Thursday, 6 March 2014
Why Former IGP Mike Okiro Is Unfit To Chair Police Service Commission-NOPRIN
A new report by NOPRIN, the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, has expressed strong opposition to the nomination of Mr. Mike Okiro, a former Inspector General of Police (IGP), as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), calling on the Senate to decline it.
The report follows last week’s nomination of the former police boss by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Saying its objections are grounded in law and as well as the overriding goal of preserving and enhancing the institutional effectiveness and credibility of the PSC, NOPRIN offered four specific reasons for opposing Mr. Okiro’s nomination:
• The need to secure the role of the Commission as civilian credible and effective oversight mechanism;
• His role in popularising extrajudicial executions in Nigeria, “an institutional illegality that has become a driver for internal extremism in Nigeria;”
• Clear and irremediable integrity deficits; and
• Partisan interests that fail to comply with the provisions of the Constitution
The NOPRIN report also expressed objection to the nomination of Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi, both of whom were commissioners in the immediate past Commission headed by Mr. Parry Osayande, declaring that they cannot be appointed as ex-officio because there are no ex-officio members in civil society or the media that they purportedly represent. It further pointed out that under the PSC Act, the re-nomination of members who have previously served a term is unlawful.
“NOPRIN believes that the PSC evinced under the Constitution and the PSC Act of 2001 is an independent and impartial institution,” the report said. “Such an institution is worth fighting for. Appointing Mr. Okiro as a former Inspector-General of Police to head the PSC subverts the independence and impartiality of the PSC.”
NOPRIN is a coalition of 47 civil society organizations spread across Nigeria and committed to promoting police accountability and respect for human rights and the enhancement of safety, security and justice.
Full text of the report:
WHY MIKE OKIRO, A RETIRED INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE IS UNSUITABLE TO HEAD EXTERNAL CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE AS CHAIRMAN OF POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION (PSC).
A REPORT BY THE
NETWORK ON POLICE REFORM IN NIGERIA (NOPRIN), MAY 2013
WHY MIKE OKIRO, A RETIRED INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE IS UNSUITABLE TO HEAD EXTERNAL CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT OF THE POLICE AS CHAIRMAN OF POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION
This report issued by the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) details why Mr. Mike Okiro, former Inspector-General of Police, is unfit and unsuitable to be confirmed as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC). The report highlights and explains four very substantial grounds of objection to Mr. Okiro’s nomination, namely
1. The need to secure the role of the Commission as civilian credible and effective oversight mechanism
2. Mr. Okiro’s role in popularising extrajudicial executions in Nigeria, an institutional illegality that has become a driver for internal extremism in Nigeria;
3. Mr. Okiro’s candidacy suffers clear and irremediable integrity deficits; and
4. As a person, Mr. Okiro’s partisan interests fail to comply with the Provisions of the Constitution
Each of the reasons summarised above raises insuperable obstacles to Mr. Okiro’s nomination. The NOPRIN and our member organisations believe that in combination, these factors make Mr. Okiro both unqualified and unsuitable to be confirmed as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission.
The relevance and capacity of the commission as a civilian oversight mechanism to discharge its statutory roles is brought to question by the appointment of a recently retired Inspector-General of Police. Mr Okiro has been serially implicated in the promotion of extra-judicial executions, a practice that has clearly been shown to have deepened the insecurity in Nigeria. This practice undermines the constitutional responsibility to guarantee public safety and security as the primary goal of government. As an active member of a political party, and tainted as he is by serious and pending allegations of corruption, Mr. Okiro does not possess the standards of independence and impartiality required for the credible discharge of the responsibilities of Chairman of the PSC.
Additionally, NOPRIN in the report points out that the reappointment of two former members (Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi) of the just dissolved Parry Osayande-led board of the PSC is unlawful and in clear violation of Section 3 (1) of Police Service Commission’s establishment Act 2001 which prohibits the reappointment of members. For the avoidance of doubt, the report makes clear that these members cannot be appointed as ex-officio because there are no ex-officio members in civil society or the media.
For these reasons, the report urges the distinguished members of the Senate to decline confirmation to the nominations of Mr. Okiro as Chairman of the PSC and to Dr. Igbuzor and Ms. Obi, as members of the Commission. It also makes additional recommendations for strengthening the PSC.
