There is more to the con­tro­versy



T he Nige­ria Po­lice, last week­end, de­clared Se­na­tor Isah Misau, Chair­man, Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Navy, a de­serter who left the ser­vice in con­tro­ver­sial cir­cum­stances. A state­ment by the po­lice au­thor­i­ties al­leged that the for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer, now a se­na­tor, failed to re­port for duty since Septem­ber 24, 2010, after he was re­de­ployed to Niger State Com­mand. The law­maker was also said to have ten­dered a forged res­ig­na­tion let­ter to the pub­lic, and pa­raded him­self as a Deputy Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, in­stead of a Deputy Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice. This was in ad­di­tion to en­gag­ing in par­ti­san pol­i­tics and con­test­ing elec­tions while he was still deemed to be a serv­ing po­lice of­fi­cer.

These are grave al­le­ga­tions. Graver still is the grow­ing sus­pi­cion that the con­found­ing claims by the po­lice are trumped up charges to cries of in­sti­tu­tional cor­rup­tion made by the law­maker. Even if the claims against the se­na­tor are true, they raised more ques­tions about the ef­fec­tive­ness of the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion and the over­all in­tegrity of the Nige­ria Po­lice as a cred­i­ble in­sti­tu­tion of state charged with main­tain­ing law and or­der in the wider so­ci­ety.

Re­gard­ing the law­maker`s al­leged de­ser­tion, Nige­ri­ans would ask, for in­stance: When did the po­lice au­thor­i­ties know about that and what dis­ci­plinary or other steps were taken there­after, as re­quired by law? Was he queried, de­clared wanted or miss­ing, when he failed to re­port at his pre­sumed new duty post? For a law­maker who was duly reg­is­tered as a mem­ber of a po­lit­i­cal party in his home state, what did the po­lice com­mis­sioner, Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Depart­ment and other se­cu­rity ser­vices do at the time? Were the po­lice and se­cu­rity agen­cies not deemed to have in­vesti- gated and cleared him as a fit and proper per­son to con­test elec­tions?

Se­na­tor Misau col­lected nom­i­na­tion forms, par­tic­i­pated in his party pri­maries and emerged a can­di­date in the full glare of the pub­lic and the law. He was known to have cam­paigned openly, and in the print and elec­tronic me­dia. He was also pro­vided with the req­ui­site po­lice and other se­cu­rity ser­vices law­fully ex­pected in the cir­cum­stances of party pol­i­tics and elec­tions. Since he won the elec­tion the po­lice au­thor­i­ties did not raise any issues about his years of ser­vice un­til he made dam­ag­ing al­le­ga­tions against the au­thor­i­ties.

The po­lice in their state­ment said it is on record that Misau con­tested and lost the Bauchi Cen­tral Se­na­to­rial seat in 2011 un­der the then Ac­tion Congress of Nige­ria. Was he writ­ten, sued, or charged be­tween 2010 when he al­legedly de­serted and 2011 when he emerged an un­suc­cess­ful se­na­to­rial can­di­date? Why did it take two years after his elec­tion in 2015 for the po­lice to be mak­ing self-in­dict­ing claims?

We hold the Nige­ria Po­lice in the high­est es­teem as an in­sti­tu­tion of state. We be­lieve that try­ing to main­tain law and or­der in a so­ci­ety fraught with in­sti­tu­tional, struc­tural, fis­cal and hu­man cap­i­tal chal­lenges is a her­culean task. But the po­lice au­thor­i­ties have enough prob­lems as it is, with­out un­der­min­ing the in­sti­tu­tion with the man­ner in which they are han­dling their en­gage­ment with Se­na­tor Misau.

We state with­out reser­va­tion that the se­na­tor should be made to face the full wrath of the law if, in­deed, the al­le­ga­tions against him are true. It is un­con­scionable that any Nige­rian should ab­scond from duty and be mak­ing laws for the rest of us. But the duty of es­tab­lish­ing cul­pa­bil­ity here lies with the po­lice au­thor­i­ties that has proved, at least on this mat­ter, not be above board.

We urge Pres­i­dent Buhari to step in by ask­ing the of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion and Jus­tice Min­is­ter to in­ves­ti­gate both the claims and counter-claims at the end of which jus­tice must be done.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.