The International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) on Wednesday raised alarm over alleged plot to carry out ethnic and religious cleansing in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
This is contained in a statement signed by its Chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi; Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Programme, Barr Obianuju Joy Igboeli; Head, Democracy & Good Governance Programme, Barr Chinwe Umeche; and Head, Public Security & Safety Programme, Barr Jacinta Ezinwanne.
The body said it doubted the claim by the federal government on discovery of 80,115 ghost police officers and men.
It read: “According to media reports quoting a data obtained from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun; there are 80,115 ghost police officers in the staff strength and payroll of the Nigeria Police Force, from its previously quoted staff strength of 371, 800.
“In the same ministerial report, the total staff strength of the Federal Government of Nigeria, said to have been updated as at February 2018 was put at 607, 843 including 469 MDAs with staff strength of 316, 158 and the Nigeria Police Force with “291, 685 serving police officers”.
“This was further broken down to 100,822 as total staff strength of Nigerian Custom Service, Nigerian Prisons Service, Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigerian Security & Civil Defense Corps and the Federal Road Safety Corps; all referred to “paramilitary formations”. Federal civil servants also accounted for 90,000 while the remaining 120, 000 others were drawn from the Armed Forces including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, State Security Service and the National Intelligence Agency.
“Contradictorily, the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Kpotum Idris had last month during the presentation of the proposed 2018 budget of the Nigeria Police Force at the National Assembly claimed that, from the NPF updated records of December 2017 the NPF is presently populated by 300,892 officers and maintains 6,900 formations.
“The 6,900 police formations, according to him, include 12 Zonal and 37 State and FCT (Abuja) Commands, 128 Area Commands, 1,388 Divisional Commands, 1,579 Police Stations and 3,756 Police Posts. The IGP further claimed that the Force presently has a total of 14, 306 vehicles in its car fleet.
“It is therefore, shocking and alarming how, in spite of the foregoing police staff database management and clearly established staff query processes, the Buhari Government still announced without concrete evidence that the staff strength of the Nigeria Police is criminally over-shot by 27%.
“In other words, the NPF is overpopulated by 27% ghost police officers or 80, 115 out of 291,685 sworn police personnel. This is not only incredible and mind boggling, but also nothing short of recording another inglorious and dark feat.
“Also, if truly there are “80,115 ghost police officers in the NPF”, why have the Chairman of PSC and IGP not spoken elaborately on such sensitive issue? Was there a presidential visitation panel set up to probe the staff strength and payrolls of the NPF? If yes, who were members of the panel? When was its report submitted and to whom?
“Who and who were indicted particularly at the Force Headquarters and the Police Service Commission? Was there also a well publicized ministerial or police or oversight panel so set up for same? If yes, who were its members? Who constituted it? When was its report submitted and to whom? “Who and who were indicted?
“We demand that the names of the so called “80,115 ghost police officers” be made public. This will enable Nigerians and international watchers as well as possible innocent victims to have full details and enable them seek administrative, public and legal remedies and avoid being victimized by the Government.
“Human rights groups and media practitioners are hereby called upon to forensically follow the development so as to ensure that the Government announcement is not a ploy or grand design to perpetrate racial or religious cleansing in the Nigeria Police Force or sweep the scam under the carpet if it truly happened as officially announced.”