By Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
Following general agitation and calls across the country for reform in the Nigeria Police Force, as a prerequisite for ending Police brutality and intimidation, some inspectors and rank and file of the force numbering 1,850 have urged Police authorities to re-visit their botched promotion exercise, adding that there cannot be any genuine reform when professional personnel are discarded after going through rigorous promotion exercise.
The group called on the Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Mohammad Maigari Dingyadi, and Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), former IGP Musiliu Smith, to look into their plight as part of the current reform exercise.
In a statement signed by Inspector Abdul Majeed Lukeman, the graduate policemen protested that having been shortlisted after rigorous promotion screening exercise, with relevant qualifications to Police specialties such as criminology and Security studies, Sociology, LLB, Psychology, Accountancy, Economics, Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution among others, the Force simply abandoned them to their fate five years after.
The statement reads in part: “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 states 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), which make up to 1,850 candidates.
“Eventually, in December 2015, the police authority called for the final screening at the FHQ (Force Headquarters), Abuja via 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 had 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/formations for further directives.”
The aggrieved policemen also alleged that the former Chairman of 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.
“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, they are currently Senior ASPs awaiting DSPs. While we, the serving members with our experience and length of service, are still stagnated within the Inspectors, Rank and Files Cadre, without any recourse to us, 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”. Also Ratified Force Order 2013 No.157 and old Force Order 309 for more details on accelerated promotion.
“Furthermore, for about four decades, Inspectors and rank and files who obtained Degree and HNDs relevant to police duties while in service were always elevated to the rank of ASP on a regular basis without interruption. The records of the Police Service Commission (PSC) can attest to the truth of this assertion. Many of the senior police officers today were beneficiaries of this type of promotion in the past.
“All our original confidential files, service registers and other sensitive documents have been in the custody of the Department of Training and Development (DTD) Police Force Headquarters FCT Abuja unattended to. We appealed to the Minister and PSC to look into their plight.
“We equally plead with the following: the Police Council, the Inspector General of Police (IG), the chairmen, of police committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives, the chairman of Police TET Fund, former IGP Suleiman Abba, the traditional rulers in Nigeria, and all well-meaning individuals to take a second look at this issue with a view to addressing it appropriately.”