A senior lecturer at the Nigeria Police Academy (POLAAC), Wudil in Kano State, Northern region of Nigeria, Dr Moses Ichongo Ukeh, has petitioned the House of Representatives and accused the management of the academy of impunity, hijacking of admission, removal of pre-employment psychological evaluation of prospective cadets, denial of staff promotions, allowances and accommodation.
Ukeh described his petition as a distress call for the lawmakers to review and correct anomalies going on at the academy and save the institution from official embarrassment, avert impending doom being meted out to a senior faculty member who is “being victimised for standing up against injustices and dehumanization perpetuated by the insensitive and high-handed Kano cabal who claim ownership of the school.”
The senior lecturer in the petition said, “I use my case as a point of contact to reflect the high level of victimization and dehumanisation perpetrated against non-Muslims and non-tribal members.
“For example, those I am their academic senior are made full professors years ago and appointed to administrative positions, while there is a conspiracy to deny my promotion to Associate Professor. “I have no office or residential accommodation, no administrative responsibility and never benefitted a sponsored local or international conference. Such negative and anti-staff welfare policies made by authorities are based on religious and ethnic sentiments rather than established rules (POLAC Establishment Act, 2021).
“These comprehensive irregularities were submitted by the Staff Welfare Steering Committee (2021) to the Minister of Police Affairs, but nothing tangible was done to reverse the trend and the situation keeps worsening.” He stated that the failure of supervisory and oversight agencies to demand accountability at POLAC has led to a loss of visionary leadership and the establishment of a culture of impunity, which according to him, if not reversed immediately, could destroy the institution.
Ukeh noted, “Since the academy lacks a grievance procedure, I use this medium as the last resort to seek for intervention and/or decentralisation into geo-political campuses as all efforts to reform have failed.”
He stated that the lack of accountability and transparency demanded of principal officers of the academy had undermined the objects that informed the establishment of the academy as contained in section 2 subsections a-g of Nigeria Police Academy (Establishment) Act (NPA Act, 2021) – the provision of globally competitive police officers, who are key actors for effective public policing and community service delivery.
According to him, “Since the inception of this school, the commandants and coordinators/provosts who always hail from Kano and its environs have consistently failed to identify their respective roles and harmonise the police and academic roles to achieve the goals of the institution (see Steering Committee Submission to Minister, 2021)”.
He said, “Instead, they struggle for supremacy and created factions, where each side corruptly utilize their positions as personal entitlement to enrich themselves, provide jobs for their boys, arbitrarily admit cadets and promote their kinsmen over nontribal members, victimise staff who doesn’t belong to their blocs, as well as grant training/conference sponsorships and allocate residential and office accommodation along tribal/religious lines.
“Rather than consider their appointments in the Academy as a call to serve – strengthening public security architecture to resolve the protracted corruption and insecurity bedeviling Nigeria through the production of quality police officers, both leaders do not agree on common issues of development but only agree to make Academy a religious empire where they peddle inappropriate influence and power.
“Invariably, the Nigeria Police Academy is producing another strand of police recruits who only wear the toga of officers but are truly not prepared academically to effectively and efficiently perform expected policing functions after graduation. What obtains is contrary to the stipulated objectives of the Academy (NPA Act, 2021) and calls for immediate intervention or decentralisation for the academy to serve us better.”
He explained that to prepare cadets for the task of crime investigation, prevention and control, three areas of study are indispensable including psychology, sociology and forensic sciences, but coincidently the most neglected.
“Psychological pre-employment tests help the Academy determine which applicants are most qualified (and suitable) for a policing job role. These tests evaluate the candidates’ suitability for a particular role through job-knowledge tests, personality traits, intelligence, and physical ability.
“Instead the academy has made psychology dysfunctional not to carry out cadets’ pre-employment evaluation to allow them to admit unqualified candidates. Have denied promotion of the most qualified academic staff Dr Goddy Osa Igbaekemen in the Sociology department and promoted unqualified ones, Dr Usman Umar, to the rank of professor.”
Regarding the allegation of a wrong mode of admission, Ukeh said, “The police have hijacked the admission process deliberately for pecuniary purposes and should hands off this 10th regular admission exercise to pave the way for timely and proper process.”
