months ago, a presidential statement noted that, “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has
approved the appointment of Mr. Mohammed D. Abubakar as
Acting Inspector General of Police” resulting in the abrupt
removal of the serving Inspector General of Police, Mr.
The President as empowered by the law made
this temporal appointment while the nominee, Mr. Mohammed D.
Abubakar awaits confirmation from the Senate hopefully—given
his heightened professional spirit and outlook to police
Following a Nigerian tradition of an
Assistant Inspector General of Police being promoted to the
rank of Inspector General of Police the exiting senior
officers in the rank of Deputy Inspectors General of Police,
six of them in this case equally received abrupt termination
in order to create a new and loyal environment for a junior
officer promoted straight to the top.
This type of removal of serving Deputies is a
tradition or practice which from the point of the psychology
of best practices appears controversial in approach, highly
subjective in nature and needs reexamination in terms of
standardization, fairness and equity. To simply state, if
any of them were to show resistance or disloyalty to Mr.
Mohammed D. Abubakar because of the President’s political
prerogative to move an Assistant Inspector General of
Police to the rank of Inspector General of Police then show
them the door and do it quickly!
Nevertheless, with the coming of the Acting
Inspector General of Police the empty spaces of Deputies
were filled with seven new Deputy Inspectors-General of
Police who were promoted by the Police Service commission
under the watch and leadership of the Chairman, Parry
Osayande,a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police.
Some of senior officers reportedly received
double or triple advancement, and this action is causing
anger in the light of the type of complaints now coming from
some officers who felt the subjective process cheated them
due to nepotism , bias, dishonesty and duplicity. In recent
times a more intense complaint is coming from the Mr. Debo
Adeleke, a Lagos-based attorney.
As we know some of the distressed senior
police officers have lodged complaints against the Police
Service Commission to the National Assembly, and to the
President and other Public interest groups about the current
promotional and appointment process.
As an academic expert in forensic psychology
with a focus on police/prison management, and police and
prison psychology there are questions that the President,
the National Assembly, and the Senate’s Police Committee
especially or any other interested body ought to ask in
regards to various procedures in regard to police
selection, promotion and management.
This is not to blame the Police Service
Commission ( PSC) as it may have done what is expected of a
modern police system in terms of promotion and appointments
but we need to see and examine if the conditions utilized
were objective, or generally subjective through mere
We need to see if the conditions met current
standard practices in leadership elevation. This open
question is essential especially, when this process is
supposed to be public, transparent and a non-secretive
In 2006, a document called “Guidelines: For
Promotion in the Nigeria Police Force” was published under
Chief Simon Okeke, the then Chairman of the Police Service
The publication was developed with the
assistance of professional groups and individuals which
included the CLEEN Foundation and Open Society Justice
Initiative, a consultant, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu and
other scholars like Kemi Asiwaju and Maxwell Kadiri.
At the time an Appraisal/Promotional
procedure that was established and the procedure, and
process involved receiving documented information on an
officer from “Committees at the Area Command, State and
National levels” for the purpose of assessing candidates for
various ranks up to that of a Deputy Inspector General of
Given the presence of the appraisal forms and
procedures it is important to find out how the recent
promotions were conducted, and if these laid down appraisal
procedures were utilized?
Some of the main criteria in the 2006
promotional section included but not limited to receiving a
“Good Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER) over a
period of three years with classification in categories A or
The set of guidelines for promotion also
called for fulfillment of the principles like merit,
hierarchy, decentralization, fairness, openness and equity
which should objectively be adhered to.
The full utilization of a “National
Appraisal” Promotion procedure as in the one of 2006 or any
other if available could create less room for accusations
and grievances in form of suspiciousness, corruption,
nepotism, procedural irregularities, unfairness, and
irregularities in form of side tracking the principles of
hierarchy or seniority.
While there could be some occasions when an
exception is made for an officer(s) to receive double
promotion he or she must equally have a completed appraisal
in terms of a “ Good Annual Performance Evaluation Report
(APER) over a period of three years”.
The real dilemma is not whether the entire
police system is under a Civilian oversight board as in the
Police Service Commission who is supposed to put a check on
issues of complaints, misconduct, indiscipline, and in
matters of appointment and promotion of all officials of the
Nigeria Police Force (other than the IGP), as well as in
matters of dismissal matters.
The real concern is who on a constitutional
and legislatively basis is monitoring the fairness of all
procedures in terms of the functions of the police service
commission in regards to the usage of objective appraisal
procedures, and it is important to know if there are
documented reports on this check?
