Monday, 13 May 2013

Open Letter: Hausanisation And Islamisation Policy In The Nigeria Police Force (Part Two)





Ref: Intersociety/S/03/05/013/S/E/Presidency/ABJ/FG

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

To:
Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces & Chairman, Nigeria Police Council

Thro
Mr. Peter Gregory Obi
Chairman, the Southeast Governors’ Forum
Office of the Governor of Anambra State
Government House, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria

Your Excellencies,
 Hausanisation & Islamisation  Policy In The Nigeria Police Force: Igbo-Southeast As Endangered Species With The Loss Of Over 2,500 Souls Under Your Excellency’s Administration -Part Two
On 6th day of May, 2013, we addressed a letter to Your Excellencies with the above related caption. The letter is referenced: Intersociety/S/01/05/013/S/E/Presidency/ABJ/FGN. We also addressed another letter to the Executive Chairman of the Federal Character Commission, dated 6th day of May, 2013 and referenced: Intersociety/S/02/05/013/S/E/FCC/ABJ/FGN. Copies of the two letters are attached for Your Excellenciesperusal and required action.

Our writing Your Excellencies again is as a result of topical events of the past days. Apart from the said events, we also find it important and necessary to make the following corrections and clarifications pertaining to our first letter to Your Excellencies. It is recalled that we had in the said letter included the name of AIG (now DIG) Philemon Leha as one of the serving AIGs in the NPF. He hails from Taraba State, Northeast Nigeria. But further checks by leadership indicate that he was promoted to the DIG in 2012 on the heels of the tragic death of DIG Haruna John, who died in a helicopter crash. Also as we rightly pointed out in the letter to the effect that some CPs whom we thought to be from the Igbo-Southeast may most likely hail from the South-south Igbo areas. True to this position of ours, CP Kingsley Omire, who retired statutorily on 21st day of April, 2013 as Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, is not from Igbo-Southeast, but from Delta State. CP Benjamin Onwuka, who is Deputy Commandant, Police College, Jos, is not from Igbo-Southeast, but from Asaba in Delta State. CP Isaac Eke, CP Admin B, Force Headquarters, is from Rivers State and not from Igbo- Southeast, and CP Patrick Egbuniwe, who was Commissioner of Police in-charge of Yobe State Command, has retired statutorily weeks or months ago. He hails from Onitsha in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria.

Following the clarifications above, the number of serving Igbo-Southeast Commissioners of Police in the Nigeria Police Force has reduced to seven. Four of them: CPs Ikechukwu Aduba, CP in-charge of Delta State Command, Godfrey Okeke, CP in-charge of Adamawa State Command, Hilary Opara, CP in-charge of Kogi State Command and Ikemuefula Okoye, CP in-charge of Ogun State Command, are the only four serving State Commissioners of Police in Nigeria, who hail from Igbo-Southeast, while CPs Mrs. Chintua Amajor Onu-CP Intelligence, Felix Uyanna-Commandant, Police College, Oji River and Sylvester Umeh-CP, PAP, Eastern Port are the three remaining non-State Commissioners of Police from the zone.

Authoritatively speaking, Your Excellencies,  there are confirmed 21 serving AIGs including 2 specialists and 19 general duties in the Nigeria Police Force as at 4th day of April, 2013(last promotion by PSC/NPF took place on 3rd day of April, 2013). Shockingly and sadly too, none of the said serving AIGs in the NPF is from the Igbo-Southeast Nigeria. This is an impeachable violation of Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution on federal character principle. There are also 86 confirmed serving Commissioners of Police (CPs) in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as of date including 80 general duties and 6 specialists.  Shockingly speaking, Your Excellencies, only seven Commissioners of Police out of the 86 come from the Igbo-Southeast. This is another grave violation of the said Section 14(3). By express meaning of this Section as well as federal character principle and six geopolitical zonal structures, the Igbo-Southeast zone is entitled to at least 14 serving CPs out of the 86 serving CPs and should be entitled to 15 if their number is increased to 90. Also due to deliberate stagnation that condemnably trailed the statutory promotion and posting of these serving Igbo-Southeast CPs and few others that occupy senior ranking positions like DCPs, ACPs, CSPs and SPs, some of them will be due for statutory retirement in few weeks or months away from date.

