources said they had kept him in a safe place pending the conclusion of divorce at a court in Abuja. 

A police source said it was appropriate for the family to claim the three children they both had together to prevent them from emulating Mrs. Idris’ controversial lifestyle.

“She scattered the police officers’ wives association while she was then, which led some members to boycott activities of the organisation,” a police source said. “It is okay for the court to give the custody of the children to the husband’s family.”

Asta Ibrahim Idris
Asta Ibrahim Idris arriving Edo state to donate items by the Police Officers Wives Association (POWA) to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

But Mrs. Idris insisted she had no issues with her husband but only his family. She also said she has been working to rescue her husband from his family, whom he accused of “stealing” him from her.

“As far as I am concerned, there is no divorce,” Mrs. Idris said. “They brought court papers but my husband said he did not approve any divorce papers.”

Mrs. Idris also said she sent three cars to her husband when some family members came to ask for it, although family and police sources strongly refuted this, saying the vehicles were forcibly recovered from her.

She said the family “locked” her husband “in the house and ran away with the keys” in the village, making it difficult for her to return him to their family assets she had been preserving in Abuja.  

“The lawyers said that they cannot deprive him of his constitutional rights to move about,” she said. 

She told the Gazette she has not seen her husband since he was removed from Abuja three weeks ago, but she did not clarify where she was when her husband was being moved. Family sources Mr. Idris was locked at home and alone when they rescued him in Abuja three weeks ago.

“The family people have issues with me but me and my husband have no issues without ourselves,” Mrs. Idris said. “I am still in my husband’s house.”

“They served me a court order that there is a divorce and I told them I am still married to my husband,” she said. “They cannot do this.”

Every little helps

Mr. Idris’ relatives and Force Headquarters associates told the Gazette they have been working to see how they could help improve his life.

His tenure as inspector-general between March 2016 and January 2019 was sullied by a pack of low points for the police. 

Several citizens were arrested in brazen abuse of fundamental rights and corruption cases against him and other police chiefs were summarily hushed. 

But police chiefs told the Gazette they could not abandon Mr. Idris despite his “failed leadership” and had already intervened in the matter by getting Inspector-General Mohammed Adamu to frustrate further depletion of his assets by his wife.

Asta Ibrahim Idris and Johnson Kokumo
Asta Ibrahim Idris and Johnson Kokumo, former Edo police commissioner.

Police sources said Mr. Adamu had already helped secure the release of three vehicles from Mrs. Idris, including a bullet proof SUV.

“We want to help him because we believe every little helps, but we are confused about where to start because of how bad his life has become,” a police chief said. “The police blocked Asta from accessing a bank account with some money inside, but we are not even sure if this will be enough to help our former oga’s life.”

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