ONITSHA— CHAIRMAN of the Police Service Commission, PSC, Mr. Mike Okiro has blamed the federal character principle for the dearth of South East Police officers in the top hierarchy of the Nigerian Police Force.
Okiro told journalists in Onitsha that the strict application of federal character in the promotion of top police officers has affected the chances of the officers from the zone.
Reacting to complaints by stakeholders in the South East that the zone was grossly marginalized within the police force, Okiro who spoke at the 15th marriage anniversary celebration of Dede Uzor A. Uzor, a human rights activist and National Publicity Secretary of Campaign for Democracy, CD, insisted that in the promotion of officers, the commission strictly complies with the provisions of federal character .
South East stakeholders had in their constant complaint noted that when the police hierarchy reluctantly promoted few of them, they were not given opportunity to man strategic command positions.
For instance, the stakeholders maintained, that out of 24 Assistant Inspectors-General of Police, AIGs, none is from South East, just as out of about 90 commissioners of Police believed to be the nucleus of the force, only about six are of South East extraction.
Okiro was accused of being economical with the truth because if the federal character principle was adhered to strictly, the South East would get at least four AIGs and about 15 commissioners of Police.
But Okiro who is also a former Inspector-General of Police, IGP and whose PSC was charged with the responsibility of recruiting, promoting and disciplining of officers from the ranks of Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP to Deputy Inspectors-General, DIG, denied that some ethnic nationalities were marked out for marginalization in such promotion exercises.
He also gave reasons that prevented his commission from yet releasing the list of 10,000 Police officers recruited in compliance with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive when he assumed office.
According to Okiro, “the provision for the emolument of the 10,000 Policemen to be recruited was not made in the 2015 budget and as such, there was no money to take care of their remuneration if they were engaged. However, their emolument is expected to be included in the 2017 budget”.