From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
A human rights organization, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), has raised the alarm over the alleged shortchanged of South-East geopolitical zone in promotion of senior police officers from the zone.
The group who petitioned the Police Service Commission (PSC), urged the commission to addressed the ‘hateful exclusion of South-East officers from its promotion and balance.
The Chairman of the Intersociety Mr Emeka Umeagbalasi in the letter to the PSC urged the Chairman Retired IGP Musiliu Smith to use the scheduled emergency meeting of the Commission fixed for tomorrow, Wednesday, 27th Jan 2021 to address the ‘hateful exclusion’ of Igbo/Southeast Region from senior police officers ranks especially in the AIG rankings and abysmal allocation of CP, DCP, ACP and CSP slots to the Region.
He said that the exclusion of Igbo officers was in clear contravention of the principles of regional balancing and non-discrimination provided in Sections 14 (3) and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
Intersociety also called on the PSC leadership to expeditiously and judiciously address other glaring injustices in the entire promotions in the Nigeria Police Force, especially those that led to public outcries in the 18th December 2020 promotion exercise of the Commission.
“The emergency meeting of the Commission, fixed for tomorrow, 27th Jan 2021 is majorly for promotion of a new set of senior police officers to fill the vacuums being left following statutory retirement of outgoing IGP, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu who will retire next Monday, 1st Feb 2021 and three DIGs and 10 AIGs who are part of the Nigeria Police Management Team chaired by the outgoing IGP and will be retiring the same date with the IGP Abubakar, having joined the NPF same date on 1st Feb 1986.
“The three retiring DIGs are DIG Michael Ogbizi (representing South-south), DIG Aminchi Baraya (representing Northeast) and DIG Adeleye Oyabade (representing Southwest). The 10 retiring Police AIGs are AIG Hosea Karma (retired since 8th Jan 2021), AIG Ibrahim Larmode, AIG Mohammad Mustapha, AIG Nkpa Inakwu, AIG Jona Jackson Mava, AIG Olushola Babajide, AIG Yunana Babas, AIG Asuquo Amba, AIG Nkereuwem Akpan and AIG Ola Adenira Adeoye.
“Though the Police Service Commission lacks the power to determine the next IGP or appoint same, but it is empowered by law to promote sworn or serving police officers into the ranks of ‘Constable to DIG, other than IGP’ and among serving AIGs or DIGs, next IGP will statutorily emerge.
“On the hateful exclusion of Igbo/Southeast from AIG rankings, Intersociety reminded the PSC that ‘it is on record that out of 36 serving AIGs including 17 Zonal Commands headed by AIGs, no Igbo/Southeast officer is among them or is heading any of the 17 Zonal Commands. This is more so when the Region is supposed to be allocated with at least six AIG slots and three Zonal Commands headed by AIGs.
“The PSC’s attention was further drawn to the fact that ‘out of the country’s 119 serving CPs, only eight instead of at least 19, are from IGBO/Southeast; out of which two are already at the twilight of their statutory retirements-with 1st Feb and 25th July 2021 respectively as their due dates.
“We wish to point out, too, that the vacuums created by the exit of the ten AIGs are a golden opportunity for the PSC to make amends and retrace its hateful steps.
“Apart from technically six serving Igbo/Southeast CPs in the NPF (excluding the two retiring on 1st Feb and 25th July 2021), who can be elevated to the rank of AIG for purpose of addressing the hateful exclusion, there are also 35 serving Igbo/Southeast DCPs, out of which, two will be retiring next year or in 2022, leaving the Region with 33 serving DCPs out of the country’s 265.
“Going by the Constitutional principles of Geopolitical or Regional balancing and non-discrimination, Igbo/Southeast Region is shortchanged or deprived of nine DCP slots on average of 44 DCPs per Geopolitical Zone or Region.
“Among those 33 (excluding the outgoing two) serving Igbo/Southeast DCPs, another golden opportunity is up and running for the Commission to save its hateful face by having them fairly, equitably and numerically made CPs.
“We had in the letter tasked the Commission that “where, for instance, promotion exercise into any senior ranking is capable of shutting out a particular Geopolitical Zone or Region such as Southeast, ‘seniority’ principle or policy or rule must be lowered to give room for regional balancing and public explanations to that effect must be given”.
“Another glaring injustice to the Igbo Nation which we tasked the PSC to address and set aside is its policy of denying Igbo/Southeast police officers ‘their in-service promotions’ or rankings and promotions while still in service and as at when due; only to offer them same in retirement strictly under private arrangements or ‘negotiated settlements’.
“A typical example was the case of retired CP Uche Anozia from Imo State (S/E) who retired on 19th Sept 2020 but was promoted to the rank of ‘Police AIG’ on 18th Dec 2020, 90 days after his statutory retirement. Such ill-fated policy is undermining and diminishing the collective interests of the Igbo Nation especially as it concerns their ethnic identity, development, security and welfare.
” PSC was firmly asked to address the unjust exclusion of 17 ACPs from the promotion lists of senior officers. The 17 ACPs have since qualified to be promoted to the rank of DCP having successfully undergone the mandatory Promotion Exams and Annual Performance Evaluation Reports (APERs) but were unjustly excluded and left out in the 18th Dec 2020 promotions.
“This is more so when they were last promoted at different dates in 2016 as against the eight padded names now made DCPs who were promoted last at different dates in 2017 and 2018” Umeagbalasi stated.