Pastor Bola Longe, a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police.
By Abasifreke Effiong & Prince Shonaye
AIG Bola Longe, rtd., one of Nigeria’s charismatic, revolutionary and ‘uncompromisingly radical’ cops has returned to the pulpit.
Bola Longe, with the full name, Adebola Emmanuel Longe, who burst one of the largest syndicates of railway line vandals in North Central Nigeria in 2021, retired from the service of the Nigeria Police Force last year after 33 years and eight months of meritorious service to his country.
The Osun born super cop has gone back fully back to his constant – the pulpit, that is where he is taking his rest. He was already a born again Christian before he joined the Nigeria Police Force in 1989. “I gave my life to Jesus Christ 43 years ago”, he said in an interview published earlier this year.
Bola Longe retired from the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG in-charge of Federal Operations, (Fed.Ops) Force Headquarters, Abuja.
A proud alumnus of Nigeria’s premier University, (University of Ibadan, UI), and the University of Lagos. Renowned student activist, a master of political science, peace and conflict expert, refined solicitor, investigator, mentor and pastor. Longe was one of the finest personnel in the Nigeria Police Force who served and left unblemished. Personnel who worked with him and under him said he stood tall and distinct in hard work, revolutionary in ideas, polite in speech, upright and forthright in service, liberal in commendation and inspiring in his leadership style.
In an interview he granted Gbenga Aderanti, published in The Nation newspaper (online edition) of March 12, 2022, AIG Longe said he has never taken a bribe in his over 33 years of policing. Only a few senior police officer can beat their chest and say they have never taken bribe their entire career life. How many public servants can put themselves out there, audaciously, for public assessment and critical scrutiny? Not many! It would require a true born again Christian like Longe who has mastered the art of contentment to turn down all forms of inducement when he is struggling with huge utility bills and double digit inflation. Longe resisted lashing down on such opportunities for the sake of his belief. He was simply putting himself out on a challenge when he declared that he has never taken a bribe. No one has challenged or controverted him. No one!
In that interview, Longe revealed three secrets to successful policing. He said prayers, intelligence, and proper use of personnel were the elixirs of his success. “I believe in the power of the most High God, who has all the leverages, all the aura, all the power; who controls everything and nobody controls Him. I used His power and His power worked for me…I based everything on prayer, on interaction with the members of the public, on intelligence, and then making [good] use of personnel, not demanding anything from them other than to maintain law and order and to protect lives and property, apprehend offenders and enforce all laws.”
Building a successful career and retiring with an undented record of service from the police force takes more than just mere discipline. One would need a deep social and spiritual discipline, self-determination that is kept under constant check, contentment, and a conscious longing for eternal life to overcome the tempting enticement, inducement and bribe from suspects, criminals and their accomplices who want to be let off the hook. Policing job is filled with booby traps. Many personnel have been caught by the neck, deep inside the cesspool of corruption. Public impression about the demand for, and taking of bribe by police personnel is strong. This could be one reason the police are constantly facing huge revile from the publics. Longe ended his career unnestled from his revolutionary philosophy of service and fanatism about righteousness. “I’m fanatical about my belief that policing should not be a mechanism for corruption, but should be a mechanism to liberate the people and provide the enabling environment for the actualization of the lives of the citizenry”, he said.
The fiery newspaper columnist, Segun Ayobolu, who was Chief Press Secretary to Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State, was Longe’s course mate during the undergraduate and graduate programmes at UI.
Ayobolu wrote in an article, “Still, some fine police cops”, published in August 2021, said Longe’s values and virtues remained unbendable and unchanging. He said Longe’s fierce disdain for any form of corruption was widely acknowledged in the [police] force. “Bola Longe was my course mate both during our first and second degrees in Political Science at the University of Ibadan. [He was] uncompromisingly radical and reflexively anti-establishment as a student…was one of the most charismatic and impactful presidents of the students union of the premier university.”
