The president said this while inaugurating the police service commission.
President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed his dismay that the most senior officials of many of Nigeria’s military and para-militaary security agencies are incompetent and do not merit their positions; thus leading to a dismal performance by the agencies.
The president, who stated this while inaugurating the Police Service Commission on Wednesday at the State House, Abuja, called for a total overhaul of the security agencies, and charged the commission to flush out the bad eggs in the police.
He charged the new police commission chairman, Mike Okiro, and the other five members, to instil discipline in the force and ensure that promotions are done purely on merit.
Mr. Jonathan said indiscipline and irregularities in staff promotion exercises were a major problem in military and para-military agencies.
“I believe there are two things, one is the issue of discipline, and so one of the responsibilities of the Police Service Commission is to instil discipline. Another thing I believe is that people who have no merit to certain ranks are being promoted to those ranks.
“One of your responsibilities is to handle promotion. I believe with you only those who merit or deserve promotion should be promoted. Those who deserve to be disciplined or even dismissal must be disciplined,” the president said.
To justify his claim of incompetent individuals heading Nigeria’s security agencies, the president made reference to the recent screening and review process of six candidates for the post of the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service. He said most of the six were not only undeserving of the position they were nominated for, but should have been sacked from the service.
“Few days back I did approve the new comptroller general of immigration, …, of about six that were to be reviewed, some were sent from the ministry, some were picked from amongst the most senior.
“When we reviewed the six, from my intelligent investigation most of them were supposed to have been dismissed. But those were the people that were being forwarded for appointment as Comptroller General of Immigration. Among them only one is qualified to even stay and serve, others ordinarily are supposed to be dismissed from the records,” the president said.
The President had on Tuesday approved the immediate retirement of five deputy comptroller general of immigration service. Those affected were R.B. Musa, Denen Akaa, F.T. Mologe, Umar Suleiman, and Kuso Abubakar Khalil. It is not clear if or why the president did not demand that the officials be prosecuted for whatever crimes they committed to warrant their dismissal.
Mr. Jonathan said he believed that the immigration case was similar to what obtained in other security agencies.
“I believe that the story of Immigration is the same with most of our services. I believe that is why the performance of some of our military and para-military officers is abysmal, because the yardstick being used for promotion is not based on competence, merit and performance.
“And that is one area I believe you (the police commission) will go into. People who are promoted to assistant police commissioner and above must merit the rank. If you don’t merit the rank you should be retired from the service because is better for you not have enough manpower than for you to have viruses and all kinds of characters in the police force,” he said.
The president said that Nigerians were beginning to lose confidence in the Nigerian Police.
“You will agree with me that Nigerians don’t have so much confidence in the Nigerian police but Nigerian police are good. The Nigerian Police that work outside under United Nations are highly honoured, highly commended and Okiro will agree with me. But once we come back home that is not reflected in what we do,” he said.
Advised to sack senior officers
The president also revealed that he was advised to sack all senior police officers working at the police headquarters.
“Even now that we have challenges, you will see that, especially when the Police Headquarters was bombed, some people came to me and say Mr. President sack all police officers working in that place from Assistant Commissioner of Police and above.
“I did not sack any because of that incident. But that was the advice I got; that if you do that subsequent people that would be posted there will sit up. How could the police allow their headquarters to be bombed by a very local group called Boko Haram?” he said.
Mr. Jonathan also advised Mr. Okiro and his team to review the command structure in the police.
“The Federal Executive Council, maybe in the next one or two weeks we, are going to look at the report because we want to come up with a white paper on the police reform report.
“But since we have just appointed you we give you privilege to look that document before we come out with a white paper. So that if there is a suggestion that you will bring, you bring it so that it will be part of the white paper since you are the one to manage the police.
“It is only proper that you and I will think alike and be on the same page, because we need to reform the Nigerian police for a better service for us all. I believe with you working with the Inspector General of Police and other senior police officers, Nigeria police will be a better force,” Mr. Jonathan stated.