Protest Letters: Senior Police Officers Of Igbo-Southeast Region Are Facing Threats Of Extinction In Nigeria (Executive Summary)
Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria, Tuesday, 3rd Dec 2019:It is recalled that Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law-INTERSOCIETY had on 13th Nov 2019, following gross lopsidedness trailing recent promotions in the Nigerian security forces particularly the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Air Force; condemned same and promised the authorities of the duo that “they will hear from us soon or in coming weeks”. Similar lopsided promotions later took place in the Nigeria Customs Service on 20th Nov 2019.
In keeping to our promise, therefore, strong protest letterswere yesterday, 2nd Dec 2019, sent to the Chair of the Police Service Commission (Musiliu Smith), the Inspector General of Police (Muhammed Abubakar Adamu), the Chief of Air Staff (Sadique Abubakar) and the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (Hameed Ibrahim Ali). The protest letters were also copied to twenty-five major stake holders within and outside Nigeria. The three letters were signed by Barr Uju Joy Igboeli, Head of Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, Barr Ndidiamaka Bernard, Head of Int’l Justice & Human Rights, Barr Chinwe Umeche, Head of Democracy & Good Governance, Samuel Kamanyaoku (Comrade), Head of Field Data Collection & Documentation and Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chair of the Board of Intersociety.
Legal Basis For Writing PSC Chair & IGP
The letter to the Chair of the Police Service Commission and the Inspector General of Police was in recognition of powers and authority respectively vested in them by relevant laws of Nigeria including the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended, the Police Service Commission Act No 1 of 2001 now PSC Act of 2004 and the Nigeria Police Act & Regulations of 2004. With respect to the subject matter, Intersociety makes bold to say that there is clear-cut definition of duties and functions of the PSC and the IGP and constitutional separation of same.
Our involving the Inspector General of Police in the letter is in his capacity as the head of command, control, administration and operation of the Force. It must be reminded that in the appointment and promotion of police officers (Constable to DIG) “other than the IGP” by the Police Service Commission, the relevant laws direct that the Inspector General of Police should be consulted, but not to interfere. In the posting of newly promoted police officers and others, the Inspector General of Police is legally empowered to do so, but not outside the confines of sectional balancing. In disciplining erring police officers other than the IGP including demotion, retirement and dismissal, the Police Service Commission is legally empowered to do so and may do it concurrently with the Inspector General of Police.
The PSC Chair & The IGP Are Undermining The 1999 Constitution
The PSC Chair and the IGP are by their condemned discrimination in ‘the recruitment, promotion and posting of senior police officers in the Nigeria Police Force’, dangerously undermining the 1999 Constitution and the Acts of National Assembly establishing the PSC and the NPF’. The actions of the duo also threaten the country’s peaceful coexistence as a country with multiplicity of ethnicity and religion; with over 370 tribes dominated by three major tribes of Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani and multiple religions dominated by Christianity, Islam and traditional worshippers. This is more so when no tribe in the country constitutes 50% of the total population as to make the country to have a semblance of “neo-homogenous setting”. The duo’s actions further fuel the ‘industrial scale’ and ‘grisly’ rights abuses and violations in the country.
We had in the letter reminded that Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution firmly directs that ‘the composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character (sectional balancing) of Nigeria and 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 any of its agencies’.
We further reminded that Section 217 (3) of the same Constitution further directs that, ‘the composition of the officer corps and other ranks of the Armed Forces of the Federation shall reflect the federal character (sectional balancing) of Nigeria’; and by Section 42 under Chapter IV of the Constitution, ‘a citizen of Nigeria of a particular community shall not be discriminated against on the basis of his or her ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion or social status or class’. Similar provisions are also contained in several international treaty laws acceded to by the Federal Republic of Nigeria including the ratified and domesticated African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights of 1981, ratified and domesticated in 1983. Existing too are the ‘Federal Character Act and Commission of 2004, to mention but a few.
