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Politics

he battle of wits between the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd) and the chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Reorganisation of the Nigeria Police, Mr. Parry Osayande has continued unabated, with both men insisting on their respective positions on how to make the force meet modern challenges. While Osayande, a retired Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police insists on the scrapping of the Ministry of Police Affairs, Olubolade, on the other hand, argues that the committee went beyond the assignment given to it. According to him, the committee’s terms of reference were to look at how the Police could be professionalised and reorganised. The committee had in its report submitted recently to President Goodluck Jonathan recommended the scrapping of the Ministry of Police Affairs, noting that the ministry is no longer relevant in line with the 1999 Constitution as amended. Osayande, who is also the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), said his committee discovered that budgeted fund of the Police was unjustifiably domiciled with the ministry despite the fact that it was neither in charge of Police administration nor its operations. He added that because the ministry determines Police projects with no input from the force’s authorities, some of the projects so executed ended up not being of priority to the Police. This, he explained, was an aberration which had led to “abuse, misapplication and haemorrhage” of the limited resources made available to the force. His words: “The Ministry of Police Affairs has no particular assigned role in the 1999 Constitution as amended, being neither in charge of Police administration which is assigned to the Police Council, nor in charge of operations which is assigned to the Inspector-General of Police nor in charge of appointment, discipline and promotion which are assigned to the Police Service Commission.” But expectedly, Olubolade is not giving up with ease. The minister in a swift reaction slammed the committee for the recommendation. The proposal, according to him, amounted to a derailment. He said: “Mr. President set up a committee led by Parry Osayande to reorganise the police. That committee should not be misconstrued or should not be confused with the earlier committee set up to reorganise the ministries and restructure ministries and parastatals. “Usually, when an assignment like this is given, one must look at the subject. The subject is to reorganise the police and any issue discussed outside that can be termed to be a derail.” On the issue of Police budget, the minister said contrary to the claim of the committee, the force on its own awards contracts while the ministry approves payment. “The police are involved in their own budgetary dispensation. The ministry does not award contracts on behalf of the Police except in capital budgets. All operational provisions are managed by the Police itself,” he explained. He also cited an example of the Ministry of Defence, which co-exists with the three armed forces, the Army, Navy and Air Force to buttress his argument. Much as the arguments of both men sound convincing, some political analysts however argued that while Osayande cited

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Olubolade on edge over Police panel report FELIX NWANERI writes on the proposed scrapping of the Ministry of Police Affairs, which has not only unsettled the supervising minister, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd), but pitched him with the Police Reform Committee headed by Parry Osayande.

Olubolade

Osayande

THE MINISTRY OF POLICE AFFAIRS HAS NO PARTICULAR ASSIGNED ROLE IN THE 1999 CONSTITUTION AS AMENDED, BEING NEITHER IN CHARGE OF POLICE ADMINISTRATION... NOR IN CHARGE OF APPOINTMENT, DISCIPLINE AND PROMOTION relevant constitutional provisions, wastage and inefficient management of meagre funds supposedly meant for the Police to back his committee’s position, Olubolade’s argument was just a calculated attempt to save his job and not borne out of genuine patriotism. Olubolade, the analysts pointed out would be worst hit if the ministry is scrapped, given recent political developments in his home state, Ekiti, where he is locked in a fierce battle with former Governor Segun Oni, who is the current National Vice Chairman (South-West) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over the control of the state chapter of the party. Another political school of thought however argued that the committee’s recommendation may have been informed by quest for more powers by Osayande as the chairman of the PSC. The commission is the oversight body established under section 153 of the 1999 Constitution and the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act 2001. It has the power to appoint, promote, discipline and dismiss all officers of the force except the Inspector-General of Police (IGP). A former Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Roland Owie, who belongs to this school, described the Osayande-panel recommendation as “selfish”. It would be recalled that this is not the first time the Police Affairs Ministry and

its leadership would be subject of public debate. Olubolade had come under heavy criticisms at the wake of the sack of his former counterpart in the Ministry of Defence, Bello Mohammed and the then National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen Andrew Azazi over rising insecurity in the country. The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), in reaction to the President’s action then, insisted that it was not enough to sack the minister and NSA, when other officials and security chiefs were part of the failure. The students’ body particularly called for the sack of Olubolade. It said: “It is a welcome development that President Jonathan was courageous enough to remove the NSA, who had shown total lack of understanding of his job. However, it is our opinion that the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade, too ought to have been shown the way out because his ministry is as guilty as that of Defence. “If Bello Mohammed, whose ministry is in charge of external security of the country could be sacked because of internal security problems in the country, President Jonathan needs to explain why he is still keeping Olubolade, whose ministry should be the one responsible for tackling the Boko Haram menace. The President must live above sectional and man-know-man politics by weeding his government of grossly

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incompetent people, because Nigerians are beginning to get impatient with him.” However, while the citizenry may be doubting the capability of the government and its agencies (especially the Police) to tackle the spate of violence, political pundits are of the opinion that President Jonathan may not be edgy with Olubolade given their close relationship. The intimacy, they say, was responsible for the President’s rebuff of disapproval that trailed the minister’s nomination by some PDP members in his state during the composition of the federal cabinet. They are also of the view that the committee set up by the President to look into the Osayande-panel request will likely not accept the scrapping of the Police Affairs Ministry by the time it comes out with its White Paper. This position was informed by the minister’s recent disclosure that he is a member of the committee, which means that he is a judge in his own case. The committee is headed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke. Other members are the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Bala Mohammed and the Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe. Another pointer to the face that Olubolade is likely to have the last laugh is the submission of the body of former Inspectors-General of Police. The former IGPs, who were at the Presidential Villa recently, told President Jonathan that they are against scrapping of the Police Affairs Ministry because of the need for somebody to answer questions on Police matters. Members of the delegation included Muhammadu Gambo-Jimeta, Ibrahim Coomassie, Sunday Ehindero and Mike Okiro. Gambo-Jimeta, who spoke on behalf of the group, said: “With his busy schedule, the President will not have enough time to attend to the day to day issues arising on the Police. During the parliamentary days, there was the need for somebody, not the Prime Minister, to answer questions on Police. So, a minister of state’s office was created in the Prime Minister’s office to ensure that he conducts the political aspect.” The member representing Ekiti SouthWest/Ise-Orun/ Ikere Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Ifeoluwa Arowosoge, who backed the position, maintained that the scrapping of the ministry will be counter-productive. He therefore advised the Federal Government to accord more priority on improving people’s security rather than on how much would be saved through the merger of ministries and agencies. Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation, a non-governmental organisation promoting public safety and accessible justice, Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, also argued that the ministry should remain. Citing Section 215(3) of the 1999 Constitution, he said: “Realising that office of the President is a busy one, whereby the occupant is not chanced, the creation of the ministry and appointment of a minister to assist the President on security matters becomes necessary.” He however questioned whether the ministry is really playing the important role of overseeing the Police in their dayto-day functions. This, he said, is where people have issues with the ministry and therefore suggested a merger of the PSC and the ministry to create enough function for the ministry as the PSC itself is idle.

Thursday, August 30, 2012  

All the fact,...all the sides

Thursday, August 30, 2012  

All the fact,...all the sides

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