By Sebastian Ozoana
RECENTLY a sitting Senator Hamman Misau, who is also a retired police officer leveled humongous allegations against the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris.
The summary of the allegations is that Commissioners of Police pay to the Inspector General of Police the sum of between N10million and N15m to secure what the senator called “favourable postings,” that policemen paid bribes for special promotions, and finally that the IGP appropriates for personal use the sum of N120bn annually realized from special security services rendered by the police to corporate bodies like oil companies, banks and very important persons.
While not holding brief for the Inspector General of Police, I feel constrained as a Nigerian, retired police officer and a legal practitioner to react to these allegations. Having looked at the facts and the law and also the fact that the person making the allegations can be said to be a person having some grudges against the police as an institution, we will see anon that these allegations, I submit, are malicious, baseless and calculated to rubbish the person of the Inspector General of Police and the Nigeria Police Force as an institution.
Promotions and transfer
To start with from time immemorial the Inspector General of Police does not do the posting of Commissioners of Police. The posting of Commissioners of Police had always been the preserve of the Police Service Commission. See for instance Section 110 of the Republican Constitution of Nigeria 1963. The Section provides as follows:-
“S. 110 (1) Power to appoint persons to hold or act in offices in the Nigeria Police Force (including power to make appointments on promotions and transfer and to confirm appointments) and to dismiss and to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in such offices shall vest in the Police Service Commission, with the approval of the Prime Minister and subject to such conditions as it may think fit, delegate any of its powers under this Section to any of its members or to the Inspector General of Police or any other member of the Nigeria Police Force.
- 110 (2) Before making any appointment to the office of Inspector General of Police or removing the Inspector General from office the Police Service Commission of the Federation shall consult the Prime Minister, and before making any appointment to the office of Commissioner of Police of a region or removing the Commissioner from office the Commission shall consult the Premier of that Region”.
The 1979 constitution has a similar provision like the foregoing Section 110 of the 1963 Republican Constitution. It is in the Third Schedule Part 1, I Section 18 (b) which states as follows:-
“The Commission shall have power – (b) to appoint persons to offices other than the office of the Inspector General of Police in the Nigeria Police Force”
But under the 1999 Constitution (as amended) apart from the Third Schedule Part 1, M Section 30 which states as follows: “30. The Commission shall have power to –(a) appoint persons to offices (other than the office of the Inspector General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force; and “there is the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act 2001. Part II, Section 6 (1) states as follows:- “6 (1) The Commission shall-
(a) be responsible for the appointment and promotion of persons to offices (other than the office of the Inspector General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force.”
As of now the Police Service Commission has seven members (i.e. The Chairman who is a retired and distinguished Inspector General of Police and six other members) including a woman retired Justice of the Supreme Court, who happened to be the Second Female Supreme Court Justice in Nigeria – a woman of honour and integrity plus other honourable members of impeccable character.
By Section 8 of the said Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act 2001 the Commission may, subject to such conditions as it may think fit, delegate any of its powers under the Act-
“(a) to any officer, in the service of the Nigeria Police Force; or (b) to a committee of such number of persons, one of whom shall be named as Chairman, as may be prescribed by the Commission”.
In the face of the above provisions of the law the Senator’s allegation collapses like a pack of cards.
On the issue of special promotion, I venture to say that this type of promotion is as old as the Force itself. It has existed from the colonial days. It is a discretionary power the Inspector General of Police exercises in recommending officers and men who have performed their duties creditably or above board like acts of bravery, extra-ordinary honesty/integrity, extra-ordinary dedication to duty which the Inspector General of Police may consider worthy of recognition by way of special promotion.
It is never “sold” but made solely at the discretion of the Inspector General of Police who is the recommending officer. In law the exercise of discretion can never be uniform, provided it is exercised in good faith and judiciously.
How “A” exercises his discretion on a given issue might not be how “B” will exercise his discretion given the same circumstances.
One other allegation of the senator is that the Inspector General of Police was pocketing N120bn (One hundred and twenty billion naira) annually as payment for special security rendered by the Police to corporate bodies like Oil Companies, Banks and important persons.
If this allegation is true, the Inspector General of Police would in no time be richer than AlikoDangote the richest Nigerian and African!!
As a retired police officer and a lawyer I know as a fact that under the Police Act and some subsidiary legislations corporate bodies and individuals can apply for police services on payment.
They apply for such services under Sections 18 -22 of the Police Act and other subsidiary legislations like the Police Force Order, Police Regulation, Standing Orders and FAI (Force Administrative Instruction). Note that the Supreme Court of Nigeria has decided in many cases that a Subsidiary Legislation when validly made has the effect and force as the principle Act. See the case of Trade Bank Plc. v. LILLGC (2003) NWLR (Pt.806) 11.
When such applications by oil companies and banks are made and approved, from the money they pay to the police the salaries of those policemen assigned to them are paid plus what would go to the Police Reward Fund.
Even at the divisional level if a person wants for instance three policemen to maintain peace at an Event Centre where his son would be having a wedding ceremony he can apply to the Divisional Police Officer of the division for that number of policemen and if approved he pays the stipulated amount of money for the services by the policemen. One third of the said amount would go into the Police Reward Fund while the other portion would go to the policemen who did the special duty.
The practice had existed right from the colonial days and not and cannot amount to any wrong doing.
Therefore to say that the Inspector General of Police had been pocketing N120bn annually from hiring out policemen to oil companies, banks, etc. is an allegation not supported by facts or the extant laws in relation to the Nigeria Police Force.