Why Some Junior Policemen Are Promoted Over Their Superiors – Okiro

Mr Mike Okiro, a former Inspector- General of Police (IGP) is the Chairman, Police Service Commission. He was a guest on Channels TV on Wednesday where he spoke on the controversy that trailed the recent promotion in the Nigerian Police. Could you please confirm for us if it’s true that indeed the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has suspended the promotion of police officers? The mandate of the Police Service Commission is very clear in the constitution. Inasmuch as we take directives from the presidency, they don’t interfere in the mandate and functions of the Police Service Commission. What we did is in conformity of our mandate. I’m not clear on that answer. Are you saying the Acting President didn’t interfere? Yes. That is what I am saying. He never asked us to stop the promotion. So are you saying that the promotion process is still on? Definitely, it’s still on. The Police Service Commission is still in the process. We are meeting today after this interview and I am going to chair the plenary. So where did the story come out that the Acting President suspended the promotion? It’s rumours. Rumours and rumours and rumours. There is no truth in it. The Police Service Commission like I said is still going on with the promotion exercise. There is no concrete fact from anybody that the exercise has been suspended. The PSC has not released any information to make anybody raise uproar of being cheated or slighted. Are you aware of the uproar? Yes, I am aware but I just dismiss it as mere rumours. A lot of policemen are interested in this conversation. Can you take us through the process of promotion in the Nigerian police? I will take you through the process of in the PSC for promotion of officers. Virtually the mandate of the PSC is promotion. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) made recommendations to us about who to be promoted. He knows the men, their capacities and he knows the vacancies that exist. We are going through the process. When the IGP made the recommendations, we have a department called the promotions department that go through the names of those to be promoted, go through their files, check the staff list, ensure that people are not skipped, people are not taken over their seniors and ensure that those to be promoted don’t have pending matters. They then pass it to the standing committee on promotion headed by top commissioners. They ensure that proper things are done before passing it to plenary which I am chairman of, including all the commissioners, staff and the senior staff of the commission will sit and go through the names one by one. If approved, we now forward the names to the IGP who will in turn promote those who qualified. We heard that there is a performance appraisal based in the police and there are rules that officers cannot stay more than five years on a particular rank. Is that right? It is right. A police officer must not stay too long on a particular rank but he may stay less depending on the vacancy. If you are promoted today and there is vacancy for you, you move up again. But unfortunately, it happens now that officers who have stayed up to 10 years are not promoted. I feel bad about it because some of these officers have done their job creditably well but because there is no vacancy, they are not promoted. Let me give you an example. By 1999, when democracy came in, we had about 80,000 policemen. We have 36 states plus Abuja, making it 37 which means that we 37 commissioners of police. We also have three area commands per state. Lagos and some other states have more than three. By 2017,we still have the same number of area commands are still in existence. Now the state of the police is now about 300,000 people. It has jumped from 80,000 to 300,000. The bottomline is that you cannot promote somebody a commissioner of police without giving him an office. That is why you some people serving 10 years in one rank without getting promoted and I feel sorry for them. So, I believe the problem can be solved by creating more Area commands. If that is done, there will be vacancies. You said officers who have stayed over 10 years are not promoted due to vacancies but information getting to us reveal that officers who are junior to them are being promoted over them. What do you say to that? We try to correct that but like I told you, when the IGP brings list for promotion, we go through it. Sometimes, we ask question from the officers on why an officer was skipped. On a particular occasion, we wrote the IGP that a particular officer was due for promotion but you did not put his name. of course, he replied that it is a pending matter. We told him there is nothing in our file indicating that there is a pending matter. Civil service gives 90 days but we gave him 60 days to make sure the particular officer is promoted. Inasmuch as the IGP runs the police and he feels certain officers are good and deserve to be promoted, we also serve as a stop gap for him. We do oversight functions and don’t just take all he gives us. There are reports that relationship between the PSC Chairman and the IGP has always been frosty. What do you say to that? That cannot be. I was IGP and Parry Osayande was the chairman. We had a very cordial relationship. In fact, my relationship with him was so informal that I will just call and ask him ‘are you in the office, I am coming to see you’. What is your relationship with the current IGP? Everybody has his own method. I feel maybe the current IGP is busy. I was chairman with M.D. Abubakar, I was chairman with Suleiman Abba, I was chairman with Solomon Arase and anytime I wanted them, they came. But Idris never came. Each time, we wrote him, he never came. Maybe he feels important more than the other IGs. There are reports that there are rampant special promotions in the police and that explains why there are backlogs. How do you explain that? There are certain things you can do in the civil service that may get you double promotion, even in the civil service and Nigerians will clap for you that this man has done very well and he should be rewarded. Others can learn from that and encourage them to do more. It does happen and so you cannot put a blanket on special promotion. Police officers who perform superlatively can be given special promotion. We only issue guideline to IGP on people who should qualify for special promotion. Today, we are going to send the guidelines to him. Why are you just sending it to him? Like I said, we have had issues with some names of people that the IGP sends to us for special promotion. We have had cause to write to him that ‘why did this person deserve special promotion’? Are you saying the process has been abused? I won’t say the process has been abused. I will say it is due to lack of understanding on the rudiments of double promotion. We are going to write the IGP and give him the guidelines and rules and regulations for special promotion. You can’t just wake up one morning and give special promotion. And if somebody like Abba Kyari who performed creditably, you can give him special promotion above his seniors. You can’t take that from him. There is no complain from anyone. So, once we send the guidelines to the IGP, he should not just send us names for special promotion. We want to know why such a person should be given special promotion. Are there no other ways of compensate policemen if they did well like IGP’s commendations? We have IGP’S commendations. We also have president’s commendations. But sometimes, it is paper. For example, early last year, we promoted some police officers recovered N5m from a bullion van. The money fell and the driver was not aware. The police officers could have taken the money home but they took it to government. That is commendable and we promoted them. Again, we have a police officer who refused N20m bribe; we promoted him. These are special cases that deserve double promotion, not that somebody did a routine job and you gave him special promotion..

Author: Jenny

A freelance Journalist, and an advocate of peace

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