WHEN the Police Service Commission, PSC, restored the rank of Mallam Nuhudeen Ribadu to an Assistant Inspector General of Police, the decision was applauded as justice. Ribadu was demoted. The PSC stated that his rise did not follow due processes.
The decision on Ribadu diminishes justice. The Commission has ignored cases of the other 139 members whose promotions suffered the same fate as Ribaduâ€™s.
Ribadu was demoted to a Deputy Commissioner of Police.
The PSC said that was the last rank at which his promotion was proper.Â The decision has generated a lot of controversy and the silence of the PSC has been deafening.
Minister of Police Affairs Alhaji Maina Adamu Waziri in the main official reaction, said, â€œThe fact of the matter is that 140 police officers had their cases of promotion reviewed, only one of them, that is Ribadu, appealed through his lawyers for the review of his case and that is why, after due consideration, his rank was restored and his dismissal was converted to retirement.
â€œIf the 139 others decide to appeal, we shall give them the necessary consideration based on the facts presented before the ministry, the Nigeria Police Force and the PSC.
â€œWe will review their cases. But I cannot tell you the result of such review. What I can say is that each case would be treated based on its own merit.â€
It is the PSC that is more relevant in this matter. Section 2 (b) of the Act provides that appointed members shall â€˜be persons of proven integrity and abilityâ€™.
Members of the PSC bear a great moral burden over the other demoted officers. The Minister of Police Affairs should not be the one to determine, on his own, how the cases of the 139 other officers would be decided.
The PSC has the statutory powers to handle the promotion and discipline of the affected officers.
Already, a lot of damage has been done to the career of the officers and possibly those of others who would be thinking how the activities of the PSC affect them.
What was the fault of the officers in their promotion? None of them had any disciplinary matter. The office of the Inspector-General of Police remains the proper and fit office to identify the professional competence of officers. How does the Minister expect the dead among the officers to pursue the matter?
The PSC was silent on the impropriety of the officersâ€™ promotion, including Ribaduâ€™s at the time of their upliftment. Its Chairman Parry Osayande was emphatic about the reasons for the demotion of the affected officers.
Why is he quiet after the review? Is he in support of Ribaduâ€™s reinstatement, but against the case of the other 139 officers?
Matters surrounding the return of Ribaduâ€™s rank may never be public. However, if his promotions that the PSC, once defended as improper were restored, then it is the responsibility of the same PSC to see that justice is done to the others.
Justice to Ribadu should not translate to injustice to others. It is not too late to give justice the same meaning for all involved in this case.