Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria, 27th Dec 2019-it is not only that nothing has changed concerning the gross lop-sidedness in the promotions and postings in the Nigeria Police Force statutorily carried out by the Police Service Commission and the Inspector General of Police, but it also saddens our heart that such public office gross misconduct or abuse is deepening and getting messier, the Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law said today in a statement signed by Lawyer Chidimma Udegbunam, Lawyer Obianuju Joy Igboeli; and Emeka Umeagbalasi, a Criminologist; all principal officers of the Organization.
The misconduct is so deepening and getting messier that the PSC Chair dangerously continued with playing of ethnic card by favoring his own Southwest in the recent (20th and 21st Dec 2019) promotions while the IGP, on his part favored members of his own ethno-religious grouping in the postings following the promotions; especially by placing them in strategic and juicy positions and leaving others to ‘manage files and computers’.
‘Not extending such promotions to the rank of AIGs to get Southeast officers back into the plum rank is totally condemned; likewise the refusal of the IGP to correct the monumental imbalance in his recent redeployment of AIGs and State CPs. The despicable attitude of the IGP is a further indication of “I can do anyhow and nothing will happen; a dictatorial sobriquet”, Intersociety further protested. A saner IGP should have used the newly promoted CPs to address the monumental imbalance. As a matter of fact, there should have been deployment or posting of the newly promoted Southeast CPs as ‘serving State CPs in Nigeria’, the group added.
The PSC has also dangerously adopted ‘secrecy’ in its promotion of senior police officers (i.e. SP-CPs) whereby it only announces the number of such officers promoted without making their names and States of origin or profiles public including uploading them on the PSC’s official website to allow Nigerians query its actions so as to ensure statutory and constitutional conformity. The names of those promoted are now restricted to their beneficiaries and community of the Nigeria Police Force. As a matter of fact, the entire exercise is now riddled with armchair, secrecy and lopsidedness.
Instead of discharging their duties as strictly stipulated by the Constitution and the Acts of the National Assembly creating their offices and stipulating their functions and duties, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Retired IGP Musiliu Smith and the current IGP, Adamu Abubakar, both Muslims, are incorrigibly using their respective positions to play ethnic and religious card. This is more so when out of 37 serving State CPs in the country, only one is from the Southeast Region.
Recall that the PSC had at its 7th Plenary Meeting held on Friday, 20th and Saturday, 21st Dec 2019 approved the promotion of 40 Deputy Commissioners of Police to Commissioners of Police; 98 Assistant Commissioners to Deputy Commissioners and 150 Chief Superintendents to Assistant Commissioners of Police. A total of 335 Superintendents also had their promotions approved to the next rank of Chief Superintendents of Police. The PSC further claimed that the “promotions were strictly based on seniority, merit, availability of vacancies and clean record of service”.
Intersociety had on 2nd Dec 2019 written the PSC and the IGP strongly protesting the gross lopsided promotions and postings in the Force. We had further noted that the Southeast Region is facing a serious threat of elimination from the Force. The letters to the PSC and the IGP were backed with forensic statistics and expert solutions. Political leaders of the Southeast and strategic others were also brought in the know of the sad development and prayed to intervene or follow same up. We also requested for a policy waiver and special promotion to balance the monumental imbalance and give the brutally marginalized a sense of belonging and national identity.
However, in the list of the newly promoted 40 Commissioners of Police studied by Intersociety, nothing has changed. Also, in the list of the newly redeployed senior police officers such as AIGs and State CPs as announced by the IGP, the body languages of the PSC Chair and the IGP respectively manifested. In other words, the PSC Chair was caught in the analysis favoring his own Southwest officers in the promotions while the IGP favored his ethno-religious brothers in the postings or redeployments following the promotions.
For instance, out of the 40 newly promoted CPs studied and analyzed by Intersociety, 17 came from the Southwest Region where the PSC Chair comes from; out of which Ogun got six, Lagos four, Oyo two, Ondo two, Osun two and Ekiti one while Southeast (the most marginalized) got only five. With this, Southwest now has 29 serving CPs in the country. This further shows that the Region overshoots its regional average of 18 CPs with 11, while Southeast is under allocated or shortchanged with seven CPs; having only ten instead of 18.
It must further be informed that there were 85 serving CPs as at 20th Dec 2019 and by the end of Jan 2020, there shall be 112 serving CPs in Nigeria, with Southwest taking the lion’s share of 29 and Southeast paltry left with 10. A total of 13 CPs would have retired from the Force starting from Nov 2019 to end of Jan 2020. It must also be reminded that, till date, there is still no single Police AIG from the Southeast out of the 37 serving AIGs including 12 Zonal AIGs in the country.
Promotions and postings in the NPF are chronically and incurably characterized by armchair and vested interests. For instance, contrary to the PSC’s statement to the effect that “promotions were strictly based on seniority, merit, availability of vacancies and clean record of service”, the reverse was totally the case in the PSC’s recent promotions.
The list of serving DCPs, studied by Intersociety, from which the 40 new CPs were promoted clearly indicated that the promotions were done armchair, whereby Nos. ‘1-17’, ’20-28’ and ’30-43’ were randomly cycled and pronounced as ‘new CPs’, likewise CPs Usman Yusuf (Niger State) and Mohammed Adamu Aliyu Alhaji (Gombe State) who occupied Nos. 56 and 57. DCP Ebenezer Akintayo Ogunjobi, (No 19) had retired since 1st July 2019; likewise DCP Ita Okonkon Otu (No 29) who retired since 26th Sept 2019
Despite the fact that the PSC is statutorily structured to have nominated reps from each of the country’s six geopolitical zones so as to ensure fairness and sectional balancing in the recruitment and promotions in the NPF, but in practice, the reps particularly those of the Southeast are nothing but rubber stamps and pursuers of vested or selfish interests. The lukewarm attitude of the Southeast Govs who parade themselves as “Chiefs Security Officers” is also shocking.
The five newly promoted Southeast CPs and their retirement dates are Okoli C. Michael (Arondizogu, Imo State), retirement date: 25th July 2021; Ngozi Onadeko Vivian (Mbaise, Imo State), retirement date: 15th March 2023; Godwin Nwachukwu Enweonwu(Onitsha, Anambra State), retirement date: 6th June 2022), Josephine Ogechi Nna (Ideato, Imo State), retirement date: 5th June 2022 and Egbuka Edward Chuka (Mbaise, Imo State), retirement date: 15th March 2023. Among those promoted to the rank of CP are two Igbo-Delta citizens; namely Eboka Friday (Ika South, Delta State) and Celestine Amaechi Elumelu (Aniocha North, Delta State).
The struggle has just begun and we make bold to say ALUTA CONTINUA VICTORIAL ACERTA. In other words, it is struggle continue for victory is certain someday.