Similarly, it is authoritatively confirmed that there are 176 serving DCPs in the NPF as of date including 163 general duties and 13 specialists. In the area of Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs), there are 385 of them serving in the NPF as of date with 374 general duties and 11 specialists. There are also 1,052 serving CSPs and 1, 707 SPs in the Nigeria Police Force as of date (03-04-2013) excluding those who possibly retired statutorily since December 2012. About 95% of the officers-in-charge of the NPF’s divisional police stations, special anti robbery squads, area commands, state criminal investigations departments, State commands, zonal commands, police educational institutions, border, airport, railway and marine patrol commands and other top administrative duties, are drawn from these top ranks of SPs to DIGs. Other than the seven serving DIGs in the Nigeria Police Force, who equitably represent the six geopolitical zones of Southeast, South-south, Southwest, Northwest, Northeast and North-central, there is barefaced geopolitical lopsidedness in the geopolitical identities and distributions of those who presently occupy the ranks of SPs to AIGs in the Force. From our in-depth checks, the geopolitical distribution of the said top police ranks heavily favors the three geopolitical zones of Northwest, Northeast and Southwest, especially those bearing Muslim names. The Southeast geopolitical zone is the worst victim of the lopsided geopolitical distribution of the said top police ranks, followed by the Christian officers of the old Middle-belt Region. The Christian peoples of the old region are presently scattered in Taraba and Adamawa of Northeast, Kaduna of Northwest and Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau of North-central.

In other words, for the promoters of hausanisation, islamisation and mediocrity policy in the Nigeria Police Force under the headship of present IGP, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar, it is a curse to be a Christian police officer from northern part of Nigeria and a candidate of hell to be an Igbo-Southeast police officer. On the other hand, it is a blessing to be a police officer from the Yoruba-Southwest or North-central and double blessing and princely too, to be a Hausa-Fulani Muslim police officer in the NPF.  For the latter, promotion, double promotions and juicy postings are designed to be their portions at all times even if they are professional mediocre(s)  and imbeciles, and for the former, especially the police officers of the Igbo-Southeast origin,  the contrary is the case at all times. For instance, heads will roll threat-statement; issued by the IGP in 2012 on the heels of suspected Boko Haram attack at the Abuja SARS headquarters had died down on discovery that the suspected police accomplices in the context of insider informants, etc were all Muslim officers. The head of the IGP’s appointed investigation team in the matter, CP (now AIG) Ahmadu Ali, recently got rewarded with an AIGship promotion to be effected on 31st day of July, 2013-his date of statutory retirement from the Force. This is even when his investigation report has continued to be shrouded in  secrecy by having not been made public till date.  If it had been discovered that Christian and Igbo officers were involved, heads would have indeed rolled.

Continued Militarization Of NPF & Okiro’s Nomination As Next Chairman Of PSC:  On 8th day of May, 2013, Your Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, sent two lists of nominees to the leadership of the Nigerian Senate, seeking their confirmation as members of the Nigeria Police Service Commission and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission. While  Your Excellency is commended for sticking to the Federal Character Principle in line with Section 14(3) in selecting members of the two public bodies, Your Excellency’s insistence on militarizing the NPF and encircling the same people that contributed to the Force’s battered image and policing failures in recent times, is unreservedly condemned. 

Your Excellency had in the said list, nominated retired IGP, Mike Mbama Okiro, from the South-south geopolitical zone as the new chairman of the PSC. Other members nominated are: Retired DIG, Yakubu Mohammed-Northwest, retired Hon. Justice Olufunke  Adekeye-Southwest, Aisha Larai Tukur-Northeast , Mrs. Comfort Obi-Southeast, Mr. Tongee Gem Toranylin-North-central and Dr. Otive Igbuzor-South-south. The retention of Mrs. Comfort Obi and Dr. Otive Igbuzor, who were members of the abysmally performed erstwhile PSC, is also condemned. New members of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, which has former Senator Ken Nnamani from the Southeast geopolitical zone as chairman, were also commendably selected in accordance with Section 14(3).

Our leadership as well as other leading social voices and civil society organizations in Nigeria and beyond has consistently opposed the appointment of retired senior police officers to head the Police Service Commission. They can be made members of the Commission, but not heads of same. The main idea of setting up the PSC is to police the police from the civil polity and not to militarize it. Retired police officers who are made to head the PSC, as the retired DIG, Parry Osayande’s immediate past era has shown, are most likely to engage in nepotism, favoritism, corruption and unprofessional midwifery of the Force. 

