Brief Biography Of A Trailblazing, Upright, Quintessential Officer, Benevolent Gentleman; High Chief SAMUEL DIEPRIE FETEPIGI-EBIFA (1931-2019) Commissioner of Police (Rtd.) In order to capture the essence of the dearly departed S. D. Fetepigi-Ebifa, rules of syntax and grammar will have to breached to accommodate so many superlatives in one paragraph. Here was a man who defied all odds, worked his way to the top, devoted his life to a chosen career, remained a rallying point for family, a cheerful giver to the needy, and repository of the history, cultural nuances, and language of his beloved Nembe ibe. Such was his disposition that he lit up his environment, brought smiles to the lips of the beleaguered, radiated joy, and gave hope to the forlorn. Here was a man who virtually lived his life for others; his colleagues with whom he demonstrated the real meaning of espirit de corps, his siblings with whom he demonstrated the real meaning of brotherly love, his neighbours with whom he demonstrated the real meaning of good neighbourliness, his friends with whom he demonstrated the real meaning of loyalty, and his brethren in the Lord’s vineyard with whom he demonstrated the real meaning of worship in spirit and in truth. He made no secret of the fact that the secret to his survival, protection, direction, and resilience in a hostile environment was his belief and adherence to God as his only source of power. For him, the fear of God was indeed the beginning of wisdom. As a remarkably honest police officer, he worked his way to the top, devoid of godfathers, but through the dint of hard work, diligence, dedication, and reliability going back to the colonial era. In all, he never forgot his roots and was always willing to assist, counsel, and direct his compatriots from the original Rivers State who came calling. Even the doors to his home were always open to first time visitors from his homestead to any town he was posted to. BIRTH AND PARENTAGE THE LATE HIGH CHIEF SAMUEL DIEPRIE FETEPIGI-EBIFA (Compol Rtd.) was born on the 8 th of November, 1931 in Egwanga Opobo (now Ikot-Abasi in Akwa-Ibom state) to Alfred Emmanuel Fetepigi and Marie Ransolinah Dionmiegha Fetepigi (nee Iwowari). His paternal grandfather, Fitapu was the first son of King Amaran of Kaiama in Kolokuma-Opokuma Local Government Area in Bayelsa State. Fitapu was sent to Brass for protection following conflict/war at Kaiama and he lived and grew up in Brass and became a successful trader. The name Fitapu was changed by the Nembe Chiefs to Fetepigi for ease of pronunciation. His paternal grandmother hailed from Waribugo family in Cameron Group of Houses of Cameron-Ama in Twon Brass. His maternal grandfather was Chief Alfred Omie Iwowari, the son of Chief Iwowari and Aganaba Igbo Christiana. Alfred Omie Iwowari begat Marie Ransolinah Dionmiegha Iwowari who was the mother of Chief Samuel Dieprie Fetepigi-Ebifa. His maternal grandmother was Tuboesinyun the daughter of Ine Dauerigha Duguruyai - the younger sister of King Ebifa. Tuboesinyun had several children amongst whom was Marie - the mother of the late Chief Itongha George Fetepigi and the late Chief Samuel Dieprie Fetepigi-Ebifa EARLY LIFE & EDUCATION His early life was difficult and eventful. In 1939 (when he was less than 10 years old) his mother took him to Nembe from Opobo for the funeral of her late Uncle Michael Olu Iwowari (the father of the late King Ralph Iwowari). On returning from the funeral, circumstances beyond her control compelled her to go back home to Nembe ostensibly to return to Egwanga Opobo later; this however never happened. She resorted to petty trading for his schooling and upkeep. His elder brother Itongha George Fetepigi sent a monthly allowance of ten (10) shillings for his schooling. He started school at the Native Authority School in 1940, however in 1941, six months later, the school was closed down; he then proceeded to Zion Mission School also known as Harry’s School. In 1942, he attended Bassambiri Clan School (whose proprietor was Samuel Ovuru) where he had standard two. In 1944-1946 he went to Swedenburg (New Church Mission) School where he had Standard Five (5) and in 1949, he attended St. Luke’s School Ogbolomabiri where he obtained Standard Six (6). In 1950, he taught in Swedenburg School Bassambiri and in early 1951 he was to go to Owo for Teacher Training but came to Lagos to join his elder brother Itongha George Fetepigi who had returned from oversees and was living and working in Lagos. May 1951, while waiting to get a job he learnt typing and short hand from one Mr. Uwache; a verbatim reporter with National Assembly, Race course, Lagos In September 1951, he sat for the entrance examination into the Police College Ikeja. Out of the One Hundred (100) Candidates who sat for the examination, twenty (20) passed with flying colours and came first. Training started on the 1 st of October, 1951. CAREER IN THE POLICE “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upwards in the night.