Police suspend upgrading over alleged fraud
• Independent body to conduct fresh screening
The dream of graduate police officers of the rank and file cadre to be upgraded has suffered a major setback, with the directive by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Solomon Arase that the exercise be put on hold.
It was gathered that the decision has forestalled a brewing revolt within the force due to disenchantment and loss of confidence in the process by qualified officers.
Confirming the cancellation of the exercise by IGP, the spokesperson of the force, Olabisi Kolawole, yesterday issued a statement saying “the Police Management Team and the Police Service Commission have decided to put on hold the ongoing screening exercise of Policemen who acquired Degree/HND while in service”.
According to a source at the Force Headquarters, the exercise was not transparent, and did not follow the appropriate procedure. He said an order of seniority and national spread which were expected to be adopted seemed to have been sidelined. The police source stated that most of the officers that do not have a god-sfather were not mentioned by the committee.
His words: “Although the IGP had clearly said all affected officers were to be considered, the discrimination being exhibited by the committee was leading to a revolt. Some states had more people than others, while other states do not have at all. Besides, there were complaints that bribes were being demanded and the procedure was bias and irregular. The procedure was not well followed. For instance, some officers being interviewed to be promoted graduated not long ago, but their case was put ahead of others. Some of us that have been there for a while, waiting in the wings for this opportunity, are yet to be considered. It became more complicated when demands for bribes for one to be considered started rearing its head. For those that refused, their names were eliminated from the interview list. Then the issue of equity and national spread. All these put together was leading to gross disenchantment among the officers, but for the good intention of the IGP”.
The Force Public Relations Officer (PRO), sKolawole, in her statement, did not give detailed explanation on why the exercise was suspended as she only said “the decision (to put on hold the exercise) was based on allegation of malpractices and innuendoes going around.”
She said the IGP took the decision on Christmas eve during a meeting of the police leadership, in consultation with the Police Service Commission (PSC), which was part of the committee to interview the qualified officers. According to her, an independent committee would be set up to do assessment.
Kolawole said: “The Police High Command and Police Service Commission have decided to engage the services of independent assessor for neutrality and free exercise (sic). When the exercise is completed, each state of the federation will have equal number of representation.
“All qualified policemen should be patient and ensure they attend the oncoming screening exercise to be scheduled by the independent body.”