WHY MIKE OKIRO, A RETIRED INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE IS UNSUITABLE TO HEAD EXTERNAL CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT OF THE POLICE AS CHAIRMAN OF POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION.
On Wednesday May 8, 2013 President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, sent a list to the Senate seeking confirmation of Mr. Mike Okiro, former Inspector General of Police (IGP), as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC). He was one of seven listed for appointment into a reconstituted Commission. President Jonathan also nominated Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi, commissioners in the immediate past Commission headed by Mr. Parry Osayande, a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) respectively as representatives of the civil society and of the media.
Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), a coalition of 47 civil society organizations spread across Nigeria and committed to promoting police accountability and respect for human rights and the enhancement of safety, security and justice, wishes to convey through this report substantial objections to the confirmation of Mr. Okiro, Dr. Igbuzor and Ms. Obi. These objections are founded in law and justified by the overriding goal of preserving and enhancing the institutional effectiveness and credibility of the PSC. Specifically, our objections are based on four main grounds.
5. The need to secure the role of the Commission as civilian credible and effective oversight mechanism
6. Mr. Okiro’s role in popularising extrajudicial executions in Nigeria, an institutional illegality that has become a driver for internal extremism in Nigeria;
7. Mr. Okiro’s candidacy suffers clear and irremediable integrity deficits; and
8. As a person, Mr. Okiro’s partisan interests fail to comply with the Provisions of the Constitution
Each of the reasons summarised above raises insuperable obstacles to Mr. Okiro’s nomination. The NOPRIN and our member organisations believe that in combination, these factors make Mr. Okiro both unqualified and unsuitable to be confirmed as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission. In the rest of this document, we provide fuller details of the various objections to Mr. Okiro’s nomination.
With reference to Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi, NOPRIN points out that their re-nomination would violate Section 3(1) of the Police Service Commission Act which precludes the re-nomination of members whose terms have expired.
2 CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL STANDARDS GOVERNING THE COMPOSITION OF THE PSC
The Police Service Commission is established under Section 153(1) (m) of the 1999 Constitution. Under Section 154(1) of the same Constitution, the Chairman and members of the Commission “shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, be appointed by the President and the appointment shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.” The composition of the Commission is governed by Section 2(1) of the Act as follows:
The management of the Commission shall vest in the following members, whose appointment shall be in line with the Federal Character provision of the Constitution.
(a) a Chairman who shall be the Chief Executive of the Commission;
(b) a retired Justice of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal;
(c) a retired Police Officer not below the rank of Commissioner of Police;
(d) one representative each of
(i) women interest;
(ii) the Nigerian Press;
(iii) Non-Governmental human rights organisations in Nigeria;
(iv) organized Private Sector;
(v) the Secretary to the Commission
Under Section 156 of the Constitution:
(1) No person shall be qualified for appointment as a member of any of the bodies aforesaid if -
(a) he is not qualified or if he is disqualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives;
(b) within the preceding ten years, he has been removed as a member of any of the bodies or as the holder of any other office on the ground of misconduct.
(2) any person employed in the public service of the Federation shall not be disqualified for appointment as Chairman or member of any of such bodies:
Provided that where such person has been duly appointed he shall, on his appointment, be deemed to have resigned his former office as from the date of the appointment.
(3) No person shall be qualified for appointment to any of the bodies aforesaid if, having previously been appointed as a member otherwise than as an ex officio member of that body, he has been re-appointed for a further term as a member of the same body.
The qualifications for election to the House of Representatives are contained in Section 65 and 66 of the Constitution. These provisions are also reinforced by Section 2(2) of the Police Service Commission Act, which provides:
(2) The Chairman and other members of the Commission shall-
(a) be appointed by the President subject to the confirmation by the Senate;
(b) be persons of proven integrity and ability.
3 THE NEED TO SECURE THE ROLE OF THE COMMISSION AS AN INDEPENDENT CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT MECHANISM
Section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution mandates that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.” Partly for this purpose, it establishes the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in Section 214, and the Police Service Commission as an external, civilian oversight mechanism to assure the effectiveness of the Police in fulfilling this high constitutional mandate.