He remained a good ambassador of Christ in the line of duty – a duty laced with ethical dilemmas. Police officers who worked under him said he was brave, fair, humble, kind, tactful in wisdom, upright, reliable, honest and dignified.
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Longe worked in different departments in the Police Force including administration, intelligence, operations, legal, investigation and public relations. He took part in many operations in Nigeria and at the United Nations. He taught police personnel several aspects of intelligence at Detective College and Commands. During a United Nations peace-keeping operations in Monrovia, Liberia between 2005 and 2006, he served as legal advisor and advisor on intelligence at the Liberian Police College.
Longe made major cherry headlines as the Commissioner of Police in Nasarawa State, North-central Nigeria. Some of the major achievements the command made under his supervision was the rescue of the 20 FRSC officers who were kidnapped on their way to Enugu, the rescue and arrest of four suspects linked with the kidnap of the Nasarawa state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Mr. Joseph Masin; the clampdown on a syndicate specialising in vandalisation and sales of railway line and metal slippers belonging to the Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC. An aide to the Governor of Nasarawa state, three Chinese, manager of a Chinese firm operating in Abuja and Benin, police men, officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, staff of NRC were among those arrested in that “strategic anti-vandalism operation” supervised by Longe.
Bola Longe, before his retirement from the Nigeria Police Force.
Longe’s administration restored order to Toto local government area where kidnapping and banditry reigned supreme at the time. It crashed the surge in rape in Nasarawa metropolis, and burst the bubbles of cultism in Karu, Keffi, Nasarawa Eggon and Lafia. The Command said over 200 kidnappers and bandits were arrested in the 30 months he served as CP, and about 500 cultists were charged to Court.
Police Public Relations Officer in Nasarawa state, ASP Rahman Nansel, in an exclusive interview granted this newspaper recalled that many communities in Toto local government area were deserted before the arrival of CP Longe.
“AIG Bola Longe rtd., was deployed to Nasarawa state at a time when kidnappers and bandits reigned supreme and sacked an entire local government called Toto. Economic activities in Toto were crippled because of kidnapping and insurgency. A significant economic route, which is Nasarawa -Toto – Abaji road was deserted by commuters.”
“When he arrived after touring all the nook and cranny of Nasarawa state, from the towns to hamlets, and meeting with different groups of people residing in the state, he launched a security template against kidnapping. On the very first day of that operation, we arrested 35 suspected kidnappers, 25 others were arrested in a follow-up operation”, ASP Nansel recalled.
Longe was a motivation to the personnel he worked with. He was liberal in commendation of good character and outstanding performance. As CP in Nasarawa state while giving updates on the Command’s strategic anti-vandalism operations, he openly lauded one of his men, CSP Anietie Eyoh, who rejected N600,000 bribe offered by the legal adviser to a Chinese coy involved in buying of vandalised railway slippers. It is rare in regimented organisations to have a commander praise his junior officers openly. Longe never held back his praise for good conduct. He praised CSP Eyoh’s integrity before the full glare of the national press. Longe demonstrated urbane expertise in mobilising men and giving them the right motivation to work.
Pastor Bola Longe and his wife, Mrs. Chuza Abimbola Favour Longe
After chasing after lawbreakers, Longe is now actively longing to win souls for Christ and turning men away from their untoward ways instead of holidaying and working to make more money for himself. During last Easter, a friend shared an online flyer of a church programme where photo of the retired AIG and his wife, Mrs. Chuza Abimbola Favour Longe, were printed. On the flyer, the retired super cop has adorned a full ecclesiastical title. Pastor Bola Longe, a servant of God at the Redeemed Christian Church of God has lived a fully impactful. His life and influence, in great profusion, stream down from his days in the university to the police force and now the church. He served his country faithfully and God has given him peace and rest as he happily enthused: “I have been able to rest, sit down and do a critical appraisal of my country. I have been able to read comprehensively, and I have been able to pray to God on a daily basis as well.”
Longe retired into a happier life in Christ. Enjoy your rest, Christ ambassador.