Posted by News Express | 27 March 2016 | 3,654 times
Painstaking research by the Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs) has exposed a shocking level of marginalisation of police officers from the geo-political zone by the Police Service Commission (PSC) under the watch of Sir Mike Okiro. “In the present composition of the NPF, senior police officers from the Southeast Zone are provocatively infinitesimal and acutely represented. For instance, out of about 400 serving Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs) in the NPF, only about 23 are from the Southeast Zone,” the coalition noted in a statement issued Saturday in Onitsha.
It also noted that “among 36 serving State Commissioners and that of the FCT, officers of the Southeast origin are not more than two, instead of statutory six,” adding: “The clear case in point was the recent promotion exercise announced by the Police Service Commission (PSC), made public on 23rd of March 2016 (effect from 18th of March 2016) in which 156 senior police officers including an AIG and 10 CPs were lopsidedly promoted in utter violation of the 1999 Constitution and multi socio-cultural composition of Nigerian State and its democracy. All the ten newly promoted CPs and one AIG are from the North.”
The statement was signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi for International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety); Comrade Aloysius Attah for Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO); Comrade Peter Onyegiri for Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA); Comrade Samuel Njoku for Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC (HRC); Justus Uche Ijeoma, Esq. for Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights (FJEDHR); Comrade Chike Umeh for Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW); Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. for Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF); Comrade Alex Olisa for Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF); Jerry Chukwuokolo, PhD, for International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (ITERSOLIDARITY); Evelyn Chinwe Eze, Esq. for Street Law Africa (LawAfrica); and Tochukwu Ezeoke, for Igbo Ekunie Initiative.
SBCHROs challenged “Southeast Political Leaders particularly the Governors, Senators and House of Reps Members . . . to intervene urgently and insist that henceforth every State particularly the Southeast States must adequately be represented in the ranks of serving ACPs, DCPs, CPs, State CPs, AIGs and DIGs and that the country’s 12 Police Zonal Commands must be headed by at least two officers from each of the country’s six geopolitical zones.”
According to SBCHROs, “There is strong evidence of structural violence going on in the Nigeria Police Force, directed against the senior police officers of the Southeast origin particularly in the routine promotion exercise handled by the Nigeria Police Service Commission (PSC). Apart from the above, such structural violence is also extended to senior officers of Southeast origin in the areas of posting and assignment of strategic police duties particularly as they concern the duties of Commissioners of Police of the State Commands, Commandants of Police SARS, SCIDs, Police Border Patrol, Police Airport Patrol, Police Marine Patrol, Police Highway Patrol, Port Authority Police, Police Special Protection Units, Police Anti Terrorism Squads, Police Anti Vandalism/Bunkering Squads, Police Mobile Force, Police Area Commands, Police AIGs and Police Zonal Commands (headed by AIGs).
“By the PSC Establishment Act of 2001, the responsibilities of promoting, posting, demoting and discipline of all police officers in Nigeria, other than the Inspector General of Police; are rested in the hands of the Police Service Commission (PSC). But in practice, the PSC acts according to the whims and caprices of the IGP and the President and members of his political cartel. Though the PSC Act created the body as a fully independent body with statutory tenure of office for its officers including its current Chairman, Retired IGP, Mike Okiro; but the Commission has failed woefully to assert its independence and impartiality. It has also reduced itself and its members to agents of political patronage and nepotism. It has further militarised, cabalised and sectionalised the Nigeria Police Force; moving it away from the original intention for creating the body; which is to civilianise the NPF and make the PSC a competent and formidable civilian oversight agency to reposition and intellectualise the Force as Nigeria’s “citizen-police service”.
“Pattern & Trend of the Structural Violence: At recruitment, seeming attempts are made by the PSC and the NPF to capture or include all the States and the six geopolitical zones. Yet in practice, some quotas allocated to some States and zones particularly the Southeast Zone are hijacked and filled with “foreign names” or names from outside the intended States/Zones. In some cases, those bearing the “foreign names” will be discreetly asked to adopt names common to the supposedly benefiting States/Zones (i.e. Mohammed Ibrahim will be changed to Emeka Okafor) and after a while, they will be asked to revert to their original names through court affidavits and media change of names.
“At promotion, while police officers from other zones particularly Northwest, North-Central, Northeast (particularly Muslims) and Southwest enjoy speedy and smooth promotions; officers from other zones particularly the Southeast are kept in one ranking for years (i.e. five to ten years or more) and by the time they get to conspicuous rankings, they have already exhausted their 60 years of retirement age or 35 years of service retirement age. Owing to this, many of them retire unannounced and no efforts are made by the PSC and the NPF authorities to fill the zonal vacuums so created. Few of them earn their promotions a year; in some cases, few months to their statutory retirements.
“In the present composition of the NPF, senior police officers from the Southeast Zone are provocatively infinitesimal and acutely represented. For instance, out of about 400 serving Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs) in the NPF, only about 23 are from the Southeast Zone. The Zone, geopolitically and constitutionally, is ought to be given at least 65 ACPs. Out of about 160 serving Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs), the number of them from Southeast is about ten. The Zone is ought to be given at least 25 DCPs. A number of these acutely represented ACPs and DCPs of the Southeast origin are already due for statutory retirement in few months time. Also, out of about 90 serving Commissioners of Police (CPs), only seven are from the Southeast Zone. They are: Chris Okey Ezike (Anambra State-retiring on 19th of March 2019), Emmanuel Ojukwu (Anambra State-retiring on 28th of October 2016), Damian Agba Chukwu (Imo State-retiring on 31st of April 2019), Peace Ibekwe-Abdallah (Anambra State-retiring on 1st of February 2021), Paul E. Okafor (Anambra State-retiring on 1st of April 2017), Valentine U. Ntochukwu (Anambra State-retiring on 4th of July 2018); and Nwodibo Ekechukwu (Imo State-retiring on 19th of February 2017). The Zone ought to be given 15 CPs.
