Wednesday, 17 October 2012

CIVIL SOCIETY PANEL ON POLICE REFORM IN NIGERIA 2012



SUBMISSION OF REPORT OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY PANEL ON
POLICE REFORM IN NIGERIA

            Your Excellency will recall that on February 17, 2012, you inaugurated a nine-person Presidential Committee on the Reform of the Nigeria Police Force chaired by Mr. Parry Osayande, Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police.  It had five Terms of Reference on which to advise your government on measures that can be taken to improve the performance of the Nigeria Police and restore public confidence in the institution.

            Coming against the background of three previous Presidential Committees on Police Reform established by your predecessors whose recommendations were neither made public nor seriously or scrupulously implemented, the response of civil society in Nigeria to Mr. Osayande’s Committee was expectedly mixed.  However, being of the view that the task of reforming the Nigeria Police Force is too important to be left to government alone, key non-governmental organisations working on police reform issues in Nigeria decided to engage the process in a creative and proactive way through the establishment of a parallel but complementary Civil Society Panel on Police Reform in Nigeria, using the same terms of reference drawn by your government.  The Panel operated under the auspices of the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) with technical support and facilitation by the CLEEN Foundation.

            In order to carry out this assignment effectively, the Panel consulted widely with stakeholders in civil society, government, political parties, security agencies, women’s organisations, the media and the general public.  We interacted with senior and junior police officials including the Inspector General of Police, Mr. M.D. Abubakar, and benefited from their wealth of experience in police and policing matters.  The Panel requested and received memoranda from the general public.  We also held public hearings in seven cities in each of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory, during which oral and written presentations were made by members of the public and other interested stakeholders.

            We have the honour to inform Your Excellency that the Panel has completed its work. Consequently, we hereby submit the Report of the Panel for the consideration of the Government.

            We hope that the recommendations of this Panel, which draws heavily from major voices in civil society, will complement those of Mr. Osayande’s Committee in guiding your Government in its efforts to reposition and transform the Nigeria Police into an effective and accountable public service institution.

            We seize this opportunity to express our appreciation to you Mr. President, for agreeing to receive our parallel but complementary report.  This is an indication of the willingness of your Government to welcome alternative views when responding to critical national challenges, and we cannot think of any issue more critical to the survival of our nation at this juncture in our history, than repositioning the Nigerian Police Force to effectively and efficiently discharge its functions in partnership with the communities it serves.

            Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of our highest esteem and respect.   



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Mrs. Ayo M.O. Obe
Chair



---------------------------------                                           ---------------------------------
Dr. Smart Otu                                                             Dr. Abubakar Mu’azu
Member                                                                       Member



---------------------------------                                           ---------------------------------
Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma                              Ms. Ayisha Osori       
Member                                                                       Member                      



---------------------------------                                           ----------------------------
Mr. Sam Itodo                                                                        Chinedu Nwagu
Member                                                                       Secretary



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Mr. Innocent Chukwuma
Technical Adviser





Abbreviations And Acronyms

AIG                             Assistant Inspector General of Police
APER                          Annual Performance Evaluation Report
CDHR                         Committee for the Defence of Human Rights
CLEEN                       Centre for Law Enforcement Education
CIB                             Criminal Investigation Bureau
CID                             Criminal Investigation Department
CSO                            Civil Society Organisation
DIG                             Deputy Inspector General of Police
EFCC                          Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
FRSC                          Federal Road Safety Commission
ICPC                           Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission
IGP                             Inspector General of Police
MoPA                         Ministry of Police Affairs
MOPOL                      Mobile Police
NAPTIP                      National Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons         
NDC                           National Defence College
NDLEA                      National Drug Law Enforcement Agency
NIPSS                         National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies
NNPF                          Northern Nigeria Police Force
NPF                             Nigeria Police Force
NSCDC                      National Security and Civil Defence Corps
NOPRIN                     Network on Police Reform in Nigeria
PCB                            Police Public Complaints Bureau
PCRC                          Police Community Relations Committee
PSC                             Police Service Commission
SCID                           State Criminal Investigation Department
SNPF                          Southern Nigeria Police Force
SSS                             State Security Service
UN                              United Nations



Acknowledgements

In the course of its work, the CSO Panel received valuable support, assistance and contributions in the form of ideas, funding, suggestions, written memoranda, oral submissions, and solidarity from individuals, organisations and institutions too numerous to list.  We gratefully acknowledge these contributions, which were made in the hope that the Nigeria Police Force will be reformed to better serve all resident in Nigeria irrespective of social status, religion, political affiliation, ethnicity, age or gender.  Having completed this assignment, the challenge before civil society groups in Nigeria now, is to ensure that this report and its recommendations are adopted and implemented by the government.













