IGP Egbetokun Must Put An End To Those Who Are Damaging His Good Office’s Reputation

By Adewole Kehinde

“A good reputation is more valuable than money.”Publilius Syrus

My write-up today might spark a serious argument, but the attention of the indefatigable IGP Egbetokun must be brought to it to put an end to those using his name and office to exploit their fellow personnel.

Let me go down history. In 2017, the news media were agog with the report computed by the National Bureau of Statistics that the highest incidents of bribery occurred during encounters with the police.

The report said police officers are the public officials to whom bribes are most paid in Nigeria.

It stated: “Of all adult Nigerians who had direct contact with a police officer in the 12 months prior to the survey, almost half (46.4 percent) paid an officer at least one bribe, and in many cases, more than one since police officers are also among the three types of public officials to whom bribes are paid most frequently (5.3 bribes per bribe-payer over the course of 12 months) in Nigeria.

“At the same time, the average bribe paid to police officers is somewhat below the average bribe size. Although fewer people encounter judiciary officials than police officers over the course of the year, when they do, the risk of bribery is considerable. At 33 percent, the prevalence of bribery in relation to prosecutors is the second highest, closely followed by judges and magistrates at 31.5 percent. The experience of corruption in encounters with public officials whose duty it is to uphold the rule of law can lead to the erosion of trust in public authority,” said the report.

Gone are the days when police stations were referred to as extortion camps.

The latest corruption within the Nigeria police is now posting. I was shocked to hear that some personnel pay as much as 5 million Naira to get juicy postings such as Commander of Squadron, FIRS, ONSA, etc.

I almost had high blood pressure combined with the stress I went through at the hands of the security personnel at the venue of the decoration of the newly promoted officers. That is a story for another day.

Some of those seeking the juicy posting said the poor take-home package contributed to their seeking such offices.

I recall that Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, said that officers of the Nigeria Police Force will have to shun corrupt tendencies to have an acceptable image in the eyes of the public.

Egbetokun stated this while addressing officers and men of the Kano State Police Command, where he urged police officers to go the extra mile to redeem the image of the force by rejecting indecent advances made to them by unpatriotic citizens.

The IGP, who affirmed that the Nigeria Police is one of the finest in the world, said police officers need to be seen as above bribery and corruption.

He also warned that promotion in the police force will henceforth be based on merit.

On the sidelines of the decorations of the newly promoted police officers, I saw some of the officers talking on the phone, negotiating millions of naira for posting.

I almost brought to the attention of the Assistant Commissioner of Police that he might be sanctioned if the Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, heard that they were paying to get juicy postings.

I was able to talk to so many of them who wanted to remain anonymous, and they all spoke the same language: if you don’t pay, you won’t get the juicy posting.

My next question was, who are they paying to? It may interest the IGP that they pay their fellow officers to get the posting, while few say they pay personalities close to the DIGs and IGP.

I knew the IGP when he was with President Bola Tinubu as CSO in Lagos way back then, and his zero stance on corruption has remained to date.

He is a very calm officer who reads very well and takes time to make decisions. He has not allowed his position to change those statuses to date.

As an outsider who has been covering the police beat for years, I am closer to many police personnel, both rank and file, including officers. So many of them have been praising IGP Egbetokun. The joyous mood at the Force headquarters on the day he was decorated by the Vice President as the acting IGP remains in the annals of the history of the Police Force.

I recalled receiving several calls and messages from many police pensioners after my write-up on the police pension bill, and I told many of them that the IGP meant well to them.

I was at the Senior Police Summit in Owerri, Imo State, last year, where the IGP emphasized the increment of police salaries, which will boost the pension they receive after retirement.

I am optimistic that the welfare package put in place by IGP Kayode Egbetokun will put an end to payments for posting within the police.

The Federal Government must review the salaries of police personnel as they are affected, like civil servants, who are currently enjoying palliatives due to the removal of subsidy.

On a final note, discouraging juicy postings or favouritism in the Nigeria Police Force can be a complex and systemic issue, but I will suggest to the IGP some way out of addressing this.

There is a need to encourage transparency in the process of job assignments and transfers within the police force. There is also the need to establish clear criteria and guidelines for such postings and ensure that they are followed consistently.

The IGP should advocate for a merit-based system for job assignments and transfers, where officers are selected based on their qualifications, experience, and performance rather than personal connections or favouritism.

I know the IGP has commenced training for personnel of the force, but I will suggest the force provide training and education to police officers on ethical conduct, professionalism, and the importance of fair and equitable job assignments. This can help create a culture of meritocracy within the force.

Another important step is to establish channels for reporting instances of favouritism and corruption within the police force. Officers should be encouraged to speak up and provide protection for whistleblowers.

There is also the need to ensure strong leadership and oversight within the police force to enforce standards of fairness and professionalism. Hold accountable those who engage in favouritism or abuse their power.

During IGP’s and CP’s conferences, there is a need to educate personnel about the negative impacts of “juicy postings” and the importance of fair and transparent job assignments within the police force.

Addressing juicy postings requires a comprehensive effort to promote fairness, meritocracy, and accountability within the Nigeria Police Force.

Finally, the IGP must investigate this money for juicy postings and bring the culprits to book. Those using the name of the IGP to exploit for posting must be nip in the bud now.

 

Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached at 08166240846. E-mail: kennyadewole@gmail.com