Promotion Racketeering Scandal Rocks Police Service Commission
- How Operations of the PSC, its Powers were Compromised
- Rich Officers Top on Priority List of Promotions
- IGP Adamu Cornered 700 Promotions for Nasarawa Police Officers- PSC Member, Naja’atu
Part of the primary responsibilities of the Police Service Commission, PSC, under a former IGP, Mr. Musliu Smith, is the power to appoint, promote, discipline and dismiss all officers of the force with the exemption of the Inspector-General of Police, Desert Herald is reporting.
The less than three years tenure of Mr. Smith as the Chairman of the PSC is characterized by many allegations of abuse of office, abuse of due process, recruitment scandal and encouraging corruption in the Nigeria Police Force. Mr. Smith was appointed as the Chairman of the PSC on 25th July, 2018 on the influence of the APC National leader, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Since his appointment there has been one controversy or the other against the PSC and the Police as an institution.
There has been a court case between the IGP, Mohammed Adamu and the PSC under Smith all in an attempt to get maximum power over one another. Though relationship between Mr. Smith and incumbent IGP Adamu can be said to be relatively cordial when it comes to issues of mutual interest, instances abound where the PSC under him and due to pressure from other members of the Commission or staffs disagree with the office of the IGP.
While there has been similar allegations against the PSC even under the predecessor of Mr. Smith, cases and instance of promotion racketeering, recruitment scandal, bribery and corruption under the current leadership of the PSC has become more pronounced and embarrassing for both the PSC and the government.
An active member of the PSC, Hajia Naja’atu Muhammad, has been very vocal in exposing the rot, the corruption under her chairman even though the government did not take such public indictment from a member of the Commission serious to deserve an investigation and action. As such, Mr. Smith and key officers of the Commission have continued to ridicule, bastardise and abuse a system that supposed to be guided by competence and hard work before approving promotions.
DESERT HERALD can authoritatively report that under the watch of Mr. Smith the PSC is culpable in compromising especially promotions and selling it to the highest bidder. The beneficiaries of such undeserved promotions are usually the rich Police officers that can pay as much as N2 million, N3 million and up to N5 million depending on the rank and category of such promotions.
As a result particularly among senior officers, morale has been very low. Instances of a particular police officer getting as many as two promotions or more against his course mates that didn’t even get one are many. The sad story is known by virtually all police officers. As long as an officer has the resources, contact, and is willing to pay, promotion especially under the watch of Mr. Smith’s PSC is certain and can be guaranteed.
The usual practice, as gathered by DESERT HERALD through credible inside sources, is that when for example there is provision for 20 slots of promotion, the PSC used to insert an additional 20 as so-called Special Promotion. The Special Promotion is usually being shared among some members of the Commission and its top Directors. It is mostly from the fraudulent Special Promotion that members and Directors do sell to officers that can afford to pay.
One of our sources lamented that “payment is usually being done in advance mostly half of the total sum they will charge you. The remaining half is usually paid when the promotion is out. Another round of promotion is being compiled currently. It is usually extremely difficult for them to manipulate or sell promotions from Deputy Commissioners of Police (DPC) to Commissioner of Police (CP) or from CP to Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG)”.
The promotion racketeering at the PSC is usually from the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and from Superintendent of Police (SP) to CSP.
DESERT HERALD can confirm that using the fraud called Special Promotion there are some less privileged officers, officers that cannot afford to bribe their way for promotion, that is for example still in the position of SP or CSP, while their privileged course mates, those that have presumably bribed their ways up since there is no record that they have done something exceptional to be ahead of their colleagues that are now Assistant Commissioners of Police.
There are, for example, officers that are within the rank of CSPs since 2014, 2016 while others since 2018 with a good record of service but were not promoted to the next rank of ACP. Despite the fact that such deserving officers could not get their promotions since 2014, 2016, etc., DESERT HERALD can reveal that rich officers that were for example promoted to CSP in 2018 have gotten their promotion to the next rank of ACPs ahead of their former seniors.
In one particular instance using the fraudulent Special Promotion this paper can reveal that about 10 officers that got promoted to CSPs in 2018 manipulated their way and are now ACPs, while some of their senior colleagues of 2014 and 2016 are still holding the rank of CSPs.
The Directors of the PSC and other members usually shared such slots for sale to willing officers as even the IGP must negotiate with the Commission to be able to get his own slots. The IGP too is being accused of sharing such promotion slots to the indigenes of his home state, Nasarawa.
In the course of our investigation, DESERT HERALD has obtained the list of some of the beneficiaries of such fraudulent and questionable promotions under Mr. Smith. They include Hassan Aliyu, Hope Okereke, Sanusi Jidda, Patrick Johnson, Titus Adedeji, Ajasa Hakeem, Isa Garba, Ifeanyi Collincotins, and Udu Moses Ogechi.
