A Super Cop, Evangelist
The late Anthony Sawyerr remains one of the best police officers the Nigerian state has ever had and by his demeanor you will love the police force as a profession. Undoubtedly, he is the first of Bayelsans to have attained the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG).
Who Is AIG Anthony Sawyerr?
The late Anthony Sawyerr was from Sagbama community of Bayelsa state. He was an exceptional Police officer that kept footprints on the sands of time in the force. In 1966, he joined the force as a Constable and rose through the ranks and hit the zenith the Police Force career as Assistant Inspector General of Police in 2001. In the policing business which was the story of his life, he was a true professional that knew the job. Even as the Police earnings then were so small but it was enough for him and family.
He never dint his image or brought a bad name to the force; godliness and contentment was his disposition. Anthony Sawyerr represents the finest of the Nigeria Police Force. He retired unblemished in 2001. However, besides his policing job that he loved dearly, he was a practical Christian that kept God’s commandments to the fullest. He was a notable Jehovah Witness Evangelist that preached the gospel of Jehovah with pride and vigor in his prime, irrespective of his statue. As the children of Jehovah don’t die, they only sleep so did the elegant Anthony Sawyerr slept into eternity on the 18 November, 2020. He was 76 years old.
Born on the 16th of April, 1944 in Ndiamazi quarters in Sagbama town, Southern-Nigeria (now Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa state). His parents were predeceased Pa Cameroon Sawyerr, who was a staff of the Inland Waterways Department (IWD), and his mother, late Madam Erekabo Pereware Sawyerr (who hailed from Bolu-Orua) was a complete house wife. Together they provided a conducive ambience where young Anthony Sawyerr thrived as he evolved with time.
When he became of age to start school, his parents registered him as pupil of Local Authority Primary School, Sagbama town. It is interesting to note that the education of young Anthony Sawyerr was momentarily halted as a result of his father’s transfer to Lagos in 1952
Because of the transience of stations of his father as influenced by his work with IWD during the colonial period, young Anthony Sawyerr also moved to Lagos and continued his Primary education in Africa school, Apapa where he got his First School Leaving Certificate in 1958.
In 1959, he thereafter proceeded to Secondary Modern School, Uduophori for his Secondary School education and later attended United College of Commerce, Warri (formerly Mid-western Nigeria) where he completed his post-secondary education in 1965.
He got enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force in 1966 as a Constable and after the recruitment exercise he was posted to Central Police Station, Ibadan in the then Western region of Nigeria. As a Constable then, his duties entailed serving as a peace officer, making arrest of violators of the law and provision of security at the community level. The entirety of the scope of his duties centered on minor crimes. He worked dutifully and professionally all his stay in Ibadan.
In May 1970, he was promoted to the rank of a Corporal. He was obviously elated at his first promotion. This promotion meant that his hard work was not an exercise in futility. As a Corporal he served at the Central Police Station, Ibadan.
Thereafter, he proceeded to the Police College, Ikeja as Inspector. This was the turning point of his life. It was at this academy, he was taught academic and military exercises, among other rudiments Anthony Sawyerr showed great commitment to what he was being taught academically and militarily.
However, as the Cadet Inspector training was gradually coming to an end, he alongside other cadet inspectors were sent by the Police College, Ikeja, Lagos to the Citizenship and Leadership Training Center, Shere Hills Jos for further training. It was and has been a place where all cadet officers in the NPF are trained. His AP number was 22522.
Some of his contemporaries at the Police College, Ikeja include: the present Oba of Lagos, AIG Rilwanu Akiolu (rtd), Sunday Mayah (his best friend during his sojourn at the police college and now a Chief), AIG Okpaleke Julian, CP Ochuonu, CP Esiet, among others.
Post College Posting
He was deployed to Borno state in 1972 and where his life as an Inspector started in the NPF. In 1976, he was promoted to the rank of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). Thus, the commencement of his status as a Senior Officer in the NPF. Afterwards, in the year1980 he was then elevated to the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and designated to him was the office of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Potiskum, Borno state (now in Yobe state).
It was while serving as a DPO in Potiskum that he partook in the Advanced Detective Course in 1980. Sometime in 1982, he was posted to Rivers state from Potiskum. His station was located at Bori town, still holding the rank of a DPO. He got promoted to the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP) and thereafter posted as DPO at the Mile One Division, Port Harcourt.
While serving as a DPO in 1984, he attended the Intermediate Command Course. It was during this period that the Rivers state command where he was serving witnessed the appointment of a Commissioner of Police, Fidelis Oyakhilome as Military Governor of Rivers state.
In 1987, CSP Anthony Sawyerr was promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and transferred to Umuahia (then Imo state) as an Area Commander.
