Less than two weeks after the release of the report of a survey by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the European Union that shows that the Nigerian police is the most corrupt public institution in Nigeria, another angle to police corruption is being opened by the altercation between Senator Hamman Misau and the Nigerian police. Senator Misau, representing Bauchi Central Senatorial district and a retired Deputy Superintendent of police, accused the Inspector General of Police of wanton corruption and bribe-taking in discharging his duties. According to Senator Misau, the IGP pockets over N120 billion annually from payment for special security services rendered by the police to corporate organisations and very important personalities. Hear him: “The IGP, on good authority from within the force, collects over N10billion on monthly basis as money for special security provided by men of the Force to corporate bodies and highly placed individuals, including criminals, running to N120billion on yearly basis without any reflection in Police annual budgets or internally generated revenue.”
Sadly, according to Misau, the over 50, 000 police personnel deployed to perform such duties don’t benefit from the money. The organisations and individuals requiring their services have to settle them separately.
Senator Misau didn’t stop there. He further alleged that postings of officers in the force such as state Police Commissioners (CPs) or Mobile Commanders are usually on the basis of N10million to N15million bribe payment. In summation, Senator Misau described the police under Idris as “a cesspool of corruption, nepotism, indiscipline, favouritism.”
Expectedly, the response of the police has been less than impressive. Rather than respond directly to the allegations made by Senator Misau, the police simply resorted to name-calling, describing Senator Misau as “a habitual liar and police deserter who would be brought to justice for his crimes”. But even if Senator Misau truly was a deserter as claimed by the police why was nothing done about it for more than two years that he has been a Senator and public figure until now that he has called out the leadership of the force for corruption? Like Senator Misau himself said “it is beyond curiosity that the police would be looking for someone clearly in plain sight for these past years. Little wonder the proliferation of crime in the country and the police apparent cluelessness…”
Meanwhile, the lame duck Police Service Commission (PSC) has sprang up to investigate, not the allegation of bribery and corruption against the IGP, but the claims by the Senator that he officially retired from the police force before venturing into partisan politics. But seeing that the Senator also accused the Chairman of the PSC of corruption too, it is clear where the investigation is headed. On Okiro, Senator Misau was scathing: “The incumbent IGP, based on available records and series of petitions and reports from insiders, has no capacity to run the Police, just like the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Mr. IGP Mike Okiro, who also lacks similar capacity, going by N300million scam and others hanging on his neck since the 2011 during the presidential primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where he served as the head of the security committee.
It is a thing of shame and horror that the most critical institution in the maintenance of law and order and the dispensation of justice is the most corrupt in the country.
Whether we pay attention to it or not, it is clear we cannot rely on the police to maintain law and order in the country and we cannot rely on them to arrest and prosecute criminals and secure peace-loving Nigerians. Just like the lie they hang on the wall of every police station stating that “bail is free”, available evidence show that the police is a thoroughly corrupt institution that will commoditise security, law and order and sell them to the rich.
It has gotten to a time Nigerians must decide if that is the kind of police force they want or deserve.
Clearly, if this government has any intention of fighting corruption in the country, the police is the first institution it must overhaul and sanitise. But as of yet, there has been a deafening silence from the government.