When the lawmaker representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Senator Isah Misau, took a swipe at the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, alleging that he collects about N120 billion annually as payment for special security services rendered by the police to corporate organizations and very important personalities, in a country of serious-minded people, it would have been expected that the police boss would come out with real facts and figures to clear his name and the sanctity of the office he occupies.
Is it not worrisome that every day we hear mind-blowing allegations of malfeasance against the very people that are supposed to be at the fore of our nation’s fight against corruption? Earlier, it was against the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, and now the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, the two men (both police officers) championing the government’s efforts at addressing the menace of corruption in the country.
As alleged by Senator Misau, “Specifically, the IGP, on good authority from within the force, collects over N10bn on a monthly basis as money for special security provided by men of the force to corporate bodies and highly placed individuals, including criminals, running to N120bn on a yearly basis without any reflection in the police’s annual budget or internally generated revenue.
“Let me give you an example of the so many corruption cases that are taking place. More than 10,000 policemen are working with the oil companies and every month the companies are paying money. Where is the money going? Is the money going into the Federal Government’s coffers or into some people’s pockets?
“We have over 10,000 officers working in banks. Are they paying money to the Federal Government? Who are they paying the money to? Where is the money? We have policemen in thousands working for companies and private individuals. Go to the airports and you will see that people of questionable character have policemen attached to them. Are they paying money to the Federal Government?”
The N120bn fraud allegation against the IG of police is too weighty and the police authority must purge itself of this accusation. Is it not clear that the sudden realization that Senator Misau is a deserter further exposes the complicity of the police force on this matter? How can you be said to be fighting corruption and at the same time covering up what clearly represents outright stealing of not just small money but amounts that can conveniently fund the annual budgets of both the EFCC and the Police?
The Police High Command should have been seen to be eager to free itself from the accusation considering the fact that they are too weighty to be ignored or replied with trivialities such as someone deserting the force.
Allegations against Senator Misau are poorly-packaged damage control tactics employed by the police; why else would the issue of himbeing a deserter come up only after he exposed the corrupt practices of the IG?
Senator Misau collected nomination forms, participated in his party primaries and emerged a candidate in the full glare of the public and the police. He was known to have campaigned openly. He was also provided with the requisite police and other security services lawfully expected in the circumstances of party politics and elections. Since he won the election the police authorities did not raise any issues about his years of service until he made the damaging allegations against the “Oga at the top.” Why did it take two years after his election in 2015 for the police to make self-indicting claims?
All the allegations by Senator Misau against the police are true and the Force High Command knows that, and that explains why Mr. Idris chose not to address them. I therefore challenge the government to carry out a fact-finding inquest into the matter. President Buhari will be shocked at what such investigation would unveil. Senator Misau only scratched the surface of the sleaze by the Police High and even the military. Police and military officers pay huge bribes to be posted to the oil-producing Niger Delta region where they believe they can “make it” in a matter of months. Then when they arrive the region, they pay another set of bribe to be posted to lucrative oil producing and servicing companies. This is in addition to the broad-day robbery checkpoints these officers mount to collect compulsory N100/N200 from every motorist especially commercial transporters including keke and okada.
It’s a known fact that the police high command and the military collect huge amounts of money from corporate bodies, private individuals and even government organizations to render sundry security services and the money never enters government coffers and so never accounted for. They end up in the bank accounts of top military and police officials.
Let the police tell the world that they don’t collect money from corporate organizations and VIPs. If they do, to whose account, TSA or police account? To the best of our knowledge, all payments to the federal government should be through the TSA, if it’s otherwise, IGP Idris should tell us.
If the top echelon of the Nigerian Police is not fantastically corrupt, there is no way policemen would be brazenly be extorting money from the citizens and you tell me that the Inspector General is not aware of the happening. The reason why the police High Command feigns ignorance and do nothing is simply because such money extorted by these policemen in the field passes through networks to eventually find their ways into the pockets of the top officers including the Inspector General on daily basis.
If the government is indeed sincere and serious with its anti-graft campaign, they actually ask: Where do all the billions paid to policemen for guarding all the VIPs in Nigeria go to as the police still depend on the monthly salary paid to them by the federal government?
How can we continue like this as a nation? Now, spin doctors are being sponsored by whoever to divert our attention from the momentous allegations by trying to sell the story that Ibrahim Idris is the fourth best IGP in the world.
How? And as asked by a concerned Nigerian: who conducted the assessment? What methodology was used in arriving at such award? When did such award start? Who are the first, second, and third Police Inspector Generals before ours as the fourth? And by the way, how could the Nigerian IGP be the fourth best in the world as claimed when the appointment of an Inspector General is mostly a concept in the Commonwealth nations because of the obvious colonial linkage to Britain and not the world at large? Modern policing is all science and technology and how could Nigeria that is several light years behind in modern policing produce the fourth best Police boss in the world? And even if he is, is that the issue the police should be marketing now? Abeg, this country sef don tire person!
Ifeanyi Izeze writes from Abuja. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.