As expected, the recent exercise of the Police Service Commission that led to the demotion of 140 officers of the Force was received with mixed feelings. While some supported the move, others were against it. Comfort Obi's write-up on the issue provided an insight into what transpired that eventually led to the action of the Police Service Commission.
However, we need to take a second look at the whole scenario. According to the Englishman, to every general rule there is an exception. It is this exception that forms the basis of the opinion I hold here.
It is reliably gathered that in the past, promotions in the Force were based on favouritism and godfatherism. That is, you need to have a godfather to get promoted. This is not good for the Force. It weakens the morale of officers. It is equally true that not all promotions in the Force were fraudulently and externally motivated.
While some officers get promoted when they do not merit it, yet others were not promoted even though they were long over due for the promotions. The action of the Police Service Commission would have been complemented by promoting those that were due but have not been promoted.
It is an axiom that biased promotion is capable of eroding confidence of officers within the rank and file of the Force; it is equally true that the demotion can cause discontentment and dissatisfaction. Some of the officers demoted were actually qualified for the rank they were demoted from as at the time of the demotion. And to be fair to some of them, they do not lobby for the promotions.
Neither were there pressures from Aso Rock for them to be promoted. The most logical thing to have done is to have such ones ratified and possibly have the date of promotion reversed instead of outright demotion. This will flow with common sense if the affected officer merits the promotion. Outright demotion is tantamount to throwing the baby away with the bad water.
Since is it not possible to mention all the officers involved one after the other, I will take just some cases to buttress my argument. From information available on the Source magazine of August 18, 2008, Nuhu Ribadu, a fine cop with an unusual zeal to fight corruption was an ACP in 2003.
He was promoted to the rank of DCP in 2005 i.e. two years after and to CP in 2006. Again he shot up to AIG in 2007 i.e. a year after. From the foregoing, Ribadu was not due for these promotions as at the time he was promoted. But as an ACP in 2003, he is due for the rank of DCP in 2008 when he was demoted to the rank of DCP, all other things being equal.
As a mark of appreciation for the gallantry he displayed at EFCC, he would just have been reverted to the rank of CP, even though he is yet to be qualified for the rank. This would have been regarded as one of the special promotions which is recognized by the laws guiding such promotions. Anything short of this will portray the recent exercise as politically motivated and a witch-hunt even though I do not share this view.
Another officer whose demotion calls for a review is ACP Mohammed Adamu. Information made available from police memo has it that Adamu is Nigeria 's representative in the INTERPOL Headquarters, Lyon and presently one of the Directors at the headquarters.
He is reputed to be the only African to occupy such an exalted position. He is reported to have spent over eight years in France with an unblemished track record of enviable service. To put it mildly, Adamu is an ambassador not only to the Nigeria Police but to the country as a whole.
As an ACP in 2003, he is fully due for the rank of DCP in 2006, every other things being equal. And that was exactly when he was promoted DCP. Reverting his rank to ACP, a rank he worn close to six years ago is not fair to this gallant officer. His DCP rank requires ratification by the Police Service Commission.
Unlike Ribadu and some other affected officers, Adamu's promotion from ACP to DCP falls within the three years requirement. It still rattles my imagination why he was affected by the recent exercise. If the only anomaly in Adamu's promotion is its failure to pass through the PSC, it won't be in the best interest of justice to punish a fine cop simply on account of this, even when he not only merits the promotion but he deserves it.
CSP Sarah Idowu Ehindero's case is a clear one of impropriety. Apart from the fact that she did not have the mandatory three years in her kitty, there is really no feat she displayed as an officer. What informed her promotion to the rank of CSP is better explained by the man at the centre of this controversy, former IG Sunday Ehindero.
After all is said and done, the objective of the Police Service Commission which is to serve as a catalyst for human development in the Nigeria Police Force should not be defeated simply on the alter correcting the wrongs of the past. As mentioned earlier, there are exceptions to every general rule.
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