Monday, 6 May 2013

Open Letter: Hausanisation And Islamization Policy In The Nigeria Police Force




Ref: Intersociety/S/01/05/013/S/E/Presidency/ABJ/FGN

From: the Secretariat of:
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State
 Southeast, Nigeria

To:                                                                           
Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Commander-in-Chief, Nigerian Armed Force & Chairman, Nigeria Police Council
Thro
The Chairman, Nigeria’s Southeast Governors’ Forum
Office of the Governor of Anambra State, Government House, Awka
Anambra State, Southeast, Nigeria

Your Excellencies,
Hausanisation & Islamisation Policy In The Nigeria Police Force: Our Case Against The Police Leadership Under IGP M.D. Abubakar
(Onitsha Nigeria, 6th day of May, 2013)-The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.  

Your Excellencies, it is totally correct to say that the foregoing firm constitutional directive provided in Section 14(3) of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, is observed in total breach by the present leadership of the Nigeria Police Force, headed by IGP Mohammed Dikko Abubakar as it relates to recommendation for promotion, promotion and posting of senior police officers, especially those from the ranks of Commissioners of Police and Assistant Inspectors General of Police. Though, the Nigeria Police Service Commission promotes, but it says the IGP recommends those to be promoted. This is in clear violation of the PSC Establishment Act of 2001 and Supplementary Section 29 of Part 1 of Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution as amended.

As Your Excellencies may know, unity in diversity is the main and last trademark of every heterogeneous society such as ours. It was a driving force behind the introduction of federalism into the country’s political and legal systems in 1954. The Nigeria’s variant of the Fundamental Human Rights doctrine, which was recommended in 1957/8 for enshrinement into the Independence Constitution of 1960, was solely predicated on unity in diversity. It was the fears of the Nigerian minorities of Mid-West and Middle-Belt that made its enshrinement into the country’s constitutions till date possible. Today, every Tom, Dick and Harry in the country is a beneficiary of this famous doctrine, originally intended to allay the fears of the minorities. This is also expressly responsible for Your Excellency, President Goodluck E. Jonathan’s presidential emergence, having come Ijaw small ethnic group. The unanimous adoption of six geopolitical zonal structures for Nigeria’s geopolitical system at the 1994 constitutional conference is also to ensure unity in diversity.

Therefore, the social importance of unity in diversity in every heterogeneous society like ours cannot be quantitatively and qualitatively measured. The trademark of unity in diversity is effective constitutional safeguards to ward off its violators at all times. In Nigeria, despite the clear and unambiguous provisions of Section 14(3) quoted above, the Government of the Federation and its agencies and agents have continued to observe these sacred constitutional provisions in gross breach. In 2012, we alerted Your Excellencies over discriminatory policies in some Federal Government ministries and agencies especially in the Nigeria Police Force as they concerned and still concern recommendation for promotion, promotion and posting of senior police officers. By the combined provisions of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution and the principle of six geopolitical zonal structures, the appointment of persons into various agencies of the Federal Government including the Nigeria Police Force as well as promotion and posting of the latter’s senior officers should strictly be based on federal character representation and six geopolitical zonal structures.

This simply means that on no accounts should the command structure of the Nigeria Police Force be dominated by one ethnic group or religion. It further means that if there are 24 police AIGs in the Force, each geopolitical zone must get at least four; if there are 90 police CPs, each zone is automatically entitled to fifteen. This should be replicated in other senior or command positions and postings in the Force.  It should also be applied in field operations in the Force. For instance, out of the 12 police zonal commands and 37 State commands in the country, each zone should respectively get at least two zonal AIGs and six States CPs. But on the contrary, the reverse is the case. Deliberate Hausanisation and Islamisation policy has become a routine in the present day Nigeria Police Force under the leadership of Mr. Mohammed Diko Abubakar. As the Plateau State Commissioner of Police years back in 2001 or there about, Mr. M.D. Abubakar was gravely accused by Christian community, media, rights groups and government adhoc facts finders as an ethnic and religious zealot, a stigma that nearly robbed him of his present IGPship, which is still a big minus on his personage till date.

Our Grouse:
Non-promotion of Igbo-Southeast Police Personnel & Stagnation of their Ranks: Senior police officers of the Southeast extraction are heavily discriminated against in the areas of statutory promotions and postings. There is also an age-long ranking stagnation policy against them being promoted by the top headship of the Nigeria Police Force. The top field and administrative formations of the Force in Nigeria, out of its 6,651 field formations in the country are: IGPship manned by the overall head of the Force, six DIGs of administration, works, investigation, training, planning & research and information & computer technology; twelve zonal commands manned by twelve AIGs, thirty-seven States and FCT Commands manned by 37 States Commissioners of Police as well as hundreds of State criminal investigation departments and area commands manned by Assistant Commissioners of Police. There are also other important field and administrative formations in the Force manned by AIGs, CPs and DCPs. Some of them are Police Staff College, Jos, Police Academy, Kano, Police Medical, Police Veterinary, Air-wing, Border Patrols, Force Secretary, Intelligence and Marines & Airport Command, all manned by AIGs. Others like Police Detective Colleges, Police Colleges, Police Admin, Police Legal, Port Authority, MOPOL, SARS, CTU, Info Tech/Admin, Police Animal, etc, are manned by Commissioners of Police.