The defining characteristic and mission of the Commission is that it is a civilian oversight body, external to the Police. This requires the PSC to be independent and impartial. It cannot be either of these if it is headed by a retired former Inspector-General of Police.
This mission is destroyed by appointing a recent or former Inspector-General as the Chairman of the PSC. In our report entitled ‘Criminal Force…’ published jointly with Open Society Justice Initiative in 2010, NOPRIN stated as follows:
‘The Police Service Commission, established in 2001 as the oversight body for the police, has nominally strong statutory powers but remains institutionally enfeebled. The UN Special Rapporteur (on summary executions) summed up the record of the commission in the report of his mission to Nigeria as follows:
The Police Service Commission is charged with police discipline, but has opted to refer all complaints of extrajudicial police killings back to the police for investigation. The Commission’s mandate is potentially empowering. But despite efforts by one or two excellent commissioners, its performance has been dismal and self-restraining. Its quarterly reports to the President are not published and present a dismal chronicle of rubber-stamping decisions taken by the police, coupled with inaction in relation to pressing concerns. A radical overhaul of its procedures and composition is warranted.’
The PSC exists for the purpose of assuring the effectiveness and service quality of the police as well as dealing with discipline and promotions in the Force. Inherent in this mission and essential to its fulfilment of this mission is a requirement that the leadership of the PSC should be guaranteed by someone external to the Force rather than part of it.
What we need is a civilian-led PSC that has the courage to investigate all public complaints and cases of police abuse. Appointing a retired Inspector-General undermines and subverts this mission and renders the PSC ultimately into another department of the NPF. This is not good for the Police; it is inconsistent with the structure and purpose of the Constitution and the PSC Act of 2001; and defeats the whole essence of the establishment of the PSC as a civilian oversight body on policing in Nigeria. It has been demonstrated that the Commission will function, and has actually functioned more independently and effectively under a non police personnel rather than under a retired police officer. The impartiality and effectiveness of the PSC needs to be preserved and enhanced. Appointing Mr. Okiro diminishes it.
4 MR. OKIRO’S ROLE IN PROMOTING EXTRAJUDICIAL EXECUTIONS IN POLICING
The strong link between extrajudicial executions and the escalation of terrorism in Nigeria has been recognised and acknowledged by everyone, including, more recently, by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN.
Extrajudicial executions have become a factor in raising the monster of extremism in Northern Nigeria. As Inspector-General, Mr. Okiro enthusiastically promoted third-degree methods and extra-judicial executions as the principal method of policing. In December 2012, Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, disclosed:
Even the most charitable defenders of the Force cannot deny that some dishonourable officers indeed have taken the law into their hands in the most barbaric fashion by killing suspects and innocent citizens. For the avoidance of doubt, the constitutional derogation to the right to life which sanctions the use of force to curb an escapee is no blank cheque to carry out extra-judicial killings....Nonetheless, government cannot afford to ignore this dangerous trend by which lives of innocent citizens are endangered or snuffed out by those whose constitutional duty it is to secure the lives and property of the citizenry. Most of these challenges appear to have been significantly tackled by the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on the Re-organization of the Nigeria Police which recently submitted its report. It is instructive that among other recommendations, the report highlighted the need to embark on a continuous weeding out of bad and unscrupulous elements who on account of arbitrariness and opaqueness in recruitment exercise had found their way into the force.
As part of his role, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission is required to ensure administrative accountability for such malfeasance and crimes. As a former Inspector-General who promoted extra-judicial killings, Mr. Okiro cannot perform this role conscientiously. In being unable to do so, he will not only deny victims of extra-judicial executions remedies, he may also further endanger or deepen the insecurity in the country.
4(a) PARTICULARS OF MR. OKIRO’S ROLE IN PROMOTING EXTRA-JUDICIAL EXECUTIONS
Under Mr. Okiro as IGP extrajudicial executions were celebrated in the Nigeria police as a strategy of fighting crime. In the aforesaid report jointly issued in 2010 by the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) and the Open Society Justice Initiative, we reported as follows:
In November 2007, Acting Inspector-General Mike Okiro reported that the police had killed 785 and arrested 1,628 “armed robbers” in his first one hundred days in office. This translates into a daily killing rate of 7.85 persons, a kill-to-arrest ratio of 1:2.07, or, in comparison to statistics announced by former Inspector-General Ehindero, an increase of over 400 percent on the official police statistics of encounter-related police killings for the years 2000–2004.