Detailed Investigation Of Police Senior Staff List & Findings Made
Although Intersociety has been involved in campaign for sectional balancing and efficient policing in the Nigeria Police Force since 2014 when the lopsidedness was first discovered, but the lopsidedness in the Force under complaint has gone ‘nuclear’ since mid 2015; threatening the Igbo-Southeast Region with total elimination from the NPF. As a matter of fact and urgency, the Southeast Geopolitical already stands the high risk of not producing the country’s IGP in the next ten years, if not permanently; likewise having balanced number of ACPs, DCPs, CPs and AIGs and producing balanced number of State CPs and Zonal AIGs. Unless this ugly trend is holistically and urgently reversed, otherwise, Igbo-Southeast as a very important geopolitical region, with as much as 60m ‘sedentary’ and ‘pastoral’ population is in a verge of being wiped out of existence in the senior ranking cadre of the Nigeria Police Force.
Deeply concerned and worried by the foregoing, therefore, a detailed investigation of the NPF Senior Staff List was conducted by the leadership of Intersociety. The investigated lists were “Senior Police Officers Staff List: IGP-ACP”, dated Monday, 22nd July 2019 and “Senior Police Officers Staff List: IGP-CSP”, dated Tuesday, 8th Jan 2019. While the recently updated list was looked into to find out the total number of Police DIGs, AIGs, CPs, DCPs and ACPs allocated to each of the country’s six geopolitical zones or regions; the Jan 2019 version of the list was also looked into to ascertain the number of CSPs allocated to Igbo-Southeast Region, using the regional average and bearing in mind the recent promotion of 230 new CSPs.
· IGP: Total No=One: Mohammed Abubakar Adamu (Muslim), Nasarawa State-North-Central (retires on 1st Feb 2021)
· DIG: Total No=Seven: Regional Average: One:Northwest, Two, Northeast One, North-Central One, Southwest One, South-South One and Southeast One (Celestine Okoye; he retires on 22ndDec 2020). In the DIG allocation, regional balancing principle for the country’s six geopolitical zones or regions was maintained or adhered to.
· AIG: Total No=36: Regional Average: 6: Northwest 9, Northeast 14, North-Central 4, Southwest 5, South-South 4 and Southeast Nil. Here the Igbo-Southeast is constitutionally deprived of six Assistant Inspectors General of Police.
· 12 Police Zonal AIGs: Regional Average: 2: Northwest 3 (AIGs for Zone 1-Sokoto, Zone 2-Lagos and Zone 6-Calabar), Northeast 7 (AIGs for Zone 8-Lokoja, Zone 7-Abuja, Zone 4-Makurdi, Zone 3-Yola, Zone 5-Benin, Zone 10-Sokoto and Zone 9-Umuahia), North-Central 1 (Zone 12-Bauchi), Southwest 1 (Zone 11-Oshogbo), South-South-Nil and Southeast-Nil. Here the Igbo-Southeast and the South-South are constitutionally deprived of two Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police apiece.
· 37 Serving State CPs: Regional Average: 6: Northwest 12 (Katsina-four, Kebbi-three, Sokoto-two, Zamfara-one, Kano-one and Kaduna-one), Northeast 8 (Adamawa-two, Taraba-two, Borno-one, Gombe-one, Bauchi-one and Yobe-one), Southwest 7 (Osun-three, Lagos-two, Ogun-two, Ekiti-one, Oyo-one and Ondo-one), South-South 3 (Cross River-one, Akwa Ibom-one and Edo-one) and Southeast 1 (Imo State-one). The only Igbo-Southeast State Commissioner of Police is CP Uche J. Anozia (CP, Bayelsa State), who retires on 19th Sept 2020. Here the Igbo-Southeast is constitutionally deprived of five additional State Commissioners of Police.
