Parry Osayande, executive chairman of the Police Service Commission, PSC, got a new job Wednesday. He is leading an eight-member committee constituted by President Goodluck Jonathan to carry out the huge task of reforming Nigeria’s inept, corrupt and demoralised police force.
As the retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police rolls up his sleeve to begin the process of reforming the police and weeding out unworthy officers, analysts believe Mr. Osayande is better off removing the log in his own eye before proceeding to reorganise the about 413,000-man force.
That log in the PSC’s chairman’s eye is Habu Daura, a retired commissioner of police, who works under Mr. Osayande as executive commissioner in the PSC despite having a terribly blemished career in the police to the extent that he was indicted and recommended for dismissal by police authorities for aiding criminals and assisting armed robbers to conceal stolen properties.
Mr. Daura was also once recommended for prosecution by the Legal/Prosecution Unit of the Force Intelligence and Investigation Bureau for allegedly blocking investigations into some cases of armed robbery.
The retired police officer, who hails from Katsina, was retired from the Nigeria police in 1999 amidst these allegations but was curiously appointed to the PSC alongside six others by President Yar’Adua, in 2008. Presidency sources said President Goodluck Jonathan is aware of the retired commissioner’s unsavoury past but has curiously ignored persistent calls for his removal.
We could not determine why the president has ignored calls to do something about Mr. Daura. Aso Rock’s spokesperson, Reuben Abati, did not return calls or reply text messages to his mobile telephone. Officials in his office also said he was not available to speak with Premium Times via his office telephone.
My Osayande too could not be reached for comments. His spokesperson, Ferdinand Ekpe, requested that a text message be sent to his telephone. He is yet to respond to our enquiries as at the time of going to press.
Analysts believe the retired police officer` s antecedent fall far short of the moral standard expected of appointees into such an important commission such as the PSC. The commission is constitutionally charged with the responsibilities of promoting, dismissing and exercising disciplinary control over police officers in the country.
We learnt that while he was deputy commissioner of police at the Kaduna State Police Command in 1994, Mr. Daura was queried by the then Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Coomassie, for allegedly arbitrarily and fraudulently releasing one Ali Abdu, alias “Ali Scorpion” and his son Ahmadu Ali, who were arrested with stolen goods. The goods include a caterpillar grader, a Peugeot 505 Saloon car with registration number KD 2653 KE, an Ingersoll Air Compressor machine and a Honda Accord car with registration number KD 9713 KD.
There was also an allegation that Mr. Daura intercepted and jeopardized an inquiry into a case of unlawful possession of a Mercedes Benz car with registration number LA 3421 MW suspected to have been stolen. After reportedly frustrating investigation into the matter, Mr. Daura, according to documents at our disposal, discreetly gave the car to one Binta Zuberu who was then based in Kano.
At about the same time, a brown Peugeot 504 saloon which bore two different registration numbers AA 184 SML and KW 5714 E, and which had bullets marks on it, was allegedly found in Mr. Daura `s possession. It was alleged that Daura hid the car in a police workshop in Kaduna without any documentation.
The retired officer, according to a report of an investigation into his activities by police authorities, also “meddled in a case of unlawful possession of an unregistered Honda Accord, a Toyota Tercel and Datsun Saloon cars made against one Ali Faki, with a view to blocking the investigation in order to pervert the course of justice”. He was also alleged to have “intercepted a case involving a Lexus car model ES 300, suspected stolen or unlawfully obtained and without conducting any investigation, he released the said car to one Alhaji Danladi Ibrahim of Tudun Nupawa, Kaduna, when documents relating to the car had been confirmed to be forged and address of the purported importer had also been found to be fake”.
Another allegation against Mr. Daura at the time was that he “interfered with a case of criminal breach of trust and cheating involving the sum of N770,243.43 reported by one Alhaji Armiyau against one Alhaji Garba Ibrahim, with a view of perverting the course of justice”.
“Investigations further revealed that he interfered with a case of cheating involving the sum of #3.5m reported by one Alhaji Usman A. Isiaka of Katsina against one Mohammed Yusuf of Kaduna with a view of perverting the course of justice,” the document said.
Following the allegations, which were first brought to Mr. Coomassie`s attention via a December 21,1994 letter by the then Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, R.O. Osanaiye, Mr. Daura was queried and the case reportedly referred to the Force Disciplinary Committee which indicted him.
In a letter to Osanaiye at the time, Mr. Coomassie said, “Note that the officer stands to be either dismissed or compulsorily retired because the allegations made against him centre around harassment, intimidation, extortion and association with criminals. These are very criminal and grave and must be investigated. You will therefore furnish more details to enable me to take further action.”
After the Force Disciplinary Committee submitted its report, the IG, through the Force Secretary, sought the opinion of the Legal/Prosecution Unit of the Force. In his reply, E.C. Okonkwo, a deputy commissioner of police in charge of the unit, wrote, “The allegation against the DC (Daura) are very serious and have been strongly proven by investigations and independent witnesses. The case should be referred to the Ministry of Justice, Kaduna State, for vetting and prosecution. This does not stop appropriate department action.”
A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu, we learnt, was an official of the legal unit when the recommendation was made.
But rather than being prosecuted or retired, Mr. Daura was simply quietly transferred to Borno State as Commissioner of Police where the then Military Administrator of the state, Wing Commander Ningi Haruna, complained to the IG that Mr. Daura had mortgaged the sanctity of his official patronage by money bags. “I have the conviction that his stay as head of the state’s police command will compromise the security of the state and in the end tarnish the good image of the Police Force. In order to avert this ugly trend, I recommend the candid re-assignment of the incumbent state commissioner of police with minimum delay and precision,” Haruna had written.
Mr. Daura was later transferred to Bayelsa State where he acted as military administrator after the substantive military administrator took ill.
After he was retired, Mr. Daura, kept a low profile until he was appointed to the PSC in 2008.
The retired police officer could not be reached for comments Thursday as he did not return calls or reply to text messages.