In other words, Mr. Okiro oversaw more extra-judicial killings by the Nigeria Police Force during his time as Inspector-General of Police than any of his predecessors and grew the rate of extra-judicial killings by over 400%. This was separately buttressed by Human Rights Watch in its own findings as follows:
‘Since the January 7, 2006 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, the police continue to be implicated in numerous extrajudicial killings in the course of police operations. On November 14, 2007, Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro announced that 785 suspected “armed robbers” were shot and killed in gunfire exchanges with the police between June and the beginning of September 2007. According to the same set of statistics 1,628 armed robbers were arrested during this period.”
In any decent society, the notion - or even the mere suspicion - that the police engaged in extrajudicial killing would raise alarms. It is however, ‘stunning’, - as Human Rights Watch aptly put it, ‘that the police killed half as many ‘armed robbery suspects’ as they managed to arrest during Okiro’s first 90 days." "And it’s scandalous that leading police officials seem to regard the routine killing of Nigerian citizens - criminal suspects or not - as a point of pride."
If the mandate of the Police Service Commission is to ensure accountability for police abuses- of which extrajudicial executions have remained a notorious aspect, it will therefore be contrary to the raison d’être of the Commission to appoint as its Chair a man with such a tragic record of respect for the standards of professionalism in law enforcement. If the distinguished members of the Senate consent to this nomination, they would be voting to compromise the work of the Police Service Commission irretrievably.
NOPRIN therefore, urges the Senate to recognise and act in accordance with the imperative of strengthening the commission and securing its independence to effectively discharge its oversight functions of ensuring accountability within the police. The Senate should reject Okiro’s nomination as Chairman of the PSC.
4(b) INTEGRITY ISSUES
The PSC Act states that persons to be appointed as PSC Commissioners must ‘be persons of proven integrity and ability’. Mr. Okiro, in our view, falls short of this standard. His record of performance, character and partisan connection disqualify him for appointment as Chairman of the PSC.
4(b) (i) UNCLEARED CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS
There are pending serious allegations of crime and corruption which Mr. Okiro needs to clear before being considered for consideration for high public office. In a country governed by the rule of law and accountability, Mr. Okiro ought to be standing trial to clear his name of these grave allegations rather than being considered for appointment into office as Chairman of a the Police oversight institution under the Constitution.
It was widely reported in the media that as Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, his immediate predecessor Sunday Ehindero and several other serving police officers were implicated in several corruption scandals. The most egregious was his alleged taking of a loan of 166 million naira from a commercial bank to develop an oil company he had floated in the name of himself and his wife while still holding the office of Inspector-General. As Chairman of the Company, he was alleged to have committed perjury by falsifying some of the documents he signed on behalf of the Company. 
It was similarly reported that one John Obaniyi, a Commissioner in charge of finance at the police headquarters at the time, and a principal target of investigations into the source of N21 million seized while being moved out of Police Headquarters in Abuja, named Mr. Okiro, Mr. Ehindero and others in serious financial malfeasance and shady deals. Besides, Obaniyi revealed that several members of the police hierarchy, including Okiro shared close to N100 million from funds provided to the police to help rig the April 2007 elections. There was also the controversy over the ownership of Bharmos Ventures Nigeria Ltd, the ‘Consultant’ who was allegedly paid N1.6 billion naira for police recruitment from part of 2 billion naira realised from N2000 paid by each of the applicants for police recruitment during Okiro’s tenure as IGP
From the early days of his tenure as Acting IGP, through his days as substantive IGP, up till date, a cloud of allegations continue to hang over his neck for the numerous alleged crimes he committed while in office. As one commentator observed then,
‘Here is an Inspector-General whose men and women in uniform are often called upon to investigate other Nigerians who are implicated in the same kind of crimes and allegations he has been accused of. How can Mike Okiro, in good conscience, perform his duties as IG when he himself is as guilty as those the Police Force should be going after in the society?’ 
Section155(2) of the Constitution states that ‘…a member of any of the (federal executive) bodies (inclusive of the PSC) shall cease to be a member if the circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the body, would cause him to be disqualified for appointment as such a member.’