· 85 Serving CPs: Regional Average: 14
· Northwest 21, Northeast 20, North-Central 14, Southwest 16, South-South 11 and Southeast 4 plus One Acting CP=5. The four serving Igbo-Southeast CPs and their exit dates are: Uche Anozia, exit date-19thSept 2020, Joseph Egbunike, exit date-4th June 2022, John Ogbonnaya Amadi, exit date-10th June 2023, Cyril Okoro, exit date-1stFeb 2021 and Acting CP, Josephine Nneka Anyasinti, exit date-27thDec 2022. Here the Igbo-Southeast is constitutionally deprived of ten substantive Commissioners of Police. Also CP Cyril Okoro, who will retire on 1stFeb 2021, is the same course and enlistment mate with the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Adamu Abubakar, who retires on same 1st Feb 2021.
· 248 Serving DCPs: Regional Average: 41: Northwest 34, Northeast 21, North-Central 46, Southwest 66, South-South 44 and Southeast 22. The 22 serving Igbo-Southeast DCPs and their exit dates are: Michael Okoli, exit date-27th August 2021, Ngozi Vivian Onadeko, exit date-15th March 2023, Joe Nwachukwu Enweonwu, exit date-6th June 2022, Edward Chuka Egbuka, exit date-15thMarch 2023, Josephine Ogechi Nna, exit date-15th June 2022, Benjamin Nebo Okolo, exit date-24th Dec 2025, Arungwa Udo, exit date-3rdMarch 2025, Nnamdi Onyeka, exit date-10th Nov 2023, Stanley Ude, exit date-6th May 2024, Charles Ifeatu Mozie, exit date-2ndJuly 2023, Ambrose Onah, exit date-20th June 2024.
Others are Ndu Innocent Anene, exit date-3rdJan 2024, Benneth Igweh, exit date-1stMay 2023, Augustina Ogbodo, exit date-3rd March 2025, Ploycarp Chilaka, exit date-23rd Dec 2023, Emeka Frank Mba, exit date-18thJune 2027, Joe Ndubuisi Ibezim, exit date-25th July 2022, Remi Okwor, exit date-15th March 2023, Kenechi Onwuemelie, exit date-18thMay 2027, Uzuegbu Kanayo, exit date-26th Nov 2026, Chukwudi Ariekpere, exit date-30th Oct 2026 and Godwin Iguh Eze, exit date-27thJuly 2026. Here the Igbo-Southeast is constitutionally deprived of 19 Deputy Commissioners of Police.
The list of the serving DCPs clearly shows further that eleven of the 22 (half) have between two and three years and half (2021-2023) to stay in the NPF, thereby making them potentially unfit to rise before their statutory retirements above the rank of CP. Three, out of the 22 with 2024 as their terminal date are likely not to rise above AIG, except the ugly trend is reversed very urgently. Technically speaking, the Igbo-Southeast presently is left with only eight Police DCs with considerable long service age (2025-2027).
· 581 Serving ACPs: Regional Average: 98: Northwest 100, Northeast 90, North-Central 96, Southwest 106, South-south 89 and Southeast 64. Of the number of Police ACs allocated to the Igbo-Southeast, three have retired in the outgoing year (2019), four will be out by Jan 2020, one by June 2020 and three by Jan 2021. Out of the remaining 64 Igbo-Southeast ACPs, 12 will leave the Force by May 2023 and one by May 2022.
Technically, they may likely end up as “DCPs” or at most “CPs”, unless the ugly trend is totally and urgently reversed. Only 51 of the 64 Igbo-Southeast ACPs have between five years and ten years to stay in the NPF. Totality of these is as a result of systematic and coordinated policy of ‘promotion stagnancy’ sustained against police officers of Igbo-Southeast over the years particularly since mid 2015. In all, the Igbo-Southeast is constitutionally deprived of 34 additional Assistant Commissioners of Police.
1,738 Serving CSPs: Regional Average: 290. Out of the 1,738 Police CSPs serving in the NPF including the recently promoted 230 CSPs, Igbo-Southeast is allocated with 150, instead of 290. This is as our investigation found that Northwest, Northeast, North-Central and Southwest got far more than their supposed regional average of 290 each. Some of the named States got as much as 350 each. Here, again, the Igbo-Southeast is constitutionally shortchanged and deprived of additional 140 serving Police CSPs.