“Among 36 serving State Commissioners and that of the FCT, officers of the Southeast origin are not more than two, instead of statutory six. Out of about 22 serving AIGs in the NPF, none of them is from the Southeast Zone. The only AIG from the Zone; AIG Ikemuefuna R. Okoye (Anambra State), who held briefly the position of AIG in charge of Zone 11 (Oshogbo); retired since 15th of June 2015. Among the 12 Zonal Commands of the Force in the country, headed by AIGs and presently dominated by northern Muslim officers, none is from the Southeast Zone. Among the seven serving Deputy Inspectors General of Police (DIGs), who also constitute the Nigeria Police Management Team headed by retiring IGP Solomon Arase; the only Southeast member of the team, DIG Chintua Amajor-Onu (Abia State) will be retiring on 12th of July 2016. She was born on 12th of July 1956 and enlisted into the NPF on 1st of December 1981.
“As if these were not enough, the structural violence policy targeted and directed at the Southeast Zone in the NPF has escalated, degenerated and worsened since the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari on 29th of May 2015. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, upon which President Muhammadu Buhari got elected and sworn in, clearly and unambiguously directed in her Section 14 (3) that “the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity; and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or any of its agencies”. The Constitution also in her Section 15 (5) prohibits and outlaws any form of abuse of public office and corruption, to the effect that “the State shall abolish corrupt practices and abuse of office”.
“The clear case in point was the recent promotion exercise announced by the Police Service Commission (PSC), made public on 23rd of March 2016 (effect from 18th of March 2016) in which 156 senior police officers including an AIG and 10 CPs were lopsidedly promoted in utter violation of the 1999 Constitution and multi socio-cultural composition of Nigerian State and its democracy. All the ten newly promoted CPs and one AIG are from the North, out of which, six are from the Northwest (Katsina State 3, Kano State 2 and Kaduna State one), three from Northeast and two from North-Central. Their biodata and service particulars as authoritatively researched and compiled for us by our coordinating group (Intersociety) are as follows:
10. Mohammed Uba Kura (AP30504), born on 17th of July 1960 in Kura LGA of Kano State (northwest), enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force on 15th of March 1988, promoted DCP on 1st of August 2012, promoted to CP on 18th of March 2016 and will be due for statutory retirement on 17th of July 2020.
11. Alhassan Mamuda (AP16206), born on 15th of September 1959 in Funtua LGA of Katsina State (northwest), enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force on 1st of August 1981, promoted to DCP on 1st of August 2012, promoted to CP on 18th of March 2016 and will be due for statutory retirement on 1st of August 2016.
“The Return of Hausa Constabulary in the NPF: “Hausa Constabulary” was a second name given to the Nigeria Police Force by early colonial masters in 1863. Its first name was “Consular Guard”, given to it in 1861. It was regularised by an ordinance in 1879 creating the “Lagos Constabulary”, which later led to creation of “the Lagos Colony Police Force” in 1896 headed by a CP. Part of the so called “Hausa Constabulary” later became “the Niger Coast Constabulary” in 1894, which featured prominently in the British Expeditions up to 1896. In the same 1896, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) branch of the Force was created. By 1900, “the Hausa Constabulary” in the north and remnants of the “Royal Niger Constabulary” were changed and formed into “the Northern Nigeria Police Force” and “the Northern Nigerian Regiment”. By 1906, “the Lagos Colony Police Force” and “the Niger Coast Constabulary” in the south were merged into “Southern Nigerian Police Force” and by 1914, following the amalgamation of “Nigeria”, all the police forces were merged into “the Nigeria Police Force”, with later enactment in 1930 of its mother-law, “the Nigeria Police Ordinance No 2 of 1930”.
“The “Hausanisation of the Force” was ended with appointment of two AIGs for Southern and Northern Regions to assist the IGP. The Aguiyi Ironsi Police Unification reforms, completed by Gen Gowon regime unified the present Nigeria Police Force and abolished proliferation of police forces by regions and local counties. To ensure the NPF was not dominated by one zone or section of the country on the altar of nepotism and favoritism, as it is presently the case; the NPF reformers enshrined the policy of geopolitical spread in the recruitment, promotion, posting and appointment of its officers. Today, the NPF has returned to dark era of “Hausa Constabulary”.
“It is, therefore, our firm and unequivocal demand that the structural violence under reference must be reversed by the PSC and the authorities of the NPF. It is socially calamitous and securitisation dicey for the people of the Southeast Zone, as endangered as they are in Nigerian Project, to continue to be schemed out of the mainstream of the country’s internal security arrangement, to the extent that none of their people is among the serving 22 AIGs or 12 Zonal Commanding Officers headed by AIGs.
“This is also not to talk of rapacious short-changing of the senior police officers of the Zone in other strategic commanding positions in the NPF such as the Port Authority Police, Border Police, Police Marine, Railway Police, Federal Highway Police, SARS, SPUs, Anti Terrorism, Anti Vandalism/Bunkering, Police Mobile Force, SCIDs, Police Area Commands, etc. The Southeast Political Leaders particularly the Governors, Senators and House of Reps Members are called upon to intervene urgently and insist that henceforth every State particularly the Southeast States must adequately be represented in the ranks of serving ACPs, DCPs, CPs, State CPs, AIGs and DIGs and that the country’s 12 Police Zonal Commands must be headed by at least two officers from each of the country’s six geopolitical zones.”
•Photo shows PSC Chairman, Sir Mike Okiro.
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