Police in a fix over promotion

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HIGH level of indiscipline in the Nigeria Police, which forced the Police Service Commission to weed out ex-IGP Abba Suleiman last year, may likely go higher as special promotion keeps robbing junior officers of their move up the rank.

The next promotion exercise in the force, the National Daily has gathered, will see no fewer than 50 chief superintendents promoted, and more than 50 percent of them will come from the north.

Not that the coming promotion came on a platter of gold, though. About 108 CSPs who have served for more than 10 years, without promotion, had been grumbling underneath until recently.

While fielding questions from his men during his last visit to Lagos, IGP Ibrahim Idris was told by CSP Ibrahim Zango how many officers have been on the same rank for about a decade.

“Yet we see junior officers get special promotions and become our bosses,” another officer said. “This is demoralising.”

Special promotion, in police hierarchy, is usually given for exceptional act of bravery and policing. But politicians and godfathers have been pushing up their candidates who are good aides-de-camp and loyalists.

“We do not begrudge the beneficiaries of this favour because they did not promote themselves,” a police source told the newspaper. “But when junior officers now get promoted every two, three, or four years, the service is killing discipline.”

On listening to Zango, a surprised IGP promised it would never happen again, asking the officer to write him a letter, after which he would approve the promotion of all the 108 CSPs ripe for promotion.

Many in the police community believe writing a letter for this legitimate demand, when there is a staff list showing the details of all the CSPs due for a raise, is not necessary. The officer, however, wrote the letter. Nothing has happened so far.

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But sources within the police have confirmed lobbying has been on for a while now in the lead-up to the exercise. And tribalism is going to play a big role there.

“Among those that make the cut, officers from one section of the country are now being considered over and above others,” a source told the National Daily.

Critics of President Muhammdu Buhari’s government see a similarity between this and the last retirement exercise of no fewer than 21 assistant inspectors-general, including Joseph Mbu, Tunde Ogunsakin, and others.

The manner of their disengagement, some say, was deliberate. A source told the newspaper the 21 AIGs were given letters stating the acceptance of their voluntary retirement.

It was, however, a mischief by the police authorities who feared these AIGs were senior to the new IGP, and would have difficulty subordinating to their junior Buhari just made Nigeria’s first cop.

They protested the misrepresentation, and the letters were taken back. But nothing official has been done since the police service choreographed the retirement of these senior officers.

Although Vice President Yemi Osinbajo last week said the Nigerian police force is one of the best the world is lucky to have, these irregularities, many believe, fly in the face of effective policing.

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