Surprisingly and shocking too, senior police officers of the Igbo-Southeast extraction are not equitably represented in all these key police formations in the country. For instance, in the number of serving police commissioners in Nigeria, the Southeast zone is the least represented geopolitically. Other than States Police Commands where about six of them are serving with their statutory terminal dates nearing, their absence in other key police formations in the country is acutely noticed. For instance, among the 12 Police Zonal Commands in the country, manned by AIGs, none of them is from the Igbo-Southeast extraction. As a matter of fact, there is no Igbo-Southeast serving AIG, out of between 22 and 24 serving AIGs (assistant inspectors general of police) in the Nigeria Police Force presently. The only serving AIG from the zone who was promoted in 2012 on the heels of similar outcries from the zone over non-promotion and exclusion of Igbo-Southeast senior police officers, quietly retired in April 2013. His name is Mr. Alex Emeka Okeke-a celebrated police pharmacist.

The promotion of Igbo-Southeast senior police officers to the ranks of ACPs, DCPs, CPs and AIGs is also deliberately stunted and carried out months away from their statutory retirement dates. There are incontrovertible pieces of evidence showing that the Igbo-Southeast police officers are among the best in both police colleges and police staff colleges in Nigeria, yet their promotions and postings are habitually stunted by the promoting and posting authorities of the NPF. There are still many Igbo-Southeast police officers who entered the Force in early 80s with higher education qualifications, who also emerged all round cadets in police colleges, yet, they are still in the ranks of SPs, CSPs, ACPs and DCPs, whereas their counterparts from five other geopolitical zones particularly the Northwest, Northeast, North-central and Southwest, have risen to the ranks of CPs, AIGs and DIGs. The present IGP, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, from Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria, joined the NPF as a cadet inspector on 1st day of August, 1979.

The Last Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back: On 3rd day of May, 2013, Nigerians, particularly those of the Southeast extraction received with shock and disbelief the news of decoration by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, of nine newly promoted Commissioners of Police at Force Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria. Our swift checks revealed that they were part of  the 13 deputy commissioners of police promoted to police commissioners on 3rd day of April by the immediate past leadership of the Nigeria Police Service Commission, which said it acted based on the recommendation of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. M.D. Abubakar. The former PSC leadership had in the exercise promoted 13 DCPs to CPs, 22 ACPs to DCPs, 9 CSPs to ACPs, 16 DSPs to SPs, 52 ASPs to DSPs and 7 Inspectors to ASPs. Also, one serving Commissioner of Police, Ali Ahmadu, was made an AIG with a strange directive that his promotion would take effect from 31st day of July, 2013, the same day he will retire from the Nigeria Police Force. The identities and geopolitical zones of the newly promoted officers were shrouded in secrecy by the former PSC leadership as well as the top leadership of the Force with the exception of the nine newly decorated CPs. The full details of the promotion were neither put on the PSC and NPF websites nor given to the media.

Our further in-depth checks showed that out of the nine newly promoted and decorated police commissioners, whose identities were made public by the IGP, none of them is from the Igbo-Southeast Nigeria and out of the 13 new CPs promoted, none is from the Southeast, whereas eight out of the nine newly decorated ones are  northern Muslims. Seven of them are core Hausa-Fulani Muslims; one is a northern Yoruba Muslim, while one is a Southwest Christian.  Their names are:  Commissioners of Police Kudu Abubakar Nima, Umar U. Shehu, Usman Yakubu, Saidu Madawaki, Usman Isah Baba, Abdulmajid Ali, Abubakar Adamu Mohammed, Abdul Salami and Cornelius Kayode Aderanti.   For us in the Intersociety, this is an impeachable violation of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution.

Further, in the eighteen names available to us, out of between 22 and 24 serving AIGs in the Nigeria Police Force, none of them comes from the Southeast geopolitical zone. They are: Police AIGs Saliu Argungu Hashimu, Mamman Ibrahim Tsafe, Suleiman A. Abba, Ali Ahmadu, Ibrahim Abdu, Tambari Mohammed, Mohammed Abubakar, Aliyu Musa and Balla Hassan (they are all Hausa-Fulani Muslims). Nine other non-Igbo-Southeast AIGs still serving are: Christopher Dega, Julius Ishola, Solomon Arase, Dan’azumi Job Doma, Solomon Olusegun, Michael Zuokumor, Orubebe Gandhi Ebikeme, Jonathan Johnson and Philemon Leha. None of the 4 or 6 remaining AIGs, whose names are not contained here, is from the Igbo-Southeast Nigeria. In the list above, all the geopolitical zones of Northwest, Northeast, North-central, Southwest and South-south are represented in the all-important AIGship except the Southeast zone.