Summary Of Findings And Recommendations

1.1.1    Introduction
Official debates about police reform in Nigeria and committees established by successive governments to facilitate such discussions and recommendations of measures for implementation have mostly been dominated by people with a security background who view such assignments as their exclusive preserve.  As a result, their reports have often focussed on increasing policing capacity in the areas of personnel strength, materials for work and welfare; as though once these are right, the NPF will be super effective and efficient.  While not belittling the significant difference a properly resourced NPF can make in addressing the safety and security challenges currently confronting Nigeria, experience from other jurisdictions has shown that it requires more than this for the police to win the confidence of the people and be effective in carrying out their functions.[1]  Community support and participation are critical to improving police performance, and if the people are not consulted and their priorities factored into the reform process, their support for reform programs cannot be guaranteed.

1.1.2        It was with this in mind, that when the Federal Government inaugurated another Committee on reform of the NPF in February 2012 and appeared to be following the same procedure as in the past, civil society groups working on police reform in Nigeria felt they should do more than send another round of memoranda.  They decided to set up a parallel but complementary Civil Society Panel on Police Reform in Nigeria (CSO Panel).  Mrs Ayo Obe chaired the six-person Panel whose other members were Mrs Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, Mr. Sampson Itodo, Dr. Abubakar Mu’azu, Ms Ayisha Osori, and Dr. Smart Otu.  Innocent Chukwuma provided technical advice; Chinedu Nwagu served as the Secretary and Okechukwu Nwanguma served as the CSO liaison officer.

1.1.3        In its work the CSO Panel paid more attention to salient issues that may not necessarily require a great deal of money before they can be addressed, but are often ignored in the work of government committees on Police reform.  However, the CSO Panel recognizes the impact of material deficiencies on the effectiveness of the NPF and aligns with reports of government committees on such issues.

1.2.1    Methodology
The Panel used a variety of complementary methodological approaches in carrying out its functions. These were: review of extant literature, which helped it to properly situate its work and enrich its understanding of the issues at play; call for memoranda to enable members of the public who wanted to contribute to work of the Panel to send written presentations; organisation of public hearings in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and the Federal Capital which provided an opportunity for members of the public to make presentations in person; bilateral interaction with key actors in the field; and a validation workshop where the key findings of the CSO Panel were presented to civil society representatives.  The effective combination of these approaches enhanced the Panel’s appreciation of the issues involved in its work and placed it in a privileged position to offer the recommendations contained in this report.

Summary of Findings and Recommendations
1.3.1    Factors Affecting Effective Performance by the NPF
The factors affecting police performance that were identified by the panel include inadequate articulation of the NPF’s mission, legal framework, specialization of functions, performance appraisal system, duplication of policing agencies, weak oversight agencies and corruption.

1.3.2    Mission of the Police
The Panel found the mission statement of the NPF as provided in Section 4 of the Police Act inadequate in capturing the expectation of the new kind of police Nigeria requires in the context of its disheartening experience of police inefficiency and brutality and hope for a democratic society of security and liberty.  In proposing a new mission statement for the NPF the CSO Panel is of the view that focus should be on modelling a new police service that works in partnership with the communities it serves.

1.3.3    Recommendations
·           The National Assembly should amend Section 4 of the Police Act to incorporate language that emphasizes that the Nigeria Police is a service organisation that respects human rights, works in partnership with the community and is impartial before the law in carrying out its functions of ensuring the security of persons and property, detecting, investigating and activating the prosecution of offences.
·           The Nigeria Police Force should embark on a strategic planning exercise with a view to articulating operational vision and mission statements consistent with the values of a civil agency and the protection of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution of Nigeria in discharging its functions.

1.3.4    Constitutional and Statutory Framework
The CSO Panel found the constitutional and statutory framework under which the NPF operates to be a significant challenge to the effective performance of its functions: Sections 214-216 create the NPF, while the Police Act provides for its organisation, discipline, powers and duties.  The Panel identified two issues in the legal framework of the NPF: lack of operational autonomy, which has led to politicization and lack of professionalism in the NPF, and an opaque leadership appointment procedure, which can rob the NPF of the services of its most competent officers at leadership levels.

