PSC and the multiple maltreatment of Magu- Bala Ibrahim
The Police Service Commission (PSC) is the civilian oversight body on the police. It is responsible for the appointment, promotion, and discipline of all police officers except the Inspector General of Police. In the discharge of such responsibilities, the PSC is expected to adhere to the principle of fairness, which constitutes the key pillar of law enforcement.
It is on the basis of public’s perception of fairness or impartiality, that the police officers face all manner of challenges. The general believe is that, people who consider their law enforcement agency as fair, are more likely to support, or cooperate and call on the police at any time of need.
On several occasions, concerned persons have appealed to the PSC and the Nigeria Police Force, to adhere to the Federal Character Principle of fairness in the discharge of their duties, including recruitment, promotion and the release of benefits to retirees.
However, recent happenings in the PSC, are suggesting the execution of a course of action with a reversed ambition to the principle of fairness. And the agenda seems to be driven by people that are perceived as actively opposed, or even hostile to the Buhari administration.
It may be recalled that, on July 7, 2020, while serving as the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu was arrested, detained, and subsequently suspended from the acting chairmanship of the anti-graft agency.
He was made to appear before a panel probing allegations of gross misconduct against him. The panel, led by Justice Ayo Salami, reportedly recommended his removal as EFCC boss, according to speculations, for failing to properly account for some money under the security votes.
Magu was also allegedly accused of causing the disappearance of evidence, stoppage and suppression of cases under investigation and prosecution, and omitting to arrest suspects in cases involving a former deputy senate president and a former managing director of Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC).
Whether true or false, Magu was further accused of suppressing high profile cases involving four former governors, one of whom is currently a senator.
However, contrary to the principle of fairness, since the submission of the panel’s report in November 2020, nothing is heard from the Government, while Magu is left hanging without posting or promotion. He has severally and repeatedly denied the allegations against him, through presentations made before the panel and confidential confessions to friends and well wishers.
This is a contradiction to the principle of fairness, which constitutes one of the key pillars of law enforcement.
Since his replacement with Abdulrasheed Bawa, Magu has not been posted to any police formation, while the PSC declined his elevation to Assistant Inspector-General of Police, despite the submission of his name more than once, by the Nigeria Police Force, his primary constituency.
Even his juniors were promoted above him, in contravention of the principle of fairness, which demands that if there is a case against you that attracts suspension, the suspension, which has a time limit, must only be a temporary deprivation of office and its privileges.
According to the Public service rules, a suspended person does not lose his /her office or his /her status of Position. His/her powers, functions and privileges remain in abeyance. Suspension does not amount to any lowering down or reduction of rank or status.
In the case of Magu, the reverse is happening, in contravention of the principle of fairness, which is the key pillar of law enforcement.
On more than one occasion, the PSC had sat without promoting Magu, including its latest meeting, where information from the grapevine are alleging that a crisis has engulfed the commission, over the promotion of Magu, and one Najaatu Mohammed is accused to be behind the crisis.
Sources said at the last meeting over the matter, the Chairman of the Commission, former IGP Musiliu Smith and another member, Ogunbiyi, mounted pressure for Magu’s promotion to be approved, but Najaatu Mohammed, and vehemently stood against it. Why?
Najaatu Mohammed is a known critic of the Buhari administration and one that always embarrassingly goofs, especially on matters that require the use of common sense.
It is very sad to know that Magu had forwarded his retirement notice to the police authorities in preparation for leaving the service, having attained the statutory period for retirement, but to add pain to the injury of injustice, there are indications that the PSC is not only denying him promotion, but may even delay the release of his retirement benefits.
This can only happen in Nigeria, where dedication to duty is sometimes compensated with cruelty and deprivation.
It is pertinent for members of the PSC to take their reputation seriously, by taking positions that would distance them from persons of questionable characters, especially blackmailers and opportunists, that are in the habit of secretly demanding payment or another benefit from someone, in return for hiding damaging information about them.
Like they do to the Buhari government, they seem to be doing to the PSC, and for the lack of principle, they continue to bite the fingers that are feeding them.
What a shame! If you don’t trust the pot, don’t eat the food it offers.
Ibrahim , a media adviser writes from Abuja.