A police signal obtained by Saharareporters has shown that following a scandalous phone conversation between the chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro, and President Muhammadu Buhari's Chief Personal Security Officer, Abdulkarim Dauda, the spokesperson to the Nigerian Police force Moshood Jimoh has been illegally promoted to the position of Commissioner of police by the PSC.
A section of the officer cadre of the Nigeria Police Force is currently brimming with anger over the latest promotion exercise, which list was released on Tuesday. SaharaReporters gathered that Okiro, Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) is the major target of the anger.
Police sources disclosed that some officers promoted from the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police to Commissioner of Police and from Assistant Commissioner of Police to Deputy Commissioner of Police were recommended for elevation by the PSC after greasing Mr. Okiro’s palms with millions of naira, some gave him up to N5million to get promoted.
Hints of the promotion scam manifested last week, when SaharaReporters published details of a phone conversation between a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Dauda and Mr. Okiro.
Mr. Dauda, the Chief Personal Security Officer to President Muhammadu Buhari, in the conversation, could be heard begging Mr. Okiro to promote the police spokesman.
The PSC Chairman told Mr. Dauda that he was working on the matter and promised to elevate Mr. Dauda himself to Commissioner of Police but Dauda's name did not appear on the list of promoted officers in the signal obtained by Saharareporters today.
“This boy came to me begging me to talk to you, to plead with you, about his promotion,” Dauda told Mr. Okiro about the Force spokesman.
Mr. Okiro’s tenure as PSC Chairman, which technically lapsed in December, has been blighted by controversies, notably allegations of corruption.
Last year, SaharaReporters published a story on how the commission is driven by cronyism. The commission, under Mr. Okiro, prefers to reward cronies at the expense of well-educated young officers in the inspectorate cadre and even among the rank and file.
A source told Saharareporters at the time that Mr. Okiro is indifferent to the regulation for promoting in-service officers to the position of Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASP) and prefers to recruit through direct entry.
Section 39 of Part IV (Appointments) of the Police Act and Regulation provides: "When vacancies in the establishment of Assistant Superintendents of Police cannot, by reason of unavailability of suitable candidates, be filled by promotions from within the Force, the Inspector-General shall so inform the Nigeria Police Council and may request it to arrange for the posts to be filled by direct entry.”
The stated conditions of “unavailability” and “suitability” for filling the ASP cadre by direct entry, said sources, are willfully disregarded by the commission to ensure that it is filled by cronies.
Two years ago, a 49-member civil society coalition under Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), called for Mr. Okiro’s sack. The coalition accused him of lacking integrity, pointing to the welter of corruption allegations brought against him by police officers. In a petition to President Buhari, the coalition cited the lack of fidelity in the Police promotion exercise.
"Many (applicants) did not have the basic qualifications and presented either fake certificates or the certificates of others. Most of them paid various sums of money in bribe to be recruited. This explains why there are many armed robbers, kidnappers and sundry criminals within the Police Force," NOPRIN said in the petition.
Last month, anti-graft coalition, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), kicked against Mr. Okiro’s continued stay in office as PSC Chairman. CSNAC, in a petition, stated that the dissolution of the PSC board on 29 December 2017, has made the stay of the PSC in office untenable.