The Chair of PSC was strongly called upon to not only ensure that the above highlighted constitutional aberrations and illegalities are totally discontinued, but there must also be ‘special recruitment and promotions’ to correct the imbalances under complaint. The seeming age-long ‘promotion stagnancy’ policy against Igbo-Southeast serving junior and senior police officers in the Nigeria Police Force must further be abolished. As a matter of fact, all forms of discriminatory policies in the Force remotely or directly targeted at the Igbo-Southeast Region or any other Geopolitical Region must be totally done away with. These firm demands of ours are beyond conditions and excuses. They also require extreme urgency and must be treated as ‘National Emergency’.
There Shall Be Special Promotions
Since ‘special recruitment and commissioning’ have become a precedent in the country’s security forces including the Nigeria Police Force (i.e. recruitment, commissioning and promotion of “gallant” members of the Civilian JTF and others in the Northeast into Nigerian security forces), there shall be ‘special recruitment, commissioning and promotion in the Nigeria Police Force for purpose of filling the vacancies and lopsidedness in the Force particularly those meant for Igbo-Southeast.
This is more so when by the spirit and letters of Section 6 (1) of the PSC Act of 2001 and Paragraph 30 of Part 1 of the Constitutional Third Schedule under Section 153, the PSC can ‘promote any serving member of the senior police officers in Nigeria to the next two ranks or three in the Force’. Instances include recent promotion of former AIG Muhammed Adamu Abubakar, ‘from the rank of AIG to IGP’ (two steps) and former CP Celestine Okoye, from ‘CP to DIG’ (two steps).
Promote & Appoint 226 Additional Senior Police Officers Of Southeast Region
Specifically, there shall be promoted and appointed under ‘special circumstances’ the following number of Igbo senior police officers: six new AIGs and two Zonal AIGs; ten CPs and five State Commissioners of Police; 19 additional DCPs, 34 ACPs and 150 CSPs. This is to fill the ‘shortages’ in the Region’s lists of AIGs and their zonal headships, CPs and their State Command headships, DCPs, ACPs and CSPs. Similar vacancies belonging to the Region and existing in the ranks of Constable to Superintendent shall be identified and filled up to bring same at par with those of other four geopolitical regions or regions of the Northwest, the Northeast, the North-Central and the Southwest.
Finally, the Chairman of PSC and the IGP were educated to know that the spirit and letters of the sectional or regional balancing (federal character) are that: where there are 36 State CPs, there must be six for each of the six geopolitical regions; with Northwest or FCT giving additional one. Where there are 85 serving CPs, each region must be given 14 and where there are 36 AIGs and 12 Zonal AIGs, each region must be given six and two respectively. Where there are 37 State Commissioners of Police, every State must have one CP of its origin promoted or appointed and posted as ‘a State CP’ in Nigeria. These must be replicated from Police Superintendent down to Constable. Other than the acutely marginalized Igbo-Southeast, any other geopolitical region that is shortchanged in any of the police junior and senior ranking or promotion and posting; such as the Northeast in the area of DCPs, such region must be given special promotion. To ensure this, the so called “seniority principle”, which has never been judiciously kept, must be waivered.
In the two separate letters to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col Hameed Ibrahim Ali, retired, dated same 2nd December 2019, Intersociety called on them to address the gross lopsidedness complained of. They were also urged to at all times adhere strictly to the constitutional sectional balancing principle in the recruitments and promotions of members of the Nigerian Air Force and the Nigeria Customs Service and that 1999 Constitution further forbids lopsided postings or postings done along ethno-religious lines or targeted at total domination of key and strategic posts in the Air Force and NCS by officers of particular ethnic or religious grouping. The three letters are attached for full details. For full details, see the three letters as attached.
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