Posted by News Express | 21 August 2014 | 4,709 times
A strong case was today made for the zoning of the position of DIG Operations to the South-East by the police management as a way of compensating the zone for being left out in the appointment of service chiefs and for being shortchanged in the appointment of Commissioners of Police.
The case was made by the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) in a statement on the latest promotions announced by the Police Service Commission (PSC).
While commending the PSC for its attempts to correct the alleged injustice meted out to the South-East in the police, Intersociety said its best was not good enough. According to the group in the statement issued this morning in Onitsha, “Sectional domination that still grips other important operational departments or units within the Force especially in the area of manning of zonal and State commands . . . should be equitably addressed.”
Intersociety specifically demanded “that DIG Hilary Opara should be assigned to Operations Department as DIG in charge. This demand of ours stems from the fact that no person from the Southeast zone is one of the Service Chiefs of the Federation.”
The group warned that “promoting officers of the Southeast to higher police positions in the twilight of their statutory exit from the Force will no longer be condoned. They should be promoted as and when due alongside their counterparts from other federating zones excluding those indulging in gross unethical conducts in the line of their official duties. Gender injustice especially in DIG and CP ranking as well as top operational duty assignments should be frontally addressed.”
Intersociety similarly argued that “the PSC it failed woefully in the DIG ranking as no woman occupies the position of DIG despite the fact that women are not new comers in the Nigeria Police Force having joined the Force in 1955.”
Entitled ‘Police Promotions: Intersociety Celebrates Victory Against Ethno-Religious Domination Of Rankings & Postings In The Nigeria Police Force’, the statement was signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board; Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity Department; Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law; and Anita Onochie, Esq., Head, Security & Safety. It reads as follows:
“A vibrant conventional police force in a mixed or heterogeneous society is such that clearly understands its pluralistic nature and have it strictly applied in all its policies including promotions, postings and modern crime fighting and controlling capacities. Such a police force is doomed if it chooses the opposite.” —Barrister Anita Onochie, Head, Security & Safety Program of the Intersociety.
“It is very shocking that the NPF has over the years abandoned rule of law, fairness and equity in its major internal and external policies including promotion and posting of its top field officers and dangerously embraced ethno-religious jingoism. Its abysmal performance in modern crime control and fighting is not surprising and will remain so until it purges itself of tribal, baton and rifle policing and return to policing without borders and lineages.” —Barr. Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program of the Intersociety.
On 4th, 5th and 6th February 2014, we addressed a three-part protest letter to Mr. President and the leaderships of the National Assembly, the Police Service Commission and the Federal Character Commission. The letter was a firm protest against an age-long gross lopsidedness in the area of promotion and posting of top officers as well as low officers – popularly called “rank and file” of the Nigeria Police Force. The protest letter followed our graphic investigation of an NPF document named “Staff List for Senior Police Officers: IGP-CSP”, updated as at January 2014. In the course of our forensic analysis of the important document, we found out, for instance, that out of 23 serving AIGs (assistant inspectors general of police) then, Northwest geopolitical zone had 11, while Southeast had nothing; out of seven serving DIGs then, Northwest had two; out of 93 serving CPs (commissioners of police) then, Northwest had 23, Southeast had only 8; out of 12 Zonal Commands manned by AIGs, Northwest got 8, Southeast nothing; and out of 36 State Commands manned by CPs, Northwest had 12. The sectional domination was also extended to other important operational heads like Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS), Special Protection Unit (SPU), Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), Federal Highway Patrol (FHP), Port Authority, Border and Airport Police formations. Gender injustice was also the order of the day particularly in the area of AIG and DIG ranking.
It was also our shocking discovery that top police officers of Southeast extraction were worse hit by the age-long lopsided policy under reference. For instance, while Northwest zone; which is one out of three zones given to Hausa-Fulani populations in Nigeria, got 23 serving CPs of 93 in the NPF then; Southeast zone, which represents core Igbo-Nigeria population got only 8 serving CPs. Shockingly, most of the 8 Southeast CPs got their promotions close to their statutory retirement. For instance, CP Ikechukwu Aduba (Anambra) has since retired on 9th July 2014. CP Godfrey E. Okeke (Anambra), who has just been made an AIG (20th August 2014) will retire on 16th September 2014. CP Sylvester A. Umeh (Enugu) will retire on 10th November 2014. CP Felix Osita Uyanna (Anambra), who has just been made an AIG (20TH August 2014) will retire by 15th January 2015. CP Ikemefuna R. Okoye (Anambra) will retire by 15th June 2015. CP Hilary Opara (Imo), who was doubly promoted to DIG on 19th August 2014, will retire on 17th July 2015. CP Grace Chita Okudo (Ebonyi) (now AIG since 4th June 2014) will retire by 9th February 2016 and CP Chintua Amajor-Onu (Mrs.) (Abia), who has been made an AIG, will retire by 12th July 2015. Out of these few Igbo or Southeast senior officers, it is only CP Paul E. Okafor (Anambra) promoted to CP on 4th June 2014 that will retire by 1st April 2017.
