BY BALA IBRAHIM
Casting baseless aspersions on the Nigeria Police is increasingly becoming the passion of some politicians in Nigeria. It is particularly painful when such accusations come from politicians who are occupying sensitive public offices like the senate, where the laws of the land are made. No doubt, senators are ideally critical-minded people, and when they expose what they consider to be a major scandal, no eyebrow would be raised if the subject matter of their quarrel is justified.
Unfortunately, in recent times, unnecessary alarms are raised, aimed at castigating leaders of institutions largely to settle scores, which is at variance with the ethics of law making.
Nigeria Police remains one of such public institutions that the legislature has of late subjected to unaccepted level of institutional humiliation for no just cause.
Taking into consideration the impressive performance of the Nigeria Police in the face of the alarming rate of crime in the country, it is only logical that if the legislators would not be patriotic enough to commend the good work that is being done, they should save themselves public embarrassment by keeping quiet.
Of late, there are a lot of lies perpetrated to diminish the rising profile of the Nigeria Police which has historically suffered due to the shortage of serious leadership. Some of these lies do not deserve to be given attention at all, but others have to be put in their proper place to set the record straight.
One of such mischievous stories was published in an interview with the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Isah Misau, in the Daily Trust newspaper of 10th August 2017, claiming that the office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) collects bribe to give special promotion to men and officers of the Force. This allegation has been dispelled in its entirety by the office of the Inspector General, because it touches on the core value that the IGP has devoted so much of his energy to protect since he assumed office.
To arrive at the truth and dispel the falsehood in the story, IGP Idris in his transparent style of leadership, immediately set up a Special Investigation Panel, under the chairmanship of AIG Ali Ahmadu, where the accuser and anyone aggrieved was given the chance to come forward and substantiate his or her claim on the issue.
The committee was given two weeks to submit its report. According to the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, despite several letters written to him, Senator Misau failed to honor the summons to substantiate his allegations.
He also refused to make statements when the Special Investigation Panel probing the allegations visited him. “The Nigeria Police Force sees all the allegations and actions of the senator as a deliberate attempt to malign the integrity of the Force and a campaign of calumny against the hard earned reputation of the leadership, which the Force will not take lightly.
Consequently, his conduct is being reported to the Senate ethics and privileges committee for appropriate sanction”, Jimoh said. The police spokesman disclosed that Misau’s allegation and smear campaign was motivated by malice on account of the less than honorable manner he left the force, after he was charged with several acts of misconduct. Misau, an ex-police officer was said to have left the Force at the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police, after being allegedly charged with several acts of serious misconducts and unprofessional wrongdoings contrary to discipline.
It is an open secret that IGP Ibrahim is completely averse to corruption and only makes recommendations for promotion to the Police Service Commission (PSC) based on merit, to reward gallant officers who outperformed. This is in accordance with the extant law regulating such promotions. He has given special promotions to deserving officers only on merit to boost their morale. What is wrong in giving people like Abba Kyari promotion?
He captured kidnap kingpins, The Vampire, and Evans and is putting his life in danger daily to keep kidnappers out of business. Or CP legal, David Igbodo, or Edgal Mohimi D, all of whom are shining examples of dedication and gallantry. What about ACP Kolo, who on daily basis, is fighting terrorists, or the likes of CP Garba Umar Baba, who is the brain behind the arrests of most notorious criminals in Nigeria. What’s wrong with promoting athletes that brought glory to Nigeria for the first time in the history of police games?
Taking statistics of officers and the tasks that lead to their special promotion, Nigerians would be better judges of whether they deserve such promotions. If they do, why would anybody take money from them? In fact, some of such men and officers do not have money at all. All they have is their gallantry, bravery and patriotism. No sane man needs to be convinced that this allegation is not only baseless in logic but laughable in practice.
Even more laughable is the embarrassing interview the Senator further granted on Thursday, where he accused the IGP and the Chairman PSC of incompetence, corruption and abuse of office. For an ex police officer, with unsettled disciplinary cases against him, one need not dig further, to see the reasons for his anger and the axe he wants to grind with the police leadership.
I haven’t seen the papers he brandished to the press, claiming his clean exit, but I hope the police would address that issue quickly. That way, the public would know when he was cleared to go and when he joined active politics and whether or not he has cases to answer. It was Pope John XX111 who said: “Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do”.
Senator Misau is evidently frustrated and angry with the police, perhaps because he couldn’t make it beyond DSP, but he should strive and make the best use of his new assignment. Since he was magnanimous enough to mention some of the incompetent officers posted by the IGP, which clearly betrayed his frustration with those who outperformed him, he should equally be courageous to mention the firms from which the IGP was collecting N120b annually. I am not good at mathematics, but I guess even the office of the Accountant General of the Federation does not see that kind of money easily.
Senator Misau’s hatred is not limited to IGP Ibrahim Idris, no, he hates PMB much more. This is why sometimes back, the senator was given the “Charly Boy” treatment by the people of his Ningi constituency, where for similar unguarded statements, the people responded in torrents with stones, forcing him to search for rescue from the same police he is accusing now. Since then, the senator has been declared persona non grata in Ningi.
Of course, all these brouhaha about bribery are part of the strategy by Senator Misau and some vested interests, to discourage IGP Ibrahim from taking the Nigeria Police to the promised land. They also aimed at breaking the resilience of an IGP, who is hell bent on deviating from the old rotten ways. Meanwhile, the IGP has, right from day one pledged not to compromise, stressing that no amount of blackmail, propaganda and name-calling would dissuade him from repositioning the Force.
One is conscious of the fact that some people in certain circles are doing things that are not in line with the IGP’s mindset and they want him to go along with them in circumventing the law. This is one of the things IGP Ibrahim Idris will continue to kick against no matter whose ox is gored. He has said that he was aware that his disposition will not go down well with some people. But he takes solace in his personal philosophy that doing the right thing in the interest of the nation takes precedence over doing wrong in the interest of the few.