NewsRULAAC Faults NPF Over Allegations of Corruption in Police Recruitment Exercise

RULAAC Faults NPF Over Allegations of Corruption in Police Recruitment Exercise

June 17, (THEWILL)- A civil society organisation dealing with police reforms, The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, RULAAC has waded into the ongoing rift between the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, and the Police Service Commission, PSC,  over alleged irregularity and corruption in the ongoing recruitment into the police.

Executive Director of RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma expressed surprise that the NPF called the recruitment exercise corrupt when in fact the process set in by outgoing former Inspector General of Police, Solomom Arase, had reformed the recruitment process  transparently.

“It is interesting to see that the NPF is complaining about corruption. We are aware that previous recruitments conducted by the NPF revealed massive irregularities including smuggling in of names of candidates who never applied or did not qualify, manipulation and imbalance in geo-political representation (in line with federal character) which gave some states/regions undue advantage owing to inflated quota while short changing other states/regions which got less quota of recruits than they were entitled to,” he said.

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He disclosed that following the discredited recruitment exercises of 2019, 2020 and 2021, the PSC had, in discharge of its oversight powers, issued queries to the NPF regarding specific cases of police officers allegedly involved in recruitment fraud and corruption. The same NPF has not, to date, responded to those queries.

Arguing that although recruitment is the statutory and constitutional mandate of the PSC, he said the Commission has been open and magnanimous enough to carry the police and other stakeholders along in the process.

“This is in its bid to ensure an inclusive, participatory, transparent, efficient, and merit-driven process devoid of manipulation and rancour. Yet, the police hierarchy continues with its scheme to maintain undue control of the process in order to achieve some only-god-knows-what motives. Yet, the outcomes in the past have been discreditable.”

“When he assumed duty as Chairman of PSC, Arase immediately commenced rounds of consultations with various stakeholders, including the media, civil society, and NPF management. One of his oft-repeated commitments was to take measures to end the recurrent rift between PSC and the NPF over police recruitment. He also solicited the support of the media to foster unity between the PSC and the NPF.

“At every forum, he reiterated his commitment and determination to ensure cordiality in the oversight relationship between the commission and the Nigeria Police Force.

“It was in keeping with that commitment that he held several engagements with the IGP to reach understanding and ensure mutual cooperation.

“In carrying out the recent recruitment exercise, the PSC Chairman set up a recruitment board composed of representatives of the PSC, NPF, Ministry of Police Affairs (MOPA), Federal Character Commission among others. This was to ensure inclusiveness and transparency of the process.

“To ensure the integrity and accountability of the process, the PSC engaged the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to handle the computer based test (CBD) for the candidates who had been shortlisted following the conclusion of the application stages.

“Those of us in the civil society working on police reform issues and engaging with both the NPF and the PSC on a daily basis know that the transparency of the process of the recent recruitment puts it ahead of others before it. Previous recruitment exercises, as earlier said, were characterized by scandalous irregularities and corruption. The process was compromised, and the recruitment guidelines were circumvented, allowing misfits and criminals to gain entry into the Nigeria Police.

“The process put in place by the PSC under ex-Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, including setting up a multi- stakeholder recruitment board that had representatives of the police and other government agencies, was designed to close the gap that allowed irregularities and corruption.

“There was no complaint or objection by any of the institutions represented in the recruitment board until the result was released by the PSC when suddenly the NPF/IGP came up with surprising allegations of ‘irregularities’ and ‘alleged corruption’. Why is it only the police of all agencies on the board complaining?

“It is, however, reassuring to see that the PSC has accepted the NPF’s call for a review and even went ahead to call for a forensic audit of the now disputed process.

He called on President Bola Tinubu to step in decisively and ensure that agencies of government restrict themselves and operate within their statutory and legal boundaries and mandate.

“Nigerians and the Nigeria Police deserve transparent, merit driven, and credible recruitment processes as opposed to the compromised process that allows misfits and criminals to gain entry into the Nigeria Police,” he said.

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