Age, service year falsification: Tension in police as cheating officers’ retired colleagues petition IGP, Presidency
… demand justice, sanctions on indicted officers
By Aluta News
November 21, 2023
Coalition urges Egbetokun to probe cheating officers’ records, impose sanctions
The refusal of some police officers overdue for retirement to quit the service is currently generating tension within the Nigeria Police Force.
Already, there have been scores of petitions submitted to the office of the Inspector General of Police and the Police Service Commission by the retired colleagues of the cheating officers, many of who left the Force about five years ago after reaching the statutory age of 60 years or 35 years in service.
Currently, plan by police authorities to enforce the rule on mandatory retirement of officers is creating some anxiety in the Force.
The affected officers are those who are above the statutory 60 years of age and 35 years in service.
In July this year, the Police Service Commission (PSC) ordered the compulsory retirement of an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) for allegedly overstaying in service. The PSC also ordered the compulsorily retired ACP to refund all salaries and entitlements wrongly paid to him during the period he had overstayed in service. There was also the case of an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) who was enlisted as a Constable in February 1991. He was trained at the Police Training School, Ilorin and was appointed an Assistant Superintendent of Police in 1996. In one of his records, he claimed 1/12/1994. But there was no training in the Constable cadre until 1999. He’s currently claiming 1996. He was recently promoted an AIG.
It was gathered that a syndicate operating within the NPF had been assisting the cheating officers to perpetrate the crime.
However, a coalition of 259 anti-corruption, civil society and human rights groups, Coalition for Transparency and Economic Reforms (COTER) has called on the Inspector General of Police, Tunji Egbetokun to institute a comprehensive investigation to look into the records of the cheating officers and recommend necessary sanctions against them.
Recently, the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun ordered police formations and commands to extract a letter of retirement from police officers due for retirement, but who have refused to quit service.
The signal from the IGP’s office had described the continued stay in service of such officers as a “disturbing trend” in the Force.
But the cheating officers have been making moves to resist plans by the Police authorities to enforce the IGP’s order.
The IGP’s signal had stated, “Cooperation with other govt bodies in compliance with the directive of the honourable chairman, Police Service Commission, the IGP directs you draw the attention of all members of the Force to the emerging and disturbing trend in the Nigeria Police Force wherein officers upon attainment of 35 years in service or 60 years of age refuse to proceed on retirement.
“This is contrary to the provisions of the Public Service Rule (PSR) 020810 i & Ii which provides that the mandatory retirement age for all grades in the service shall be 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service. No officer shall be allowed to remain in service after attaining the retirement age of 60 years or 35 years of pensionable service, whichever is earlier. All actions taken by the said officers for the Nigeria Police are null and void as a result of expiration of service duration. Accordingly, you are to immediately extract a letter of voluntary retirement from such officers.”
But it was learnt that inspite of this order by the IGP, many police officers who have exceeded the statutory 65 years of age and 35 years in service are still being illegally harboured by the Force and have continued in service, having falsified their age and reduced the number of years they’ve already spent in service.
Many of these cheating officers, it was gathered, are in the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP).
Documents obtained from the Force listing the names, recruitment number, age, years of enlistment, years of last promotion and expected years of retirement of the cheating officers revealed how they perpetrated the crime. One set of the documents revealed their falsified particulars while another set disclosed their real age, service length and dates of retirement.
For instance, one of the officers involved in the scandal, CSP Sunday Adeola Oke with Force number: AP46625 who was enlisted in the NPF on 15/04/1988 and was supposed to have retired on 15/04/2023, allegedly changed his date of enlistment to 25/06/1994 to extend his retirement date. He also changed his last date of promotion in the Force from 01/06/2008 to 02/11/2021.
Similarly, another officer, Peter Ugochukwu Ezebuike, with Force number: AP21619, changed his enlistment date from 01/11/1988 to 25/06/1994 to prolong his retirement date.
Some of the other police officers caught in this web of cheating and falsification of age and retirement dates in the NPF, according to the documents, include CSP David Otu Abuo (AP46465), CSP Patrick Odoemelem (AP46501), CSP John Ajene Ogwuche (AP46526), CSP Egwu Otu (AP46530), Emman Adegboyega Oyeleye (AP46587), CSP Cosmas Anyanwu (AP46574), CSP Cletus Nwadiogbu (AP46498) and Dennis Anyai (AP46632).
This development, it was gathered had infuriated some retired colleagues of the cheating officers, who were said to have inundated both the Police Service Commission and the office of the Inspector General of Police with series of petitions, demanding justice.
Some other aggrieved retired police officers, it was gathered, sent their petitions against their cheating colleagues still serving illegally in the Force directly to the Presidency.
The retired police officers, it was learnt, are calling for a thorough investigation of the development with a view to unmasking such officers who have overstayed in service through illegal and devious means.
A retired police officer, who pleaded anonymity, told our Correspondent, “Police authorities should publish the names of all officers who have violated their service retirement age. Such impunity should never be tolerated. They should be punished for engaging in such illegal acts to serve as a deterrent to others.”
Efforts by our Correspondent to speak with the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi to react to the development in the police proved abortive as he did not pick calls made to his phone.
Adejobi, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), only gave a terse reply to a text message sent to him on the scandal, saying, “I’m not aware.”
COALITION DEMANDS COMPREHENSIVE PROBE
Meanwhile, a coalition of 259 anti-corruption, civil society and human rights groups, Coalition for Transparency and Economic Reforms (COTER) has called on the Inspector General of Police, Tunji Egbetokun to order a comprehensive probe of the records of the cheating officers and recommend necessary sanctions to be imposed on them.
COTER also urged the IGP to ensure the immediate exit of these cheating officers from the Police Force.
It added that there should be immediate recovery of all the salaries and entitlements already paid these cheating officers during the period they have overstayed in the Police Force.
COTER President, Dr Peter Chima Chukwu and General Secretary, Mallam Auta Ibrahim Koko, stated that the police authorities should also make public the names of the cheating officers to serve as a deterrent to others.
COTER said, “We urge the Inspector General of Police to institute a comprehensive probe of this illegal, untoward and scandalous development in the Nigeria Police Force. We urge them to ensure that all those officers indicted are appropriately sanctioned.
“What they have been alleged to have done as police officers is appalling. So, we call on the police authorities not to spare any one of these cheating officers. Infact, we’re calling on the IGP to immediately sack them from the Force.
“We believe, for the good of the Nigeria Police Force and the sake of posterity, the police authorities will not spare anyone of these cheating officers as a sacred cow.
“We commend your efforts, but we demand that all indicted officers must be appropriately punished in order to deter others from towing such ignoble path in the future. The cheating officers must also be made to refund every Kobo of the salaries and entitlements they have illegally collected from the Force.”