The PSC under them can also not function independently.  The Nigeria Police Force had since the return to civil rule in 1999, been battered and eaten up by hydra-headed monsters of corruption through roadblock extortion, illegal custody bail fees and return culture;  indiscriminate roadblock shootings and killings, pretrial killings, ethnocentrism, religious fundamentalism and institutionalization of mediocrity and unprofessionalism. The said hydra-headed monsters, which included indiscriminate mounting of roadblocks and extortion, roadblock shootings and killings, pretrial killings and return culture, were unreservedly a routine under Mike Okiro’s   IGPship, from 2007 to 2009. It was under his police midwifery that the armada of electoral fraud called 2007 general elections was conducted using the NPF to perpetrate it with impunity.  Credit will always go to the present IGP, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar as the only IGP in the history of the NPF in recent times, who had made proactive efforts at taming the high incidence of roadblock extortion, shootings and killings, notwithstanding pockets of breaches across the country.

Predictably, the Okiro’s chairmanship of the PSC will not go beyond the continued promotion of nepotism and favoritism, which breeds ethnicity, mediocrity, unprofessionalism and corruption in the NPF. There is also a serious question mark to Okiro’s integrity and character. For instance, it is on record that he retired statutorily in 2009 as Nigeria’s IGP after attaining the mandatory age of 60; that is to say that he is 64 years old this year (2013). The Senate President, David Mark, recently turned 65. The integrity question is: 

Facially and bodily looking; between Okiro and David Mark, who is older than the other? Is Okiro in his 60s or 70s or more? Or is he terminally ill? These integrity questions are necessary because we strongly believe that one of the main reasons behind Your Excellency’s nomination of Mr. Mike Okiro was because of perceived impeccability of his character. In this circumstance, though, we are having our say, while Your Excellency is possibly having Your Excellency’s way, but it will be socially disastrous for Nigeria to have another five wasted years in the Okiro’s chairmanship of the PSC without any tangible way forward for the highly battered, professionally defaced and  ethnically divided NPF.  Beyond strong moral question mark on Okiro’s character, he is constitutionally unfit to be the PSC chairman, having been a well known card-carrying member of the PDP, which is forbidden by the PSC Act of 2001 and Section 156 of the 1999 Constitution. Section 156 forbids any head of the federal bodies created by Section 153 of the Constitution such as the Police Service Commission, from belonging to a political party. Up till April 2013, Mr. Mike Okiro functioned as chief of staff to the national Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and contested for a senatorial election under the PDP during the last poll in Nigeria. The re-appointment of Mrs. Comfort Obi and Dr. Otive Igbuzor also appeared to have been done in breach of Section 156.

The inability of Your Excellency to consult widely and appropriately nowadays before making appointments into sensitive public bodies like the PSC that has a rigid tenure of five years has become worrisome. Today, political party arsonists and brigands have found their way into sacred public bodies like federal universities and other higher educational and health institutions in the form of board members and chairmen.  Conversely, sensitive appointments made during Your Excellency’s transitional presidency appeared credibly spotless, unlike Your Excellency’s present day board appointments. The NERC, NHRC and INEC Boards, are some of such popular appointments in 2010 and early 2011. On the issue of the constitution of new board for the Police Service Commission, we had expected Your Excellency to shop for credible, impeccable and seminal personalities such as Prof. Etinibi Alemika; one of Nigeria’s celebrated and foremost criminologists, who is also the NPF’s consultant, to head the new Police Service Commission.

In all, the worst  era for Nigeria’s PSC remains  the immediate past era of retired DIG, Parry Osayande(April 2008-April 2013) and the best era so far for the Commission was the era under Chief Simon Okeke(November 2001-November 2006). Unlike retired DIG, Parry Osayande’s failed team, composed of  persons  with perceived empty academic and social titles; Chief Simon Okeke’s team was made up of the unofficial president of Nigeria, during the Abacha’s military’s inglorious epoch; Mrs. Ayo Obe(former president of Nigeria’s Civil Liberties Organization-1995-2003). Others were: Hon. Justice O. Olatawura( a retired Justice of the Supreme Court), Alhaji Sani Ahmed Daura(a retired police AIG), Dr. Mrs. Aishatu Abdulkadir( a leading feminist & social Amazon), Mr. Ray Ekpu(a seasoned journalist and reputable personality) and Alhaji Rufai Mohammed.