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow He enlisted into the Nigerian Police Force as a Recruit Constable and was trained at the Police College, Ikeja. Following his training, in April 1952, he was posted to Wharf at Marina as a Third Class Constable and while working as a Constable, in order to enhance his prospects he was also reading and eventually sat for and passed the General Certificate of Education (GCE). In early 1954, he was promoted to the rank of second class constable and in late 1954 (August-December) he went for a refresher course at the Police College Ikeja. Following completion of the refresher course in January 1955, he was posted to ‘A’ Division Lagos and in August 1955, he was posted to Force Headquarters FCB. In October 1956 he was transferred to Federal Territory ‘D’ Division, Lagos and in July 1957 he was posted to ‘A’ Division, Ebute Ero where as a Constable he was given the responsibility to keep exhibits, a duty meant for a Corporals. He became Lance Corporal October 1957 and Corporal in June 1958. In August 1958, he attended a refresher course at the Police College Ikeja following which in October 1958; he was promoted to the rank of a Sergeant. He was posted to Lion Building and performed the duties of an Inspector as a Sergeant. In July 1959, he attended Inspectorate Promotion course at the Police College Ikeja and following the completion of the course he was promoted to the rank of Sub-Inspector of Police on the 1 st of October 1959. He was then posted to Apapa Police Station, Crime Division. In November, 1959, he was posted to Police College Ikeja as a Lecturer and he was there until November 1961, when he was transferred to Federal Territory MID Ojota, Lagos. In April 1963 he attended detective training course at Yorkshire in the United Kingdom and on his return in July 1963 he was promoted Acting ASP and Substantive ASP in November 1964. He worked at Lion building in Operations and was the Aliens Officer. He was the last uniformed officer to work in this position. In November 1969, he was promoted to the rank of DSP and in June 1970 he was posted to ‘A’ department, Lagos. In August 1971 he was transferred to Mid-western State where he worked in Obiaja station in Afemume Onwan in Ishan Province. In December 1971 he was transferred from the Mid-western state to Lagos and was posted to Force CID Alagbon Ikoyi, Lagos. In July 1972 he was promoted to the rank of Superintendent of Police. Between 1972 and early 1975 he was posted to Lagos State and worked in Lion building in the Finance section. In April 1975 he was promoted to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police and in October 1975 he attended the Royal Institute of Public Administration in London. On his return from London in December 1975 he worked in various Police stations including Apapa and Ajegunle. In 1976 he was awarded National Republic and General Service medal. In October 1977 he was posted to Bar-beach Police Station on Victoria Island where he was the DPO. In 1979 he was promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police and in 1982, he was promoted to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police. In April 1983 he was transferred from Lagos to Force Headquarters as DC Records and Computer Section and in May 1983 he was posted to Transport Office FHQ’s Lagos. In 1985 he was promoted to the rank of Commissioner of Police and was posted to FCT as Commissioner of Police. In December 1986 he was posted to FHQ’s Lagos as Commissioner of Police in the Directorate of Training. On the 1 st of April 1988 he retired voluntarily on account of the years of service having put in the statutory thirty five years. He was the first Substantive Commissioner of Police of Ijaw extraction; he served meritoriously with honour and integrity. LIFE AFTER RETIREMENT High Chief Samuel Dieprie Fetepigi-Ebifa retired from service on the 1 st of April, 1988 but remained active. He was retired but not tired. He was a security consultant to many organizations and servicing companies and was involved in feasibility studies for such organizations and conflict resolution between such establishment and their host communities. He was a committed member of the Association of Retired Police officers of