4(b) (ii) PARTISAN INTEREST
As a person, Mr. Okiro’s partisan interests and allegiance undermine the independence of the PSC in such a way as confirm him as unsuitable for the job of leading the PSC.
In 2010 Mr. Mike Okiro- a PDP card-carrying member, contested at a PDP primaries for Senate in the Federal Capital Territory. He lost. He was also, until last month Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur. He has since his retirement, been chairman, Security Committee of all PDP conventions.
A body which is established with the constitutional mandate to recruit, promote and discipline all police personnel other than the IGP in an independent and impartial manner is expected to be composed and headed by non partisan individuals of unquestionable integrity.
5 RE-NOMINATION OF PERSONS FOR MORE THAN ONE TERM
The re-nomination for appointment of two former members of the Commission, Dr. Otive Igbuzor and Ms. Comfort Obi, clearly violates the Police Service Commission’s establishment Act 2001. For the avoidance of doubt, Section 3 (1) of the Act provides that:
'Subject to the provisions of Section 4 of this Act, a member of the Commission, other than ex-officio members shall each hold office- for a term of four years and no more…’
The Constitution makes an exemption from this term limit for members of executive bodies who are ex-officio, i.e. appointed by virtue of office (such as a Chief Judge heading the State Judicial Service Commission) there are no such ex-officio members in the PSC.
NOPRIN believes that the PSC evinced under the Constitution and the PSC Act of 2001 is an independent and impartial institution. Such an institution is worth fighting for. Appointing Mr. Okiro as a former Inspector-General of Police to head the PSC subverts the independence and impartiality of the PSC.
It is thus our position that in order to ensure the effectiveness of the PSC, the Distinguished Senate should decline confirmation to Mr. Mike Okiro as Chairman of the PSC. NOPRIN particularly calls on the Senate to decline confirmation of Mr. Mike Okiro as Chairman of the PSC and to respectfully request the President to reconsider his nominations of both the Chairman and other members of the Commission.
Additionally, as the PSC Act does allow it, the re-nomination of members who have previously served a term is unlawful. Senate should decline them confirmation.
It is our further considered view that since members of the Commission are to represent specific interest groups, these groups must be consulted on such appointments and should have the power to recall any representative when they deem fit. The appointment process should be transparent, preferably with properly advertised vacancy notices.
The Senate should therefore, commence the amendment to the Police Service Commission Act to address its composition. All appointments should be made in such a way as to strengthen the independence of the Commission. Efforts should be made to appoint people with integrity and managerial skills to strengthen the Commission. Chairman of the Commission should be a person with broad managerial experience, preferably with broad corporate management skills. In the event that the Commission needs expert advice from the police, it should be given the liberty to seek such service.
It is the expectation of NOPRIN and its member- organisations that the Senate will take urgent and appropriate legislative measures in the interest of effective police performance, best policing practices and public safety, to improve the civilian oversight function of the Police Service Commission in relation to police service provision. The Senate should take measures to enhance the commission’s efficiency, effectiveness and integrity.
For further information or inquiries, please contact:
Program and Advocacy Coordinator. NOPRIN Foundation, Lagos.
 “Adoke Explains Why Boko Haram Attacks Still Persist”, Prime News Nigeria, 13 May 2013, available at http://primenewsnigeria.com/adoke-explains-why-boko-haram-attacks-persist/
 NOPRIN & Open Society Justice Initiative, Criminal Force, Torture, Abuse and Extra-Judicial Killings by the Nigeria Police Force, pages 70-71 (2010)
 Human Rights Watch UPR Submission - Universal Periodic Review (2008)
 Human Rights Watch in its UPR Submission on Nigeria September 2008
 See “Nigeria's Police IG, turns the Nigeria Police into his family PLC”
www.elombah.com/.../100-nigerias-police-ig-turns-the-nigeria-police-int...; also ChatAfriK : Message: POLICE CHIEF MIKE OKIRO AND CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA groups.yahoo.com/group/ChatAfriK/message/32900
 “21 Million Naira Scandal: Okiro evades questions of his involvement in Port Harcourt” http://saharareporters.com/news-page/21-million-naira-scandal-okiro-evad...
 See also Sahara Reporters: “21 Million Naira Scandal: Okiro evades questions of his involvement in Port Harcourt ; Monday, July 23, 2007 - 02:00”