There is disquiet among the workers of the Police Service Commission over the promotion of nearly all the security aides of former President Goodluck Jonathan by the board of the commission.
The Commander, MOPOL 24, the police unit in charge of the former President’s family was promoted from Chief Superintendent of Police to Assistant Commissioner of Police, and some unit commanders were elevated from Deputy Superintendent of Police to Superintendent of Police.
But a junior officer, who served at the Presidential Villa under the promoted commander, said he and some of his colleagues did not benefit from the exercise.
“We heard that all the security personnel attached to the former First family would benefit from the special promotion before we were redeployed out of the Villa, but the junior officers have yet to get their promotion letters, only the senior officers benefitted from the promotion,” said the policeman, who for obvious reasons did not want his name in print.
Our correspondent learnt on Thursday that the PSC board also approved special promotions for the police officers that worked with Jonathan’s wife, Patience, allegedly in contravention of the ban on special promotion by the past PSC board headed by Parry Osayande, a retired deputy inspector general of police.
It was learnt that the incumbent PSC board had overturned some reforms instituted by its predecessor, such as the ban on special promotion for policemen and resolution of disciplinary cases within 90 days.
Workers of the commission, who spoke to our correspondent in Abuja, said that the PSC led by a former Inspector-General of Police, Mike Okiro, had yet to investigate or resolve many cases of extrajudicial killings, brutality, illegal detention, harassment, extortion and other misconduct by police officers.
A source in the commission, who confided in our correspondent, said, “Under the last board, special promotion was stopped because the commission felt it distorted the police hierarchy, but Okiro has resuscitated it and many policemen, including the former police aides to former President Jonathan and his wife had been given special promotion.
“Apart from this, there are rampant cases of forgery of credentials by policemen for promotion, which the commission has been unable to investigate.”
The Head, Press and Public Relations, PSC, Ikechukwu Ani, said he was not aware of special promotion for presidential security aides, noting that promotions were based on recommendations from the IG.
He said, “I am not aware of special promotion for policemen. Honestly, I don’t know anything about special promotion for security aides to the former President and his wife, but the fact is that promotions are based on recommendations from the IG.
“If there is a deserving police officer, the IG would forward a recommendation to the commission, which would now look at its merit and then go ahead with the promotion.”
When contacted on Thursday, the Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, confirmed that the IG, Solomon Arase, had recommended some policemen for special promotion.
He however said most of the beneficiaries served in Sokoto, Borno, Yobe, Imo and other states, adding that he was not sure if presidential security aides were part of the beneficiaries.
“The IG recommended some policemen who performed exemplarily in the course of duty, but I am not sure if policemen attached to Aso Villa were among them,” Ojukwu stated.
It was learnt that over 300 disciplinary cases were pending before the PSC, some of which were reported to the agency about three years ago.
But, the agency had carried out nine promotion exercises between February 2014 and May 2015, according to findings by our correspondent.
Investigations indicated that within this period, the agency promoted about 2,137 junior and senior officers at nine plenary meetings held by the board in Abuja.
A breakdown shows that the PSC promoted 1,402 policemen on February 19, 2014, while eight DIGs were promoted on August 19, 2014.
Nineteen Commissioners of Police were elevated to Assistant Inspectors-General of Police on August 20, and 37 Deputy Commissioners of Police were promoted to the CP rank on August 29.
Two CPs were promoted to the rank of AIG, while one DCP was promoted to CP on September 24. The commission continued the promotion spree on November 1 with the elevation of 233 officers.
On January 15, 2015, the commission announced the promotion of 14 officers and five days later on January 20, it promoted one CP to an AIG.
Then, on May 8, the board announced the promotion of 632 police officers on various cadres.
Within the period, the PSC announced at the end of its 4th plenary meeting held on March 13, 2014, that it dealt with only 31 disciplinary cases.
It was gathered that the non-resolution of disciplinary cases had put on hold the careers of the affected police officers, who had not been able to participate in promotion examinations and courses until the petitions against them are investigated and resolved by the commission.
Sources stated that the commission preferred carrying out promotion exercise, particularly of senior officers “because it brings appreciation from the benefiting officers.”
The PSC spokesman however blamed the Force headquarters for the delay in treating the backlog of disciplinary cases, noting that the commission did not receive the IG’s advice or comment on case files in time.