Nigeria (ARPON) Lagos State Chapter and was involved in the activities of the association. He was the chairman of this association for several years (from 2010-2017) until he handed over to the present chairman. Mr. Aniefiok U. Essiet Compol (Rtd) who with other members of ARPON Lagos State Chapter have been very helpful to the family since his demise. THE BECOMING OF A CHIEF In 1960, Berema one of the Children of Ine Daurigha Diyuruyai was Chief Diyuruya. At that time there was no Chief Ebifa and so he (Berema) wanted either Itongha George Fetepigi or his brother Samuel Dieprie Fetepigi to be Chief Ebifa. However at this time the two brothers were in their prime building a career so they declined and Itongha Goerge Fetepigi nominated Pedie Numofagha to be Chief Ebifa. In 1995 the two brothers had both retired from service and took up personal chieftaincy titles-Chief Itongha and Chief Dieprie respectively however there was no Ceremony of installation as there was no King in Nembe Bassambiri at the time. In 2005, long after Chief Pedie Numofagha-Ebifa and Chief Itongha George Fetepigi-Itongha had died and there was a king on the throne in the person of Ralph Michael Iwowari, Samuel Dieprie Fetepigi took up the title of Ebifa and became Chief Samuel Dieprie Fetepigi-Ebifa and held that title until his death on the 10 th of August 2019. Chief Samuel Dieprie Fetepigi-Ebifa was a peace maker, bridge builder and a helper and his whole life was a demonstration of these. He lived for others and there was no one that God brought his way that he did not impact on positively. In fact he operated effectively in the Ministry of Helps. He was a giver and this he continued to do until his last days. SOCIAL & FAMILY LIFE As a growing child and a young adult he lived with a highly restrictive mother who would not allow him to mix freely with other children perhaps because she had only two children and the senior brother, Itongha George Fetepigi had left for the city in search of greener pastures. Chief Samuel Dieprie Fetepigi-Ebifa was endowed with beauty and elegance; he was indeed fearfully and wonderfully made; he was loved by all and was highly likeable. He was indeed a wonderful family man who loved and cared for his children and he made sure that they all had the basic foundation – Education; on which they have continued to build up to where they are today. The first of them Munasuoyun pre-deceased him by a few years and so he is survived by Emmanuel, Tuboesinyo, Ine, Inatimi and Amiete. By the grace of God they are all graduates and are thriving in their chosen fields of endeavour. He was a very happy and proud father and he was quick to introduce them at every opportunity. CHRISTIAN LIFE Having seen all, done all and enjoyed all there is to enjoy in this world and having been through rain and shine, thick and thin and seeing that life is like a fleeting shadow, vanity and vexation of spirit, particularly in the years of active service; in the evening of his life, he became pious and dedicated his life to his creator who had given him the privilege to live for this number of years – Eight Seven (87) years. Particularly worthy of mention, here is the man God brought into his life on the person of Pastor Isiaku Alkali Sambo who has indeed watched over him as a member of his flock. That he was humble, kind, unassuming, incorruptible, and courageous did not shield him from the cruel blows of fate and being human. For instance, at the peak of his service to the nation in 1977, he underwent a career-threatening spinal surgery. To the glory of God, he survived, recovered fully, and went back to work. Thereafter, in 2001, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and to the glory of God, he made full recovery. There were several other close calls from which God pulled him back from the brink. And then in August 2019, he felt unwell, went for his routine cardiology checkup and was admitted in the hospital for observation. He was in good hands, and was buoyed by the usual support of his loving family, siblings, children, nephews, nieces, grand- children, and all. But this time, he heeded the final call from his creator and breathed his last on the 10 th of August, 2019. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Chief Samuel Dieprie Fetepigi-Ebifa came on the world stage and he played his role. He lived well, and acknowledging that it is more blessed to give than to receive, he lived for others and he has left the stage, gone home; yes, gone home to rest. Chief Sammuel Dieprie Fetepigi- Ebifa; a consummate Officer and a Gentleman! We will miss you dearly, Rest in Peace Daddy!