1.3.5    Recommendations
·         Amend Section 215(3) of the Constitution and sections 9(4, 5) and 10(1, 2) of the Police Act to restrict the role of the President or Minister of Government acting on his behalf to issuing only lawful policy directives, not operational directives, to the NPF. The amendment should state clearly and unambiguously that operational control of the NPF and its department/units rests with the IGP.
·         Sections 215(1) and 216(2) of the Constitution should be amended as part of the present constitutional reform process to: 
o     Provide for a competitive and transparent process to be followed in the appointment of an IGP if the position becomes vacant, including an open application process, screening of applicants, Senate hearing and confirmation of the most competent person for the job;
o     Specify relevant competences and qualifications that must be met by anybody vying for the position of IGP and other senior command positions in the NPF, including academic qualifications and relevant professional and management experience;
o     Guarantee security of tenure for the IGP with one term limit of five years;
o     Stipulate processes that should be followed for an IGP to be removed from office, including a public hearing by the Senate.

1.3.6    Structure and Organisation of NPF
The Panel found the NPF structured in a way that over-centralises its operations.  Even though the NPF has a five-tier command structure (Headquarter, Zonal, State, Area and Divisional Commands), too many decisions begin and end on the desk of the IGP.  Similarly, although the NPF has seven Deputy Inspectors-General (DIGs) who function as the heads of departments at headquarters and should lighten the load on the IGP, the Panel found that apart from adding to the unwieldy nature of NPF structure, the DIGs have little real work to do.  Furthermore, despite an outward show of unity, the current DIG structure does not help stability in the NPF, as all the DIGs see themselves as IGPs in waiting and spend their time plotting for a change in the leadership of the NPF, since the IGP has no security of tenure.

1.3.7    Recommendations
·         The NPF structure should be decentralized and powers and resources devolved to Zonal, State, Area and Divisional Commands to enable them effectively respond to the priority safety and security needs of their jurisdictions.
·         The seven DIG structure should be abolished, and the IGP should have just one DIG who should serve as his second in command.
·         The headquarter departments should be headed by AIGs in the same way as Zonal Commands.

1.3.8    Lack of Specialization
The CSO Panel found that lack of specialization has robbed the NPF of the capacity to develop its personnel to become experts in different fields of policing, a gap which impacts its ability to solve complex crimes.  With the exception of a few specialists such as medical doctors and veterinarians, the CSO Panel found that upon enlistment, all officers are made to carry out all duties, irrespective of their areas of specialization, and are moved around at will from one duty post and function to another, without prior training or preparation.  The Panel observed that the lack of career trajectory in the NPF has turned most police officers in Nigeria into ‘jacks-of-all-trades’ who in the end, are not able to master any.

1.3.9    Recommendations
·         The ‘general duty policy’ should be abolished. Every police officer should be given a time line of five years to specialize after recruitment, be a promotable officer or go home.
·         Diverse professionals such as criminologists, psychologists, sociologists, lawyers, doctors, pathologists and others should be recruited as police officers and allowed to practice their professions within the police service, and be promotable in their areas of expertise as is done in services such as the military.

1.3.10  Duplication of Policing Agencies
The Panel found a government penchant for the creation of agencies (such as the EFCC, ICPC, FRSC, NAPTIP and NDLEA) that fragment and duplicate police functions, and are inimical to improving the effectiveness of NPF because they not only deprive the NPF of badly needed material resources, but also deplete its pool of human resources.  Some of these agencies, such as the EFCC, still draw their leadership and operational personnel from the NPF.

1.3.11  Recommendation
The government should establish an inter-agency committee for the harmonization of the functions of all agencies performing policing and internal security functions in Nigeria with a view to:
·         Determining those that should be merged with the NPF;
·         Delineating functions where merger is not a feasible option;
and more importantly;
·         Working out, from leadership to operational level, arrangements to coordinate activities that will ensure that resources are properly shared, and that inter-agency cooperation in planning and executing safety and security functions is enhanced.

1.3.12  Weak Oversight Agencies
The Panel found no justification for the existence of the Ministry of Police Affairs (MoPA) and the Police Service Commission (PSC) as separate bodies as presently structured, organized and managed.  The MoPA maintains a huge bureaucracy for the purpose of either duplicating functions already performed or statutorily assigned to the NPF or the Police Service Commission (PSC).  The PSC on its part has been dismissed as nothing more than “a dismal chronicle of rubber-stamping decisions taken by the police”.[2]  Participants at the public hearings also criticised the lack of response to (or even acknowledgement of) complaints about police misconduct sent to the PSC.  At the same time, concern was expressed about the unclear constitutional area in which not only agencies such as the EFCC, ICPC, FRSC, NAPTIP, NDLEA and NSCDC are operating, but the legal vacuum in which a variety of community-based security initiatives are operating, and their often shaky adherence to human rights and due process standards.