There appears to be nothing in the 1999
Nigerian Constitution in regards to measurable police
procedural guidelines and it remains highly descriptive and
short on details with no updated amendments to meet
As we all know the Nigerian Police Force or
the Nigeria Police under section 214, is to assist in crime
prevention, crime detection, in the preservation of law and
order; and in the apprehension and prosecution of offenders
as well as in the enforcement of all laws.
It is time that the statutes show measurable
police procedural guidelines in promotion, and hopefully
through the blessings of the Chairman of the Senate
committee on Police Affairs, Senator Paulinus Igwe a new
legal picture could be given to the fix some of the problems
But as it is now the current type of
procedures in making appointments, promotions and carrying
out disciplinary processes are yet to be developed and
blessed by the legislature in terms of established rules.
As such, it is time that the National
Assembly study what is in place in terms of an objective
appraisal system specifically in regard to selection,
advancement or denial measurements and outcomes.
Already the Nigerian Constitution is modeled
after that of the United States of America ,and for the sake
of human rights, fairness and commonsense behaviors, it is
only proper that we have Statutes that contains standards
for all Law Enforcement procedures.
Our legislatives should contain provisions of
employment, promotion, advancement, denial, discipline, and
dismissal with appropriate rulings or statutes defining
manners of appointments; of Promotion; of Discipline and
Discharge. The statutes should contain the manners of hiring
and advancing personnel on the basis of merit, and it should
cover how officers are demoted and, suspended—something that
could be championed by Barrister Debo Adeleke.
With new legislative cover objective
standards covering these various areas will be drawn from
the law, and policies will be constructed by the police
management and other oversight instruments, the police
service commission in particular.
By so doing , detailed and objective
practices as well as non-subjective procedures in matters of
officer rights and privileges, discharge, discipline,
demotion, denial, promotion, transfer, or reassignment will
be clear to every the open eyes. These type of rules and
policies are not security or sensitive areas, therefore they
should be carried out transparently and must remain clear
professional procedures in police work and practices.
With essential amendments the National
Assembly could provide statutory observations as to how the
statutes on these matters are turned into policies and
guidelines for the selection, promotion, discipline and
discharge of officers of the Nigeria Police Force.
With clear definitions, provisions and
rulings on these police matters it will allow the court
system to better interpret and give ruling sunder the direct
guidance of the law for those in a state of grievance. .
What the people wants to see through guide of
the National Assembly is an equitable position that will
guide the executive arm like the police system and help
guide against subjective lines like personal anger,
organizational turmoil, and mistrust of the leadership.
Clearly, no one wants an organization full of disheartened
men and women in the police system.
The police policy makers must recognize the
need for a current promotional policy, and performance
evaluation policy based on advertisement/announcement
process policy, job description policy, job analysis
procedure, selection process policy, testing methodology,
time adjustment policy, scoring system policy, and on a
feedback process policy.
It is time that the National Assembly set out
rules in regards to psychological rules for Law Enforcement
There is need for both medical and
psychological selection qualifications as this will avoid
cases like the Kaduna Police Training college where recruits
who were already in training would suddenly be expelled
because their admission was in part reportedly based on
political endorsement, bribery and some of them had various
character , psychological and medical problems.
It is essential that all police positions
including rank and file, and management positions go through
adequate demographic and historical measurement and each one
of them should possess good moral character, mental
/emotional instability, and visual/motor alertness.
These determinations are to be made by
licensed or certified psychologists trained and experienced
in test evaluation, interpretation and recommendations.
Psychology as a profession places emphases on the state of
wellbeing solely in terms using psychometric or assessment
measures/techniques to establish proactive, preventive,
attitudinal, practical, and fitting behaviors in humans for
the continued assertion of a healthy state of wellbeing.
In cases where an individual’s wellbeing is
overwhelmed by negative lifestyle, personal failings or
societal distress psychiatry and/or neurology as an
end-of-all-purpose input is then warranted. This medical
model follows when the individual’s state of wellbeing as
determined by psychological assessment is deemed to be
chronically unmanageable, warranting the need for
bio-chemical, biological, pharmacological and
All-in-all, with a combined vision and push
for new type of policing by leadership instruments in the
likes of Mr. President, the National Assembly, Acting
Inspector General of Police, the current bold Commandant of
the college, Sanusi A. Rufai and a powerful advocate like
Barrister Debo Adeleke, the Nigeria Police leadership and
its rank and file could begin to see marked reduction in
selection, training, promotional, advancement and management
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D., is an
Abuja-based forensic/Clinical Psychologist and the
Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association (NPA),