He was appointed member of the Imo state MAMSER Board, known in its acronym as Mass Mobilization for Self-Reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery, which was established by the President General Ibrahim B. Babangida led Federal Government in 1987. This was an exercise in mass orientation of Nigerians which was a recommendation of Political Bureau headed by Dr Samuel Joseph Cookey. In 1989, he was transferred to Anambra state police command and served as Area Commander Onitsha and Nsukka respectively.
Subsequently, in 1990, he was deployed to Benue state and served as Area Commander Gboko. Furthermore, ACP Anthony Sawyerr at this period, precisely December 1990 was elevated to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and was deployed to Benin city, where he serve in the Zonal Criminal Investigation Department (ZCID) in Zone 5.
In October 1991, he was transferred to Police College, Maiduguri where he served as Deputy Commandant of the College, with responsibility to recruit and train fresh intakes into the force.
Then in April 1994, Lagos state Police Command benefited from DCP Anthony Sawyerr’s expertise, as he served as DCP Administration, Lagos state Police Command under CP James Danbaba. During this period, Senior Police Officers had the privilege of having official quarters: No 26A Remi Fani Kayode Street, GRA, Ikeja was his official residence of DCP Sawyerr.
Eventually, he was promoted to the prestigious rank of Commissioner of Police. CP Anthony Sawyerr felt very overjoyed by this promotion, as the dream of every Senior Officer is to fly a pennant (flag) in his/her staff car, which his new status presents.
He was posted to Borno state and served as Commissioner of Police in April, 1995. This marked his third and last missionary journey to the North-East, Nigeria. As the number one cop in Borno state, he effectively and efficiently discharged responsibilities placed on his shoulders with the best of his ability and this was to the delight of the high command of the Nigeria Police. Among his novel contributions was the introduction of bus stops in and around Maiduguri metropolis to decongest traffic apart from the significant reduction of criminality.
In August, 1995, he was posted to Kogi state Police Command as CP, when Col Paul Omeruo served as Military Administrator of the “Confluence State”.
Shortly, September 1995, he was posted to the Force Headquarters, Kam-Salem House (named after the second IGP) Obalande, Lagos where he served as CP Admin, ‘A’ Dept.
Then, in 1999, with the return of democracy in Nigeria, he was posted to head the Kwara state Police Command as CP.
Subsequently, in March, 2000 he was posted to Ekiti state Police Command at the time when his Excellency, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adabayo was serving as Civilian Governor.
Before long, CP Anthony Sawyerr was promoted to the revered position of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in 2001. He was the foremost Officer to be elevated to such rank in Bayelsa state. He also served as the pioneer AIG in zone 10 Sokoto, comprising of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states in the North-west Nigeria. AIG Anthony Sawyerr served in this capacity for six months and retired unblemished on the 1st of August, 2001.
All the world’s a stage, and all the man and woman sincerely prayers; they have exits and their entrances; and one man in time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages. - Williams Shakespeare
Life After Retirement
It wasn’t doldrums for AIG Anthony Sawyerr while in retirement. From 2001 he ventured into many activities, he swiftly merged with his new found environment as he became a Director in Ine Oil Limited, Port Harcourt, Rivers state; Samfard Industries Limited Ota, Ogun state; CEO Tonibau Enterprises Limited and Erekabo Security Services Limited; Chairman, Board of Directors First International Academy, East West Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers state; among others. All these activities in his later years were efforts geared towards contributing his quota to nation building while in retirement. Suffice it to say, all the mentioned firms are still buoyant and impacting the nation because of the solid foundation he laid for the investments.
He was married to Helen Endeley in 1971. She is the daughter of the famous Francis Gbede Endeley of Sagbama. She was dependably allied to Anthony Sawyerr and also the love of his life. They went on to having Seven (7) blessed children together.
Anthony Sawyerr was a staunched Jehovah Witness. He was proud of it body and soul; His colleagues and friends overly can attest to that. However, he was baptized into the fold on 7th July, 1974 in far Northern Nigeria precisely in Kano state, North-west, Nigeria.
Job 14:13-15 13 O that in the Grave you would conceal me, That you would hide me until your anger passes by, That you would set a time limit for me and remember me! 14 If a man dies, can he live again? I will wait all the days of my compulsory service Until my relief comes. 15 You will call, and I will answer you. You will long for the work of your hands.
He was a zealous publisher who made sure the family came together every morning throughout the week to read the daily text and Bible daily.
Due to his zeal for Jehovah, he reached out for more privilege’s and because a Ministerial servant and later an Elder overseeing the Christian Life and Ministry in Waterfront Congregation. He also served in different committees of Jehovah’s organization, especially in the resolution of disputes between Jehovah’s witnesses and the local communities in Nigeria.
It was reported that AIG Anthony Sawyerr (Rtd) a hard working, self-reliant, trustworthy and a good man passed on to eternal glory on the 18th November, 2020 at the Federal Medical Center, Yenagoa, Bayelsa state after a brief illness.