Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Some officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force numbering 2,226 yesterday protested against their botched promotion exercise to the Police Council and the Police Service Commission (PSC), lamenting that having been shortlisted after rigorous promotion screening exercise, the Force has abandoned them to their fate three years after.
In a statement signed by Abdul Majeed Lukeman, a Sergeant, the graduate policemen also alleged that the ‘fraudulent promotion exercise’ was going on through the back door for the highest bidders, urging the PSC to intervene and sanitise the process.
The statement reads: “In the year 2015, the Nigeria Police leaders at that time in their wisdom saw a need to upgrade inspectors, rank and file with higher educational qualifications. Based on that, they called for aptitude test (examination) and screening of officers with university degrees and HND (higher national diploma) certificates to be upgraded to the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), reference to Police Wireless Message (Signal) CB:7510/DTD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.7/11, DTO151800/06/2015 Promotion General dated 06/2015.
“The examination and the screening were done by the police authority in conjunction with Police Service Commission in various state and zonal commands, respectively. After the examination and screening, 50 successful candidates were shortlisted from each state of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, according to their states of origins and Local Government Areas (LGAs), including supplementary which make up to 2,226 candidates.
“Eventually, in December 2015, the police authority called for the final screening at the FHQ (Force Headquarters), Abuja by signal No. CB: 7510/DTD FHQ/ABJ/VOL.7/66 dated December 5, 2015. This final screening was not even supposed to come up again because we have already been screened by representatives of Police Service Commission and FHQ in both zonal and state commands. But to our utmost surprise, at the peak of the screening exercise at FHQ, we were told by the police authority that, we should go back to our various commands/formation for further directives.”
The aggrieved policemen also alleged that the Senate Committee on Police Affairs had said it was in custody of the names of the successful candidates to be upgraded to the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) based on their educational qualifications from the former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase.
The committee was also said to have promised that it would make sure that there will be no lopsidedness in the promotion.
“But while we were still waiting and hoping to be called, the police authority differed the laid down procedure of appointment into the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) as seen in section 39 part IV of Police act and regulation by calling for recruitment of civilian graduates as cadet ASP, without any recourse to us, the serving members, who were earlier screened and waiting to be promoted.
“The above provision of the Police Act and Regulation provides that vacancies in ASP cadre can only be filled up with candidates from outside the police, by the reason of unavailability of suitable candidates from within the force,” the aggrieved policemen explained.
The disgruntled policemen said they had taken their complaint to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Senator Abu Ibrahim, with some attached documents and publications done in respect of this issue, but did not get any response.
They alleged that “special promotion is going on every week at the force headquarters for both senior and junior officers, some special promotion with backdating date of 2016 / 2017, today, about 95 per cent of police officers that are enjoying this special promotion do not deserve it, as most of the special promotions are not based on merit, seniority or breakthrough while on duty, it’s favours the highest bidder and nepotism.”
Calling on the new Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Alhaji Misiliu Smith, and its board members to investigate the recent promotion exercise, the policemen expressed the hope that the Nigeria Police Force would be repositioned for optimum efficiency and effectiveness.
“We equally plead with the following: the Police Council, the PSC, the Inspector General of Police (IG), the chairmen, of police committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives, the traditional rulers in Nigeria, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and all well-meaning individuals to take a second look at this issue and address it appropriately,” they added.