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Between Nigeria Police and Senator Misau -Tribune

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A raging controversy between the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris and the Chairman, Senate Committee on the Navy, Senator Hamman Isah Misau, is at the moment smearing the polity. The senator had stunned Nigerians when he alleged that the IGP was shortchanging the Nigeria Police by diverting the internally generated revenue of the force that amounted to about N10 billion monthly. He further alleged that the IGP made substantial sums in bribes from corporations and individuals to whom he made available the services of policemen as orderlies and guards. Apparently hurt by this allegation, the Nigeria Police, on August 27, immediately alleged that the senator was a deserter, having left the force on the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in 2010 while on posting to Niger State. It claimed that Misau contested the House of Representatives’ ticket in 2011 even when he had not properly resigned his commission and accused him of possessing a forged retirement letter. It said: “The misrepresentation of facts and concocted allegations by the senator against the Inspector General of Police and the Nigeria Police Force are unfounded fallacies aimed at casting aspersions on the renewed commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to ensure law and order and protection of lives and property across the country.”

 

In his own reaction, the senator submitted evidence which indicated that he indeed resigned from the force before contesting for office. His letter of disengagement was written in 2014. In a country where there is no database of workers or systemic identification of persons, such episodes as this are commonplace. There are people who commit crimes who merely exchange jobs and places of domicile and continue in new domiciles unidentified and unable to be reprimanded. Thus, the police’s position raised a number of posers. Was the senator screened by his party before he contested election? If so, what happened at that level? Did his political party bother to verify from the last place of work which he cited and what was the response? Or didn’t Misau provide a last place of work which tallied with the allegation from the police that he was last transferred to Niger State? The Senate, which appointed him as chairman of its Committee on the Navy, ostensibly did this based on his claim of being an ex-officer of the police. So, did the Senate verify this information? Was he declared wanted and labeled a deserter by the force after his alleged desertion had been confirmed? For the right thing to do was to have declared him wanted after six months of absence at his last duty post.

And if indeed the claim that Misau was posted to Niger State in 2010 but that he contested in 2011 for a seat in the House of Representatives was true, why did the system not detect that he hadn’t resigned from the police? At what point did the police discover that Misau was a deserter? Was it when he made the damaging allegation against the IGP? Were the police aware of the alleged desertion but been pandering to it until Misau decided to levy those weighty allegations against the IGP? The controversy no doubt turned into a complex comedy.

As things turned out, however, the police had merely chosen to take the nation on a ride, as the Police Service Commission (PSC) later came out with a statement indicating that the senator’s resignation letter indeed emanated from it. According to Ikechukwu Ani, the Head, Press and Public Relations of the commission, the retirement letter with reference number PSC 1034 Vol.8/244 was issued on March 4, 2014 but took effect from December.1, 2010. It followed the due process and was based on a recommendation from the Force Headquarters. The PSC’s statement notwithstanding, we call for a separate investigating panel to unearth the truth of the claims and counter-claims in the controversy. The panel would need to ask the question when the police actually stopped Misau’s salary since, by the PSC’s admission, the senator indeed resigned from the police in 2010 but the letter was approved in 2014. In any case, if indeed it took three years to approve a resignation letter, it should not be difficult to see why Nigerians perceive the police as corrupt and inefficient.

Strangely, the police authorities declared that they were not aware of Misau’s purported clearance by the PSC and that if that was the case, it would be unfortunate as the senator refused to appear before the panel inaugurated by the commission to look into the allegation of forgery levelled against him. The Force Public Relations Officer (FRPO), Moshood Jimoh, advised the  senator  to report at his last duty post in Niger State, while investigation into various pending disciplinary actions against him were still pending. This was just as the chairman of the PSC, Mr. Mike Okiro, defended its action, insisting that Misau’s retirement letter was actually issued by the commission based on the recommendation to that effect from the Force Headquarters.

By the way, the allegations against the IGP are staggering. And Nigerians want the truth of the matter unearthed. This, we suggest, should not be handled by the police, the PSC or even the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), all of which have the imprimatur of the police. The police cannot and should not be allowed to be the accuser and judge in their own case. Finding out the truth would afford the country an opportunity to clear the current mess.

Tribune

 

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