This paper can reveal that all the officers were last promoted to CSPs in 2018 but were all recently decorated with their new ranks of Assistant Commissioners under the controversial Special Promotion of the PSC and even as virtually all their colleagues including those with far better performance are still in the rank of CSPs.
This is also happening when many of their hitherto seniors that got promoted last in 2014 and 2016 are still with the same rank of Chief Superintendent of Police, CSPs. Such poor officers were not promoted on the ground that there is no vacancy, but the sad story every Police officer is aware of today is that the PSC is creating vacancies for officers that can afford to pay through a fraud called Special Promotion.
Another questionable promotion is that of CSPs Taiwo Kasumu, Sadisu Umar, and Shina Olunlade, all to the rank of ACPs. The reason for their promotion as stated by the PSC is that they were attacked during the #EndSARS crisis even as they are not the only victims of the so-called attacks during the protest. Their aggrieved colleagues confided in DESERT HERALD that all of them have actually bribed their way to get promoted to ACPs. They alleged that they bought the promotion for as much as N4 million.
Instances of hitherto senior officers becoming junior ones due to fraudulent and questionable promotions at the Nigeria Police Force are many while discipline, dedication among officers are at the lowest ebb.
The investigation of DESERT HERALD regarding promotion racketeering, recruitment scandal at the PSC was confirmed to this reporter by a respected member of the PSC, Hajia Naja’atu Muhammad. Hajia Naja’atu has indicted both the PSC under Mr. Smith and the office of the IGP. “Let me tell you the truth. In PSC, police officers bribed their way to get a promotion, posting, and even get recruited into the service. It is an open secret. The so-called Special Promotion is a fraud.
If the system is working very well what will warrant such questionable promotions?
Why will you promote an officer if for example, he succeeded in apprehending armed robbers etc?
Is it not his job to do so?
Nigeria has failed am sorry to say. The Detective Training School in Enugu where officers are being trained has been closed for nearly 6 years now. What type of officers are we producing? There is no training at all”.
Hajia Naja’atu said the level of corruption and rot in the Nigeria Police Force has been unprecedented under the same regime that appointed her as a member of the PSC. She lamented how she wrote several petitions to the authorities as a member of the PSC without any action so far from the federal government.
“There is massive salary fraud in the Nigeria Police Force. Nobody can tell you, not even the IGP or the Chairman of the PSC, the exact workforce, the staff strength of the Police. They are making millions of naira every month through ghost workers. That is why they are fighting any initiative that will restore probity, accountability, and transparency.
When this administration assumed office the American and British Embassy officials came to us. We discussed and they are willing to help us with a comprehensive database that will check instances of ghost workers and other salary frauds, but surprisingly it was our Chairman, Mr. Smith that started going against it”.
Naja’atu lamented that in one particular instance IGP Adamu disregarded the orders of President Buhari when he allegedly compromised the Commission and inserted 700 names of officers of his home state of Nasarawa for promotion against a state like Kano with 44 Local Governments that were given only 200. And most of those that got those questionable promotions, according to her, did not even attend the screening and interview sessions for the promotion.
DESERT HERALD can recall the fact that the same Musliu Smith was forced into retirement by former President Olusegun Obasanjo because of the allegation of putting police salaries in a fixed deposit account for 7 months without paying them. It was under him as the IGP that the Police for the time first embarked on mutiny. This paper recalls previous media reports that it was the same Mr. Smith that brought down Skye Bank when he was the Chairman of the Bank.
Also, it was during the same Mr. Smith as the Chairman of PSC that staffs of the Commission embarked on demonstration, sealed the office because of rampant instances of selling promotions and recruitments.
The office then was sealed for one week before Mr. Smith eventually and reluctantly allowed the Commission to sue the IGP for tempering with the list of promotions. There are also several allegations of nepotism in many instances against Mr. Smith.
With the backing of the likes of Chief Bola Tinubu, Mr. Smith despite cases that should ordinarily earn him sack or even prosecution is not only likely to finish his first term mandate at the corrupt PSC but is highly likely to get another term as Chairman if current development at the Commission is anything to go by.
This is happening when the entire police force is being destroyed by people that supposed to nurture it, preserve its image, and develop it into a world-class Police Force that will be a pride to the nation and the majority of its poor officers that are being deprived, marginalized and cheated.
It remains to be seen in view of these challenges what legacy incumbent IGP Mohammed Adamu will leave as a northerner that has the influence not only to challenge what is happening at the PSC but to ensure that he promotes the interest and dreams of the person that appoints him into such exalted position.