Few serving Igbo-Southeast States CPs in Nigeria with nearing statutory terminal  dates are CPs Ikechukwu Aduba-Delta State, Godfrey Okeke-Adamawa State, Kingsley Omire-Bayelsa State, Hilary Opara-Kogi State, Ikemefula Okoye-Ogun and Patrick Egbuniwe-Yobe State. Four other known non-State Command CPs from the Igbo-Southeast, who are still serving are CPs  Mrs. Chintua Amajor Onu-CP Intelligence, Force Headquarters, Isaac Eke-CP Admin B, Force Headquarters, Benjamin Onwuka-Deputy Commandant, Police College, Jos and Felix Uyanna-Commandant,  Police College, Oji River, Enugu State. It is possible that some of these CPs that bear Igbo names are of the South-south Igbo origin. The only cadre of the NPF top command that is equitably represented in the six geopolitical zonal structures is the six NPF’s top management levels manned by Deputy Inspectors General of Police. While DIGs Atiku Y. Kafur and Suleiman D. Fakai of Planning & Research and Administration departments, respectively, represent Northwest and Northeast geopolitical zones; DIGs Marvel Akpoyibo and Abdulrahman Akano of Training and Information & Computer Technology departments, respectively, represent South-south and Southwest zones. DIGs Peter Yisa Gana and Emmanuel Onyekachi Udoji of Investigation and Works departments, respectively, represent North-central and Southeast zones.

Marginalization of the Igbo-Southeast in Other Federal Ministries & Agencies: The attentions of Your Excellencies are drawn to efforts by some key federal ministries and agencies controlled by other geopolitical zones to oust and destroy the Igbo-Southeast personnel working in such ministries and agencies. It is clear to every Tom, Dick and Harry that the Northwest, Northeast, North-central and Southwest zones are not comfortable over the headship of the Nigerian Army by an Igbo-Southeast person. Phantom moves are steadily being made to oust the zone from the position. Just months ago, the Controller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mrs. Rose Uzoma, who hailed from the Southeast zone, was unceremoniously ousted by the Federal Government under Your Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, over phantom allegations including recruitment of Igbo persons into the Service outside the Federal Character principle. Recently, the concerned Igbo-Southeast personnel working in the Service cried foul over the discriminatory practices being initiated and sustained against them in the Service and the Federal Ministry of Interior. They complained of non-appointment into key positions, barefaced discrimination, sideling and allocation of irrelevant duties to them, unnecessary and deliberate delays in appointing another Southeast person as the acting or substantive Controller General of the Immigration Service, among others. They specifically pointed out that the Igbo-Southeast are not represented in the Federal Ministry of Interior’s boards of Prisons, Immigration, Security & Civil Defense Corps, Customs and Police. Whereas other geopolitical zones are represented in the Ministry’s Joint Intelligence Board, it is only the Southeast zone that is not represented. They cited a stark example of the lopsided composition of the Ministry of Interior, where the Minister and Permanent Secretary are from the north and chairman and secretary of the Immigration Board are from the same north. Same thing applies to Prisons and Civil Defense Corps, etc.

Conclusion: Our writing Your Excellencies is to draw Your Excellencies’  attentions to issues under reference and demand for permanent end to same as well as strict adherence to Section 14(3) and six geopolitical zonal principle in matters of distribution of federal appointments, recruitments, promotions and postings of members of the armed forces including the Nigeria Police Force. The recent promotions in the NPF being complained of should be thoroughly and expeditiously investigated with a view to addressing the gross lopsidedness and sanctioning those found flouting the said Section 14(3). Your Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan, should expeditiously issue a presidential proclamation directing all heads of the armed forces including the NPF and the PSC to henceforth base their recruitments, promotions and postings on Section 14(3) and six geopolitical zonal structures. Your Excellency, as the chairman of the Nigeria Police Council and sole appointing authority of members of the PSC board should ensure that the next PSC board is composed of astute and impeccable personalities. The grave mistake of appointing a retired police officer as the chairman of the PSC must be avoided. The intendment behind the creation of the PSC is not to militarize the NPF but to civilianize it and provide effective checks and balances on its headship at all times. Also, promoting police officers on the recommendation of the IGP is illegal and unconstitutional. The PSC is expressly empowered both constitutionally and legally to appoint (promote), dismiss and discipline any member of the NPF other than the IGP without recourse to the IGP’s so called recommendation. The IGP is the operational head of the Force and nothing more than that.

We urge Your Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, as the chairman of the Southeast Governors’ Forum, to be more proactive, protective and outspoken whenever the lives, liberties and interests of the people of Igbo-Southeast such as the foregoing are under threats. The slaughtering of thousands of the Southeast people on yearly basis by lawful and unlawful armed malicious elements in the country is partly because of the lopsidedness being complained of and quietness of the graveyard on the part of the zone’s top public office holders. The leaders of the zone under Your Excellency’s leadership must no longer sound and behave like a conquered people, which they are not.  Nigeria, as Your Excellency is aware, belongs to all of us. Our people must be maximally protected in any part of the country at all times. The Jonathan’s Presidency must no longer be made to look like Jonathan rules and Igbo people get perished political game.

Yours Faithfully,
 For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
Mobile Phone Nos.: 08033601078, 08180103912
Website: intersociety-ng.org

CC:
The Chairman, Federal Character Commission, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Deputy President of Senate, National Assembly of Nigeria, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

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