1.3.13  Recommendations
·         The Ministry of Police Affairs should be restructured and renamed Ministry of Public Safety and Security to coordinate the activities of government in the field of public security and discontinue the present practice of replicating the bureaucracies of NPF and PSC. It should also be charged with providing a regulatory framework for community initiatives on crime prevention and creating an incentive regime to ensure that they comply with the law and eschew human rights abuses in carrying out their functions in rural areas or inner city communities not often covered by police patrols.

·         The PSC should be strengthened and provided with adequate resources to establish its presence across the country, starting at the level of Nigeria’s geo-political zones, and expanding to states and local governments as funds and resources permit.

·         The PSC should establish a department responsible for investigation of public complaints against the police (particularly cases of corruption, rape, torture and extrajudicial killing) and discontinue sending such petitions back to the police for investigation.  

·         The process of appointing the chairperson and members of the PSC should be transparent and rigorous in order to ensure that only qualified persons are appointed to actualise its enormous potentials as a civilian oversight body on police in Nigeria.


1.3.14  Performance Appraisal System
The Panel found that the NPF does not take assessment of its officers’ performance seriously.  On paper, the appraisal system of the NPF looks impressive, as it covers critical issues such as discipline, knowledge of the job and environment, attitude to work and performance, relationship with colleagues and superiors and more importantly, relationship with members of the public.  However, the problem is in the application process, which is not prioritized, rigorously applied or transparent. In the words of a police officer, “APER (Annual Performance Evaluation Report) is there for the sake of being there. What the police do is eye service. Nobody actually looks at the APER.”

1.3.15  Recommendations
·         The IGP should set up a committee to review the performance appraisal system in the NPF with a view to proposing a new and functional system, which should then be implemented and stringently applied.  The committee should include independent experts in in the field of performance management.
·         A task-based system of appraisal which focuses on performance in given tasks, instead of the current blind filling of forms by superiors, should be adopted to create objective and transparent criteria for the assessment of police officers.
·         The APER template should be revised to provide for police officers being appraised to also score themselves on the issues on which their supervisors are appraising them.  The expected differential in scores will provide opportunity for the supervisors and subordinates to discuss the appraisal process and build confidence in it.

1.3.16  Ban on Police Unionism
Despite the widespread belief that it is illegal for police officers to form any kind of trade union or professional association, the Panel could not find any legislation that supports such a conclusion.  Rather, section 40 of the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of association and specifically provides that “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests”.  The Panel found the tendency of government to conflate the right to associate with the inevitability of strikes as not only restrictive, but also likely to guarantee a situation in which grievances are bottled up until they explode in a manner that is not only detrimental to effective performance of police duties but also may affect national security.


1.3.17  Recommendation
Having regard to the rights guaranteed by section 40 of the Constitution, the CSO Panel recommends that police officers should be encouraged and permitted to form a Police Association for the purpose of collective bargaining, but be barred from using the strike option in pressing their concerns or demands for better conditions of service.

1.3.18  Police Corruption
In spite of the efforts of the current IGP to deal with corruption in the NPF by dismantling road blocks and dismissing police officers caught in corrupt acts, the CSO Panel found that corruption is still the number one impediment to the effective performance of police functions in Nigeria and a cancer that has spread to every facet of the NPF.  The Panel recognised that corruption has spread throughout Nigerian society but rejected the suggestion that this in any way excuses or justifies corruption in the NPF.

1.3.19  Recommendations
The leadership of the NPF should:
·         Sustain the abolition of police roadblocks and checkpoints on the highways.
·         Create a functional and easy-to-use database of police officers in Nigeria to enhance personal performance monitoring and help expose erring officers to the public.
·         Resuscitate the police X-Squad in all police commands and formations across Nigeria, and provide a line budget for their work.
·         Work with civil society groups to introduce the use of new media technologies to map police corruption in Nigeria and deploy more officers from X-Squad to corruption hotspots as identified in the mapping using geographic positioning system (GPS) technology.

To see the full report please visit http://cleen.org/ or http://noprin.org/pub.html or  http://cleen.org/CSO%20Panel%20Final%20Report.pdf 

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