Igbo-Southeast As Endangered Species Under Your Excellency’s Presidency: It is correct to say that the Igbo-Southeast have lost at least 2,500 of their sons and daughters since Your Excellency’s transitional and substantive presidency from May, 2010. The slaughtering of the zone’s sons and daughters is predicated by their killers, especially the killer Hausa-Fulani Muslim zealots, on false notion that there is no difference between Your Excellency’s Ijaw tribe and the Igbo race. As the most Christian populated race in Nigeria, there is no iota of doubt that the Igbo-Southeast are being targeted for total castration and elimination. 

During the 2011 post election violence in the 12 northern States of Nigeria, out of over 1000 people killed in both  pre-election and post election violence that engulfed the country that period, at least 40% or 400 of them were from the Igbo-Southeast. The zone also lost at least 20 members of the National Youth Service Corps to both election and Boko Haram violence including the Bauchi killing of April 2011 and the Suleja INEC bombings of April 2011.

Between January 2011 and January 2012, approximately 510 sons and daughters of the Igbo-Southeast were murdered in Boko Haram bomb and weapons attacks in various parts of the country including the Madalla Igbo massacre of December 25, 2011 and the Mubi Igbo massacre of January 6, 2012. In the Jos township ethno-religious attacks of 2010 and 2011, at least 300 sons and daughters of the Igbo-Southeast were murdered. In 2010 alone, up to 800 people were killed in Jos violence. The killings included the 24th December, 2010 bomb blasts in churches populated by worshippers of the Igbo-Southeast that killed at least 80 worshippers.  On 8th day of January, 2011, 40 Igbo traders were massacred in Dilimi Terminus Market, Jos in Plateau State, North-central Nigeria. On 18th day of March, 2013, over 150 citizens of the Igbo-Southeast extraction were killed in the Sabon Gari, Kano bus park bomb blasts that killed up to 180 people. In the 2011 post election violence, over 350 churches, according to the Christian Association of Nigeria, were burnt or destroyed in northern parts of the country. Ninety percent of these churches were built and populated by the Christian worshippers of the Igbo-Southeast extraction resident in northern Nigeria. Instances are too many to mention. It is utterly disheartening that in spite of these supreme sacrifices paid by the sons and daughters of the zone with respect to Your Excellency’s presidency, the zone remains an endangered species under Your Excellency’s administration. The zone is further castrated and disempowered by being ostracized from federal appointments and promotions such as in the Nigeria Police Force.

Condolences Over The Killing Of Over 100 Security Personnel In Two Days: We deeply extend our condolences to Your Excellency and the State of Nigeria over the reported loss of over 100 security personnel in two days; 07-05-2013 and 08-05-2013 in Bama, Borno State, Northeast Nigeria and Lafia in Nasarawa State, North-central Nigeria. While 22 police personnel, 14 prisons officials and two soldiers were reportedly killed alongside four civilians and 13 insurgents in Bama by Hoko Haram Islamists, credible independent sources including the Vanguard Newspaper and  the BBC Hausa Service, said that 88(BBC quoting a source at Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital in Lafia) security personnel, mainly from the NPF Mobile Force were killed in Lafia by the Ombatse Shrine armed militias. Twenty-eight(State government), out of 117 security personnel(Vanguard) that went for the professionally failed operation were reported to have been found alive, while eight, out of eleven security patrol vans involved in the abortive operation, were burnt beyond recognition. The high casualty figures associated with police law enforcement operations in the country in recent times is a direct consequence of the promotion and sustenance of ethnicity, religious bigotry, favoritism, nepotism and mediocrity in the Force. The official mangling of casualty figures in Nigeria has caught up with the NPF in this respect.

Conclusion:  We conclusively state that the people of the Igbo-Southeast must be protected at all times from other malicious Nigerians and given their rightful position in Nigeria’s socio-political scene. We reiterate our sacred demands contained in the letter above quoted and attached including an immediate end to the castration and exclusion of the Southeast zone from sensitive federal appointments and promotions including the Nigeria Police Force. Also the presidential delays in punishing the heads of the NPF for inexplicable high death toll of the Nigerian security personnel in 48 hours are very shocking and worrisome.  We also call on Your Excellency to withdraw the names of Mr. Mike Okiro, Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Mrs. Comfort Obi as Your Excellency’s nominees for the PSC Board from the Senate and replace them with other distinguished personalities.

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 Executive Chairman, Federal Character Commission, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Deputy Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Deputy Speaker, House of Reps, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

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