Archive for August 2012

JONATHAN DEFORMS POLICE REFORMS!   12 comments

The police is one very strategic outfit whose core responsibility borders on the primary purpose of government – the securing of lives and property. That the police is saddled with this all-important task in peace times means it must go the extra mile during times of crises such as Nigeria is currently faced with.

Sadly, the Nigerian police which generally has a reputation for corruption and inefficiency, has been found more and more wanting, in the wake of the many security challenges that have befallen the country in recent years. Indeed, it was due to the need to reform Nigeria’s police for greater effectiveness that late President Umaru Yar’Adua created the Yusuf committee in 2008. That committee did its job and submitted its recommendations. For some sinister reasons, those recommendations were never implemented. Then came the unleashing of carnage by the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, and the manifest ineptitude of the police to contain the resulting insecurity to the extent where its Abuja headquarters became a casualty of the same. Jonathan then created yet another committee to reform (reorganise) the police.

Upon presenting his committee’s report to Jonathan on August 14, 2012, committee chairman and current head of the Police Service Commission, Parry Osayande, himself a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, highlighted its contents which comprised of two major recommendations, inter alia, – the scrapping of the Police Ministry, whose role the committee considered inimical to the proper funding of the institution and the need to improve the pay of police officers including that of the IGP whom it noted is ‘wrongly’ underpaid when compared to his counterparts in sister agencies with much less responsibilities.

Indeed, the Osayande committee recommendations are pure common sense issues. For one, there was never any need for a Police Ministry in the first place! The Police Affairs Ministry was one of the many ministries created to provide jobs for the boys. Secondly, it is a fact that police officers cannot be expected to give in their best when they are gravely underpaid. These things do not need committees to have them told! They are simply obvious to any objective and discerning mind! Of a truth, the basic common sense recommendations of the various sectoral reform committees (and there are many that have been created by Jonathan alone) reveal that committees aren’t really needed and simply constitute valves to further drain funds which would otherwise be channelled into development.

It is quite instructive that Osayande said “[My] committee supports the recommendation of the Yusuf 2008 committee on the reform of the Nigeria Police”. Jonathan was Vice-President when the Yusuf committee made its findings known. Why did he not implement them as President? It’s indicting for the system when one committee supports the position of an earlier one that was not implemented. Any man in his right senses should reject being drafted into a new committee on any issue. Just tell the Federal Government to use common sense or better still, to dust older files on the subject.

Even before I came to terms with the fallout from Jonathan’s latest committee, he struck again, by creating yet another committee on August 15, 2012 to review Osayande’s report! Goodluck Jonathan simply doesn’t get it! Even after widespread condemnation of his governance by committees, he stubbornly stays the course! This is malfeasance at its prime!

Also, if we go by the suggestion of the Police Affairs Minister, Caleb Olubolade, that Osayande’s committee was wrong to propose the scrapping of his ministry, then it is highly probable that the review committee will cancel out the progressive postulations from Osayande’s committee and consequently, the police will remain handicapped and we will be back to square one! It’s a cycle of utter imbecility! Nigerians must demand a stop to this nonsense!

It is also quite unfortunate that a so-called Forum of Retired Inspectors-General of Police (IGPs) has opposed the Osayande committee’s sensible recommendation for the scrapping of the Police Ministry. The arguments of the so-called Forum of Retired IGPs against the scrapping of the Police Ministry are baseless! This forum consists majorly of men who, over the years, have aided and abetted corruption in high places in Nigeria. It is quite likely that the Police Affairs Ministry doles out contracts that can be traceable to some of these retired IGPs. If these retired IGPs were not self-seeking, they would have sought to advise Jonathan long ago when the security situation was getting out of hand and not wait for a committee to propose the scrapping of the Police Ministry before showing up. That’s a telltale about their sinister aims!

The Jonathan government, with its record-levels of a bloated recurrent expenditure feeding a massively wasteful bureaucracy, has a Police Ministry, a Police Council, a Police Service Commission, besides the Police Force itself! That reminds me; Jonathan very recently added a Niger Delta Council to the existing Niger Delta Ministry (created by Yar’Adua and himself) and Niger Delta Development Commission – at a time when he ought to ensure frugality in government business.

In all, Jonathan unfortunately has an inclination to creating committees on issues that should not ordinarily bypass the knowledge of his battalion of advisers and special advisers (there’s, by the way, a presidential adviser on ethics!) and when they present cogent and unequivocal arguments, such as in the case of Osayande’s police reform committee, he goes on to create other committees to review their recommendations. These Jonathan’s inane, insensitive and inept actions amount, by and large, to deforms of the reforms that Nigeria’s police badly needs!

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