President Goodluck Jonathan has inaugurated a Special Committee charged with overseeing police reform, it was announced Wednesday.
The Nigerian Police Force has come under heavy criticism recently for failing to address the growing insecurity in the country.
The nine-member committee is made up of two former army officers, two former Assistant Inspector Generals of Police, three lawyers, the Solicitor General of the Federation and the permanent secretary to the SGF’s office. The panel will be chaired by Parry Osayande, who, as chair of the police service commission, has not been able to tame the mess in the force.
The committee met for the first time on Wednesday at Aso Villa at the President’s behest and were named as Casimir T. Akagbosu, AIG (rtd.), mni, Bashir A. Albasu, AIG (rtd.), fwc. Major Gen. S.N. Chikwe, rtd., Prof. S.D. Mukoro, Dr. Fabian Ajogwu, SAN, Aisha Larai Tukur, Abdullahi Yola, Solicitor General of the Federation and Femi Oyisade, Permanent Secretary, SSO, Office of the SGF, to serve as the Secretary.
There is a strong legal flavour to the team, with various members coming from a legal background.
Meet the team
Parry Asoyande is chairman of the Police Service Commission and a former deputy inspector general of police. His chairmanship has not been noteworthy and he once infamously accused Nuhu Ribadu of “stage managing” his own arrest. He has a subordinate at the commission in a certain Habu Daura, who was was once indicted by police authorities for assisting armed robbers to conceal stolen properties.
Casimir Akagbosu is a former Police Commissioner of Benin and retired as an AIG and is now a practicing lawyer.
Bashir Albasu is another retired AIG and he is no stranger to special committees. The Kano native, a trained lawyer, is Chairman, Tax Appeal Tribunal, North West Zone. Mr. Albasu was in 2010 named as Chairman of the Hajj commission and has been a very vocal advocate for police and electoral reform over the past few years.
An interesting name on the list is Saliba D Mukoro. In 1990, Mr. Mukoro, then a Major, was fingered as one of the chief plotters in the aborted Gideon Orkar coup to oust Ibrahim Babangida. He was indicted and faced execution but managed to flee to the United States where he gained a bachelors degree in criminology and a Ph.D in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston university, Texas.
He eventually returned to Nigeria in 2006 and ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Delta State governorship last year. Before he left the US, Mr. Mukoro was Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Mississippi Valley State University – a position he held for six consecutive years.
Another old soldier is Major Gen Sunday Chikwe. In 1998, Major Gen Chikwe was appointed General Officer Commanding for 81 Division, Lagos, having previously served as Chief of Operations, Army Headquarters. He was promoted to the rank of Major General in 2004 after which he served as Provost Marshal. He ended an unblemished military career in 2010.
Fabian Ajogwu is another lawyer on the list. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria is a managing partner at leading Lagos firm, Kenna and Associates. He holds a Masters in Law and an MBA from the IESE Business School Barcelona. Although his main specialty areas are in banking and energy law, he is known to be a strong campaigner for electoral and civic reform.
Aisha Tukur is another lawyer.
Completing the committee are career civil servants, Abdullahi Yola, the solicitor general, and Femi Oloyisade, the permanent secretary to the SGF.
‘Waste of resources’
Nigerians have not reacted favourably to the news of yet another committee being set up. Okechukwu Nwanguma, Programme Coordinator, Network of Police Reform in Nigeria, said on Facebook that : “Setting up another committee to reorganise the Nigerian police is not only a waste of resources but a pretext to evade responsibility.”
Pius Adesanmi, popular columnists and professor of English, added that by appointing the committee, President Jonathan had already failed to live up to his promise to cut down on committees.
LIST OF FUNCTIONS OF COMMITTEE AS OUTLINED BY PRESIDENT
1. To identify the challenges and factors militating against effective performance in the Nigeria Police Force and make recommendations for addressing the challenges.
2. To examine the scope and standard of training and other personnel development activities in the Police to determine their adequacy or otherwise.
3. To determine the general and specific causes of the collapse of public confidence in the police and recommend ways of restoring public trust in the institution.
4. To examine records of performance of Officers and Men of the Nigeria Police Force with a view to identifying those that can no longer fit into the system due to declining productivity, age, indiscipline, corruption and/or disloyalty;
5. To make any other recommendations for the improvement of the Nigeria Police Force.
The Committee’s recommendations shall be implemented along with those by previous committees set up by Government on the reform of the Nigeria Police Force.