By Yunusa Abdullahi
It is more than three months since the Police Service Commission (PSC) approved IGP Ibrahim Idris recommendation of special promotion for some officers and men of the Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU) for rare display of gallantry, courage and Resilience of Over 4 years which led to the arrest of Nigeria’s Most Notorious kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike aka Evans and members of his gang.
For the entire Police force and Nigerians, the eventual arrest of Evans and his Group remains one of the biggest achievements recorded by The Police Force since the Arrest of Anini 3 decades ago. Indeed, Evans did put the operational capacity and resolve of the Nigerian Police Force to fight crime to serious test. At some point the NPF almost lost the battle as cases of kidnapping across the length and breadth of the country became rampant and Billions of Naira collected as Ransom.
The journey to trailing and tracking down Evans and his men wasn’t a walk in the park. Some patriotic personnel of the Nigeria Police made it possible. The clampdown on Evans and members of his gang is reminiscent of the dark era of dreaded robbery kingpin, late Lawrence Anini and his men. For Nigerians, especially those on the Lagos axis and the South East region, Evans’ arrest is an answered prayer. This is simply why Nigerians commended IGP Ibrahim Idris’ resolve to reward officers and men who made the arrest possible.
But sadly, while Nigerians hailed the IGP’s resolve to reward these gallant officers’ heroic conducts, a gesture many said should be sustained to serve as motivation for others, the supposed beneficiaries are yet to be given letters of promotion or decorated with their new ranks. Rather, the disheartening information emanating from the Louis Edet House and the National Assembly is that some serving “privileged” officers attached to political officers holders have had their names smuggled into the original IGP’s list submitted to the Police Service Commission (PSC) for approval.
A reliable source confirmed that the list which has ballooned from 20 to over 200 officers is serious ripples within the force. The truth is, a development as this is unhealthy for both the image of the Nigeria Police and the country as a whole. This is all together an anomaly the Police leadership must not sweep under the carpet.
As you read these lines, both the leadership of the Police Service Commission, the body that supervises the force and the Nigeria Police are yet to offer genuine explanations on why some undeserving police officers with no link to the Special Intelligence Unit and the TIU had their names included on the list.
Like in most aspects of our national life, we are yet to get it right with regards to our reward system. Our reward system is awkward. It is an arrangement that favours the corrupt, inept, incompetent and lazy at the expense of the incorruptible, qualified, capable and the industrious. This is what has played out in the case of this special promotion exercise within the force. While a team of courageous, hardworking, brave and gallant officers kept vigil in search of Evans and his likes; lazy, potbellied but highly connected officers have become beneficiaries of what they never laboured for.
Take It or leave it, this unfortunate occurrence is bound to weaken the morale of these deserving officers. Why will a police officer still put his life on the line in defence of his fatherland when he knows he has nothing to gain in return. It is a sad commentary that a sensitive organ like the Police Force which is saddled with the responsibility of maintaining law and order is neck deep in dirty deals as this.
It is not difficult for the PSC to get the actual names of the Officers that arrested Evans and his gang as this can be done under 24 hours, so why the delay in releasing their promotion?
This case is an integrity test for the Police Service Commission. The actual beneficiaries of the Special promotion in Evans case should be given their letters by the PSC and decorated forthwith. At the same time, the IGP should liaise with the Police Service Commission to ensure the undeserving police personnel on the list are identified and sanctioned.