Even before the first set of men and women are enlisted, controversy appears to be trailing the ongoing police recruitment exercise in which the Federal Government proposes to hire an additional 10,000 officers and men to beef up the civil force to enhance security of lives and property across Nigeria.

This is coming on the heels of the alleged insistence of some northern power brokers that the recruitment of 7,500 constables, pencilled down for the exercise be based on local governments instead of states.

Sources within the Police Service Commission (PSC) told New Telegraph that many members of the Commission, especially from the southern part of the country, are furious over the move which will give more men to the north than to the south.

It was gathered that the move to use local governments instead of states is spearheaded by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Engr. Babachir Lawal, and the Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. AbdurahmanDambazzau.

By the allocation of the position, each local government will produce 10 constables in the 7,500 slots allocated for the Constable cadre. In the ASP cadre, each state has been allocated 12 slots each. That is the same case with the rank of Inspectors and Specialists, where allocations were made based on states.

There are provisions for 500 ASPs, 500 Inspectors and 1,500 specialists like engineers, medicals, communications etc.

New Telegraph gathered that the issue of recruitment of constables, which has a total of 7,500 has been a major sour point for the PSC and all stakeholders in the recruitment exercise as the south fought vehemently to have it done state by state. But the North, led by the two top officers in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration insisted on local government as the basis for the recruitment. The battle was taken to the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, where the position of the South was defeated.

“On the day the matter got to the Senate, sadly, most of the senators, who would have opposed the move, did not attend the committee hearing.

Thus, we were left with no option than to accept the superior number of the North. That was how we lost out,” said a source privy to the meeting. It was further gathered that before the committee ratified the local government model, many state governors and senators in the South were contacted on the implications of the model.

But most of them did not lift a finger. Even some very high ranking senators from the South- East in particular, who were contacted, considering the disadvantage of local governments in the zone and those from the South-South were not present on the meeting day.

It was gathered that efforts by the Chairman of the PSC, Sir Mike Okiro, and other members of the Commission from the South to stick to the stateby- state policy in line with Federal Character hit the rocks.

A former governor in the South-East, who spoke with New Telegraph on the matter, lamented the poor attitude of legislators and governors of the region to such issues.

According to him, “What the development means is that Kano and Jigawa states, with a combined total of about 70 local governments, would have almost the same number of representation with the South-East, which has only 95 local governments. We have constantly told the South-East representatives, be it governors, Senators or House of Representatives’ members to be alive to their responsibilities. But that appears not to be the case.

“The Nigerian Police Force is an important institution. In the next 30 years, people will be complaining that there is no Inspector-General of Police of Igbo extraction. The foundations are what are laid today. When you are nonchalant to the recruitment process, how would you think of an IGP when you are outnumbered from the beginning?”

It was further learnt that even with their nonchalance, a governor in the South-East recently submitted 13 names of people he wanted in the ASP cadre, to the chagrin of members of the PSC.

“We wonder where he was when the whole uproar was going on. He did as if it did not concern him  when he was informed. He brought 13 names when the state only needed only 12 names.

That means he is the only one that would fill the slot for his state,” said a source within the Commission. Another governor from the South-South, whose state is poor in local government numbers, was also informed about the danger. He promised to act, but did not.

The former governor added that he was disgusted by the attitude of those who call themselves  Igbo leaders. “Can you imagine that in a serious matter of this nature, none of Ohanaeze, Aka Ikenga, governors, senators or even members of the House of Representatives or Houses of Assembly has spoken out?

They are keeping quiet, only to start lamenting in future.” By the arrangement on local government basis based on 10 per local government, it means that on zonal basis, the North-West would get 1,850 officers; North-East – 1,110 slots; North Central including the FCT – 1,200; South-West -1,370; South-South – 1,230 while South-East would get 950 officers.

But that is not the only problem the PSC is battling now. New Telegraph was informed that members of the Commission are not happy with the way the recent retirement of Deputy Inspectors- General of Police (DIGs), and Assistant Inspectors- General of Police (AIGs) was conducted. It was learnt that rather than emanating from the PSC, the retirement of the 21 senior police officers emanated from the Presidency. Last week, there were rumours that the IGP, Ibrahim Idris had demanded the resignation of all officers above him from the presidency. They were retired last week. Their retirements paved the way for the appointment of seven new DIGs on Monday.

Those affected were AIGs Bala A. Hassan, AIG Zone 2; Yahaya Garba Ardo; Irmiya F Yarima, AIG Zone 9; Danladi Y Mshebwala; Tambari Y. Mohammed, AIG Zone 10 and Bala Magaji Nasarawa, AIG Zone 7, Abuja. Others are Musa Abdulsalam, Adisa Bolanta, AIG Zone 6; Mohammed J Gana, Umaru Abubakar Manko, AIG Zone 2, Lagos; Lawal Tanko, AIG Zone 8 and Olufemi A. Adenaike, AIG in charge of Training.

Also retired are AIG Johnson A Ogunsakin, Adenrele T. Shinaba, Commandant Police College, Kano, James O. Caulcrick, Olufefemi David Ogumbayode, Edgar T Nanakumo, AIG in charge of Works, Kalafite H. Adeyemi, Patrick D Dokumor, Mbu Joseph Mbu and AIG Sabo Ibrahim Ringim. But the rumour of a disagreement with the PSC was quickly dismissed

. New Telegraph was informed that Okiro only received a call from a top aide of the president, who informed him that the affected police officers were retired by the president. A source in the commission said it was a dispirited Okiro, who then ordered the issuing of a statement by the PSC to that effect. “We have never experienced what is happening now. It is terrible. The retired police officers even pledged to work with the new IGP, even though he was third from bottom on the list of AIGs, but he insisted on their going.

The PSC was only informed about their retirement. The Police Force is being destroyed now because we retired the best we had at the head,” said the source. It was gathered that the battle for the IGP favoured DIG Femi Adenaike from Ogun State. Senator Sam Egwu, representing Ebonyi North Senatorial District, has suggested that the pending police recruitment in Nigeria should be based on the population, rather than on local government basis.

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