Alleged Irregularities In Police Promotion
Police promotion has remained a vexed issue within the Nigeria Police system. However, grievances and grumblings have increased recently among police officers who allege that they are short-changed and left behind in promotions due to alleged irregularities founded on favouritism, illicit connections with influence peddlers, corruption and other mundane considerations.
Within the last two months prior to the exit of former IGP Solomon Arase, there were no less than three police promotion exercises in row- of various ranks, but mainly of Inspectors and Cadet Inspectors promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). As at April 29, 2016 a newspaper report quoted Arase to have ‘revealed that in all, over 39,000 personnel nationwide were promoted from various ranks to higher ranks’. More promotions were reported after this.
The Police Service Commission (PSC) is statutorily charged with police recruitment, promotion and discipline. However, the IGP promotes certain ranks and recommends and sends lists of police officers to be promoted to the PSC for consideration.
However, there have been persistent grudging and grumbling among police officers over alleged discrimination and injustice in promotion. They claim that their mates and juniors are promoted above them in successive promotions, and that some of them have had to stagnate on the same rank for as long as 15 years and more. This is depressing and demoralising.
Allegations are rife that police promotion process is flagrantly circumvented and standards are compromised by political interference and corruption and that it favours certain officers (who may be connected or can buy their way through) to the disadvantage of others (who don’t have ‘godfathers’and can’t afford to buy promotions for themselves). It is alleged that some police personnel exploit their illicit connections with big politicians, government officials and men and women of influence in society to benefit from what ought to be earned by merit, as of right, and without discrimination or bias. This calls for a prompt, impartial and exhaustive investigation.
NOPRIN has also been receiving complaints from applicants and relatives of applicants currently undergoing screening for police recruitment across the country that some ‘officials’ are demanding the sum of no less than forty thousand naira (N40,000) from each of them as gratification to facilitate their recruitment into the NPF. There is the need to ensure a close and strict monitoring of the ongoing police recruitment process to insulate the process from the corruptive influence of certain elements who over the years have ensured that the process is compromised thereby making it possible for unsuitable characters to find their way into the police, thereby constituting the source of the image crisis that the police has faced over the years, as well as posing threat to public safety and security.
It would be recalled that former President Obasanjo upon assuming office in 1999 after nearly 16 unbroken years of military rule during which there were no police recruitments, had ordered a massive recruitment drive to make up for the shortfall in police manpower. The plan to recruit 40,000 each year between 2001 and 2004 was truncated when after the exercise in 2001, Obasanjo had to again order a moratorium on further recruitment. He stated that the process was marred by corruption which allowed criminals and misfits to find their way into the police. An audit revealed that many of the recruits hired proxies and mercenaries to stand for them during the screening. Many did not have the basic qualification and presented either fake certificates or the certificates of others. Most of them paid various sums of money to be recruited. This explains why there are many armed robbers, kidnappers and sundry criminals within the police force.
*Nwanguma is National Coordinator of NOPRIN