Too Weighty to Be Ignored

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Executive Briefing

Davidson Iriekpen posits that the allegations of shady dealings levelled  against the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, by the senator representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District‎, Isah Missau will do incalculable damage to President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war if not investigated.

The senator representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, Isah Mohammed Misau, stirred the hornets’ nest two weeks ago when he raised allegations of monumental corruption against the Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris.

Misau at a press conference in Abuja, alleged that the police authority was fighting him because he was opposed to the mismanagement of human and material resources under the current IG.

According to him, aside from huge sums generated from corporate organisations and important personalities who require police protection, the IG, he said, has also formed the habit of attaching policemen to known criminals like drug dealers who can pay for the services of having police orderly. He said more than 50,000 men of the police are being used as “body guards” while the common man on the streets are left without protection.

He said police under Idris is “a cesspool of corruption, nepotism, indiscipline, favouritism and lowest level of morale that must not be allowed to continue in the interest of the on-going anti-corruption war and there is urgent need to stem the tide of increasing rate of crime and criminality in the country.

“The incumbent IG based on available records and series of petitions and reports from insiders, has no capacity to run the police. Specifically, the IG on good authority from within the force, collects over N10 billion on monthly basis as money for special security provided by men of the force to corporate bodies and highly placed individuals including criminals, running to N120 billion on yearly basis without any reflection in police annual budgets or internally generated revenue.”

He said: “Let me give you an example of the so many corruption cases that are taking place.  More than 10,000 policemen are working with  oil companies and every month the companies are paying money. Where is the money going? Is the money going into the federal government’s coffers or into some people’s pockets? We have over 10,000 officers working in banks. Are they paying money to the federal government? Who are they paying the money to? Where is the money? We have policemen in thousands working for companies and private individuals. Go to the airports and you will see that people of questionable character have policemen attached to them. Are they paying money to the federal government? Why should the federal government train a policeman, give him uniform and gun; and then he is passed to an individual who will not pay anything to the federal government. Is that right under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration? Last week, an organisation accused the Nigeria Police of bribery. Am I the person who said it?”

While Nigerians are inundated with claims of inadequate funding, the police have never explained what they do with the funds realised from security protection operations officers of the force render to very important personalities, corporate organisations, and institutions.

The questions that readily come to mind are: Are these  security protections free? If they are not, how much do these organisations pay for a police personnel and where does the money go?

The force has however denied any wrong doing and described the allegations as base less. 

The Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, said any attempt by the senator to disparage the IG, Idris, would not work. 

In a statement, he said: “The force’s attention was drawn to the publications in the media which the caption ‘Senator accuses IG of cornering N10billion monthly IGR, taking bribe to post CPs to juicy states’. It’s expedient to disabuse the minds of members of the public, most especially the people who must have read the story or listened to the fabricated lies, unsubstantiated allegations and shallow imaginations of a personality claiming to be a senator with premeditated evil plans to incite the public against the Nigeria Police Force. The misleading, misrepresentation of facts and concocted allegations by the senator against the IG and the Police Force are unfounded fallacies aimed at casting aspersions on the renewed commitment of the Force to ensure law and order as well as protect the lives and property across the country.”

Last June, the IG said the major challenge confronting the organisation in executing its constitutional responsibility of effectively policing the country was the paucity of funds, as the annual budgetary allocation for the force is grossly insufficient. He stated that he was already discussing with the leadership of the National Assembly to revive the Police Trust Fund Bill currently at the National Assembly. He said if passed into law, the bill would make more funds available to the force because its funding will come from first line charge as states, local governments and private organisations will be expected to make contributions to the trust fund.

He said: “During the security summit we held in Abuja recently I said that the police is under funded and that we want to revive the Police Trust Fund Bill and we are in touch with the leadership of the National Assembly and when passed into law it is going to be a first line charge as private organizations, states and local governments will contribute to the fund.”

Tow weeks ago, Idris also complained to the House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs that ‘budget allocation to the force is grossly inadequate despite the increasing security challenges it has to contend with. He said the force was granted N9.2 billion to cover overhead costs but received N6.3 billion. That was about 68.5%. Out of the N283 billion appropriated for personnel, N273 billion or about 96.5% was released with the consequence that the force could not pay promoted officers their due entitlements, and could not meet its commitments to the Police Cooperative Society, the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the National Housing Fund.

According to him, capital project allocations have suffered underfunding too. In 2015, for instance, the force received only N8.9 billion or 50% of the N17.8 billion appropriated.

However, each time successive IGs, including Idris, reel out these figures, they have never disclosed to Nigerians how incomes running into billions of naira accruing to the force from proving protection to VIP and others are spent.

“I am sure there are over 9,000 bank branches across Nigeria, and there is branch that you will go that you won’t find at least two policemen. Some, you will see up to four. The chief executive officers of these banks and chairmen have policemen protecting them and guarding their houses and some as escorts. How much do they pay and how are these monies remitted? Thank God this issue is coming up at least for once. Because nobody has ever asked these questions.

“Even the VIPs and all Tom, Dick and Harry go about with police escorts. How much do they pay and which accounts do these monies enter? There is no IG in this country that has ever disclosed this. All they tell Nigerians is that the force is inadequately funded,” said a Lagos-based lawyer who did not want his name in print for security reason.

Many analysts wonder what the police force does with these funds when in actual fact, the state government practically fund the organization at the state level For instance, in the last 20 months, it is believed that the police force has received over 850 patrol vehicles from 13 state governments. The force also received 700 motorbikes, 30 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), three choppers, 10 gunboats, and eight ambulances from May 29, 2015 to date.

The highest donor to the force is Lagos State, which donated 295 patrol vans, 450 power bikes, three helicopters, two gunboats, 15 APCs within the period under review. The state also acquired revolving lights, sirens and public address systems, vehicular radio communications, bullet-proof vests and helmets for the police.

Kaduna State followed with a donation of 107 new patrol vehicles fitted with communications equipment, three ambulances, five space buses, 50 police surveillance patrol motorcycles, 30 Cruiser motorcycles, and 135 walkie-talkie sets.

Kogi State donated new ford vans; Rivers states donated 30 patrol vans; Kano donated 27 new Toyota Hillux vans, three Volkswagen Golf cars; Anambra gave 25 new Toyota Camry saloons; Abia 20 SUVs; Bauchi nine Hillux vans, and Bayelsa four refurbished APCs.

A report released recently by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the United Nations Office for Drug and Crimes (UNODC) indicted the police officers as part of the most corrupt public officials in Nigeria. The 2017 National Corruption Survey said 46.4 per cent of Nigerian citizens have had “bribery contact” with police officers, 33 per cent with prosecutors and 31.5 per cent with judges/magistrates.

The survey, tagged: ‘Corruption in Nigeria – Bribery as Experienced by the Population’ also revealed that custom officers, judges, magistrates and prosecutors were the public officials who received the largest average cash bribes. The survey also listed police officers and tax/revenue officers as public officers to whom the highest number of bribes were paid. It said 29.7 per cent of all bribes are paid to police officers upon a direct request before the service is provided.

Coming on the heels of the NBS report, one would have expected anti-corruption agencies to swing into action. The Presidency is also looking the other way.

This is why an anti-corruption group, United Global Resolve For Peace, ‎has called on the federal government to commence immediate investigation and prosecution of Idris over the allegations. In a statement issued in Abuja by the Executive Secretary of the group, Mr. Pelumi Olajengbesi, the group said that Nigerians have lost total confidence in the police as a result of the ineptitude of its leadership.The question is: will the allegations be investigated or will President Muhammadu Buhari set up another administrative panel to investigate alleged crimes?