The Inspector General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase has declared that the Nigerian Police, has the least corrupt officers of all the institutions in the country, even as the Police is determined to follow up any corrupt cases before it in accordance with constitutional provisions.
Speaking at the annual symposium during a Feast of Barracuda organised by the National Association of Seadogs, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase noted that the Police had made frantic efforts in tackling corruption even among the officers and had set in motion machinery to fish out corrupt officers in the force.
The IGP, who was represented by the Commissioner of Police, Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Wilson Inalegwu said that the practical step to deal with corruption was to dismantle road blocks by Police and the establishment of Monitoring Teams to ensure compliance across the country.
He said: “The IG said he is allergic to corruption and since then he has taken practical steps to deal with the issue of corruption, both the history of corruption and perception of corruption of the Nigeria Police Force.
“One of the first things he did was to set up the IGP’s Monitoring Teams. First of all the decision by the Police Management Team was to take out roadblocks across all our highways. It was not just to dismantle it, he set up the IGP Monitoring Team to ensure that these directives are enforced.”
“If you go across most of our highways now roadblocks have been reduced to the barest minimum, and anybody mounting roadblocks, does that at his risk.
“Presentations are also made where Commissioners of Police are invited to look at the situations across the country right from the condition of suspects in Police cells and they have a technical platform that enable them to monitor the behaviour and conduct of police officers on the road as they handle suspects.
On the issue of welfare of police and accommodation the IG met with the OC Works across the country and they concluded to have 6,000 affordable houses for officers across the country.
“The IG said bail is free! Help lines have been provided where you can supply information. You can call to inform that you went to this station and paid this amount and I can assure you, action will be taken. Bail is free, the monitoring teams are going round to practically deal with those avenues that can lead to corruption.
“The Nigeria Police has the capacity to investigate any corrupt case under the laws, either the Crminal Code law or the Penal Code law. The Police has the competence and the capacity to investigate corrupt cases.
“The Police management under Solomon Arase is doing everything possible to eliminate corruption and has taken practical steps leading to that.
“Once corruption cases are given to the police, the cases must be investigated. The Police is the least corrupt officers in every organisation because it has an in house way of dealing with the issue of organisation, trying officers, arresting officers who engage in corrupt practices.
“I think you can hardly find institutions that is like Police taking practical steps to deal with corruption, all I want to say by way of challenge is have confidence in the Police.”
In his own address, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Mr. Paul Erokoro said that the fight against corruption in the country will not produce any good results with corrupt leaders on the saddle.
Erokoro declared that it should be made compulsory for every public officer in the country to declare his or her assets publicly as a way tackle corruption
Delivering a paper on ‘ A New Dawn in Nigeria: Practical steps to eliminate corruption’, Mr. Erokoro noted that everybody in the country had been part of of the corruption problem in the past and had remained part of the problem at the present time, stressing that hardly any public officer live with his salary.
He said that corruption in the country is pervasive and that a practical step to show that the country is serious to fight corruption is by the President to declare his assets publicly, then ensures that his Ministers follow suite as well as all public officers.
“We should lead by example and it involves people insisting that the President should declare his assets in public
He said that all high level officials ranging from, President, Ministers, Legislators, CBN Governors, Police and Customs Officers, Military Officers should declare their assets publicly and should also sign a statement granting permission to banks,moth local and foreign, real estate and investment houses to disclose any personal assets they hold.
He further suggested that there should be scrutiny of people’s income and withholding of aid by international donors if the country really is interested in fighting corruption.
He said that many attempts made to eliminate corruption in the country had been symbolic and half hazard as those in charge of waging corruption war were not committed.
He maintained that if the head of any organisation is clean, it will be difficult for those under him to be dirty and that the President should insist that every minister declares his assets publicly as well as outlaw opening of foreign accounts.