On 4th June 2014, CPs Chris Olakpe (Delta-South/south) and Grace Chita Okudo (Ebonyi-Southeast) were promoted to AIG. DCPs Victor Nosa Ojo (Edo-South/south), Elias Okafor Wayemeru (Delta-South/south), Paul E. Okafor (Anambra-Southeast), Henry Adebayo Fadiro (Ekiti-Southwest), Stella P. Udosen (Akwa Ibom-South/south), Felicia O. Noelle (Rivers-South/south) and Ovie Votenisky Oyokomino (Delta-South/south) were elevated to the rank of CP. Also 12 ACPs were made DCs, 21 CSPs to ACs, 27 SPs to CSPs, 15 DSPs to SPs and 129 ASPs to DSPs. 20 Inspectors were made ASPs on account of the omission of their names in the previous exercises. On 19th August 2014, AIGs Dan’Azumi Job Doma (Niger-North-central), Mamman Ibrahim Tsafe (Zamfara-Northwest), David O. Omojola (Ekiti-Southwest), Solomon E. Arase (Edo-South/south), Christopher K. Katso (Taraba-Northeast) and Salihu Argungu Hashidu (Kebi-Northwest), were promoted to DIG, while CPs Hilary Opara (Imo-Southeast) and Sotonye Leroy Wakama (Rivers-South/south) were promoted doubly to DIG.
On 20th August 2014 (effect from 19th of August), CPs Mbu Joseph Mbu (Cross River-South/south, Umaru Abubakar Manko (Niger-North-central), Ambrose O. Aisibor (Edo-South/south), Adebayo Ajileye (Ondo-Southwest), Joel Kayode Theophilus (Kogi-North-central), Wilfred Eje Obute (Benue-North-central), Felix Osita Uyanna (Anambra-Southeast), A. J. Abakasanga (Akwa Ibom-South/south), Jubril Olawale Adeniji(Lagos-Southwest), Ibrahim M. Maishanu (Sokoto-Northwest), Godfrey E. Okeke (Anambra-Southeast), Chintua Amajor-Onu (Abia-Southeast), Lawal Tanko (Kaduna-Northwest), Usman Akila Gwarry(Borno-Northeast), Kalafite Helen Adeyemi (Rivers-South/south), Yahaya Garba Ardo (Gombe-Northeast), Irimiya F. Yerima (Taraba-Northeast), Olufemi A. Adenaike (Ogun-Southwest) and Patrick Dey Dokumor (Bayelsa-South/south) were elevated to the rank of AIG.
From the foregoing breakdown, it is our observation that while gender factor was fairly addressed in AIG ranking, it failed woefully in the DIG ranking as no woman occupies the position of DIG despite the fact that women are not new comers in the Nigeria Police Force having joined the Force in 1955. Also the invention of “preventive policing” originated from a woman who joined the New York Police Service in 1910. While credible efforts have been made by the Police Service Commission led by IGP Mike Mbama Okiro (rtd) to address the brutal exclusion of the Southeast zone from AIG ranking, we have further observed that there are only three serving CPs left for the geopolitical zone.
For instance, out of nine serving CPs from the zone as at June 2014, one (CP Ikechukwu Aduba) has retired; leaving the zone with only seven as at then out of which one (Hilary Opara) is now a DIG, and four (Chintua Onu, Grace Okudo, Felix Uyanna and Godfrey Okeke) are now AIGs. The only three serving Southeast CPs left are Sylvester A. Umeh who retires on 10th November 2014; Ikemefuna Okoye (who will retire by 15th June 2015) and Paul E. Okafor (who will retire by 1st April 2015). Out of over 90 serving CPs in the country, the southeast zone can only boast of two serving CPs. This is totally unacceptable and defeats the spirit and letters of Section 14 (3) of the Constitution of the Federation 1999.
Finally, while commending the Police Service Commission for the courageous step and exercise under reference, we further demand that the anomalies pointed out above be frontally addressed in future promotions and postings. Sectional domination that still grips other important operational departments or units within the Force especially in the area of manning of zonal and State commands as earlier pointed out should be equitably addressed. We specifically demand that DIG Hilary Opara should be assigned to Operations Department as DIG in charge. This demand of ours stems from the fact that no person from the Southeast zone is one of the Service Chiefs of the Federation. Promoting officers of the Southeast to higher police positions in the twilight of their statutory exit from the Force will no longer be condoned. They should be promoted as and when due alongside their counterparts from other federating zones excluding those indulging in gross unethical conducts in the line of their official duties. Gender injustice especially in DIG and CP ranking as well as top operational duty assignments should be frontally addressed.
Our immense thanks go to Nigerian media particularly the ICT segment for being part of the successful pen and voice protest to reposition the NPF and wriggle it out of ethno-religious domination. We urge them not to rest on their oars until the Force is fully rebranded.
•Photo shows PSC Chairman, Mike Okiro.
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