He said, “This unpleasant switch of roles has detrimental effects where admissions are sold to the highest bidders, thus, denying merited candidates’ right to admission in the short-run and compromising of national security in the long run. “Again, the centralisation of the admission process (all candidates converging at Wudil for aptitude test) and requirement of evidence of physical and mental fitness from a recognized government hospital are both very wrong and ill-conceived to perpetrate admission racketeering in favour of unqualified candidates by the police.
“In 2020 when as the HOD, I persuaded the then commandant AIG Zanna and a psychology evaluation committee was constituted (attached 01), however, the cabal frustrated its implementation. “As if the exclusion of psychological evaluation isn’t enough, the police have hijacked the admission process from the academic wing, dismantled all established admission procedures in university as prescribed by NUC, JAMB and Federal Character Commission, and sold it to the highest bidder.
“The worst of it is the recent one conducted by AIG Abdurrahman. As I write, the admission list is not yet out in the public domain because of huge irregularities. The National Assembly has refused to carry out oversight functions in the Academy since its establishment in 2013.” Regarding the employment of academic and support staff, promotions and welfare, Ukeh said that the first Coordinator, Professor Munzali, employed academic staff reflecting federal character “but the majority of his Kinsmen who were not qualified and had no capacity to function effectively were implanted on departments and faculties.”
He said, “They were given responsibilities to head over the qualified personnel to reactivate the “northernization policy” of the 1960s. Just for the record, Dr Suleiman Saye, a graduate of B. A History, M.Ed & PhD in Guidance and Counseling in Education was employed as Reader in the Psychology Department and appointed Dean, Faculty of Social and Management Sciences and Head of Department (2018-2020).
“He faked that he had a PhD in Developmental Psychology and during NUC accreditation in 2019, he was temporarily replaced with a professor of psychology to avert failing the accreditation, which the department got anyway. “Promotion is done on favouritism not merit in the Academy (see Steering Committee, 2021). There was a conspiracy between Dr Saye and the then Acting Coordinator Dr Umar to deny my promotion to Reader/Associate Professor during the 2022 assessment.
“Ideally, Dr Saye is not qualified to serve on a committee for my promotion assessment evaluation as he has a fake certificate complaint against which he is yet to defend and no department in the academy. “The welfare of staff became so deteriorated that an Academic Staff Welfare Steering Committee (SC 2021) was put in place to address the welfare of the Academic Staff since NPA Act does not recognise unionism.
“The committee submitted a comprehensive document to the Minister of Police Affairs detailing the corruption and impunity with a view to finding solutions. First, it began with arbitrary deductions (First 28 days’ & kilometre allowances, pension, NHIS, NHF, etc.); then, unpaid Earned Academic Allowances, Promotion arrears, Minimum wage consequential arrears, Responsibility allowance, Hazard Allowance etc.; and worse of it, Promotions are not done timely and used to reward loyalists.
“However, the majority of the Steering Committee efforts only led to other sets of authorities using the academy as a cash cow to milk staff of their benefits to increase the volume of their pockets.” He further noted that accommodation, be it lecture rooms, offices, or residential is best described as a disaster.“The physical conditions of classrooms where I teach in the Academy are worse than those found in public primary schools today.
“Neither the police nor the academic wing claims responsibility for the deplorable condition of classrooms that has negative impacts on teaching and learning. The culture of impunity has overwhelmed the majority and have despicably resigned to fate.
“During accreditation exercises, pseudo offices are created and so-called Lecturers streamed into as covering and asked to vacate same offices to be re-labelled with other name-tags to give the false impression that Academy Lecturers have office accommodation. “As a senior lecturer, I have no office, Dr Igbaekemen, a supposed professor doesn’t and I can name several, but will be entitled to a simulated office only during the next accreditation.”
Ukeh also stated that in a memo dated September 2, 2022, originating from the Provost’s office, “I was given one month’s notice to vacate the chalet I occupy at Inspector’s Mess, where there is no functional toilet or be forcefully ejected.
“Some of my colleagues, Drs I.C. Eze and A.S. Hassan, whom we have collectively written for Postgraduate hostel accommodation and was vehemently rejected by the Commandant, were ejected in their absence and properties confiscated.”
He also alleged that the “Commandant has taken over the Tetfund block meant for visiting lecturers and use it as a commercial lodge instead of substituting it for existing lecturers’ accommodation in the absence of visiting lecturers.”