Justice Binta Murtala Nyako of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the inspector-general of police (IGP) to provide it with details of the alleged 80,115 ghost officers found in police formations and commands across the country.
The court gave the order, yesterday, in a suit filed by Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), praying the court to compel the IGP to release the list having failed to respond to its Freedom of Information (FoI) request.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/493/2018, the plaintiff said that it had written FoI request to the IGP which letter was received by the office of the police chief on April 3, 2018.
The IGP is listed as the sole respondent in the case.
In the letter, the applicant requested information on the details of the list of 80,115 “ghost officers” allegedly discovered in police formations and commands through the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
CSJ further submitted that the minister of finance disclosed during the presentation of the updated report on the implementation of the IPPIS to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 that 80,115 ghost police officers were on the payroll of the federal government of Nigeria.
The group through the said letter requested for the details of the “ghost officers”.
It, however, noted that the Office of the IGP did not make the said information available and did not give reasons for its inability to do so.
Consequently, CSJ approached the court and prayed for a declaration that denying it access to the details of the list of the ghost officers recently discovered in the police formations and commands through the implementation of the IPPIS without explanation constituted an infringement of its right guaranteed and protected by Section 1 (1) of the FoI Act 2011.
The group asked for a declaration that the continued refusal of the respondent to grant it access to the details of the list of the ghost officers despite CJS’s demand violated Section 4 of the FoI Act, 2011.
It further prayed for a declaration that the continued refusal of the IGP to grant it access to the details of the purported ghost officers without explanation constituted an infringement of the group’s right guaranteed and protected by Section 48 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
The group urged the court to make an order of mandamus compelling the respondent to grant to the applicant access to the list, specifically for the following information: The names and contact addresses of the “ghost officers”, their ranks, their bank account numbers, their bank verification numbers, their monthly salaries and emoluments, and the total money paid to each and every one of them.
In her judgement, Justice Nyako held that in the absence of any defence by the respondent, the reliefs are granted as prayed.
The court held that denying the applicant access to the details of the list of the 80,115 ghost officers without any explanation constituted an infringement of the applicant’s right as guaranteed and protected by Section 1 (1) of the FoI Act 2011.
The court further held that the continued refusal of the police chief to grant to the applicant access to the details of the list of 80,115 ghost officers despite the applicant’s demand violated Section 4 of the FoI Act 2011.
In addition, Justice Nyako ruled that the continued refusal of the IGP to grant CSJ access to the the details of the fake police personnel without any explanation was an infringement of the applicant’s right as guaranteed and protected by Section 48 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
“That an order of mandamus is hereby made compelling the respondent to grant to the applicant access to the list of 80,115 ghost officers recently discovered in the police formations and commands through the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System,” she ruled.
Fake Police Behind Violence, Ballot Snatching In Kogi/Bayelsa Polls – Adamu
Meanwhile, the IGP, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has blamed the attacks on polling units and the snatching of electoral materials during the just-concluded Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections on fake policemen.
Adamu told State House correspondents after a meeting of security chiefs with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential Villa, Abuja that the police helicopter which appeared to shoot tear gas on Kogi voters was patrolling the sky to deter potential trouble makers.
He said that the police realised before the elections that there would be violence in the two states.
Adamu said that there were reports before the polling day that politicians were sewing police and army uniforms for thugs in preparation for the exercise which made the police to provide identification tags for the personnel on election duty.
The police boss therefore declared that the people who were in police or army uniforms without tags were fake personnel.
He said: “Before the election, we had threat assessment of the two states and we realise that there would be violence in two states. Because, during the campaigns we saw how the opponents were fighting one another; so we prepared so much for that.
“During one of the stakeholders meetings, I went to Kogi with the chairman of the Independent national Electoral Commission (INEC) and I also went to Bayelsa. Even at the point of signing the peace accord to conduct the election without any problem, after signing the peace accord in Kogi, within the hall there were problems among the parties.
“So, we knew that it was not going to be easy and so we had to prepare heavily for the elections.
During the elections, anybody you saw either in police uniform or military uniform that did not carry the tag that has been given for the election, that person was not a genuine police officer or military officer or that he was not on official duty
“Because we were aware of the fact that or we were told that some politicians were going to sow police and military uniforms, so we devised some other means of identifying those that were on election duty.
“We gave them tags. So, no police officers in their senses were involved in any form of violence because we recruited and trained them before the elections to play by the rule, be professional, work within where they were posted and not beyond.
“There was a police helicopter that was hovering, it was on patrol and in the cause of patrol you will see some incidence of maybe people fighting, people trying to snatch ballot boxes. You need to intervene and in the cause of intervention, of course, you can never use fire arms because during elections we don’t carry firearms.
“So that helicopter you saw was to patrol and scare those that will want to snatch ballot boxes. Of course, if you see a helicopter hovering over your head and you want to snatch a ballot box or you have carried, definitely you will know you are being monitored and you will stop. So, prevention was our focus with the helicopter,” he said.
He also disclosed that insecurity has declined across the country.
“The meeting reviewed the security situation in the country and we realise that it’s stable, banditry has been reduced to the barest minimum, and kidnapping has been reduced significantly.
“The epic centres of kidnapping as you know in the North West – Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna -they are all very calm now.
“For the insurgency in the North East, the terrorists are being degraded on daily basis and many of the insurgents are surrendering to the authority, they are giving up their arms and for that reason, we have been encouraged to sustain the tempo.
“All the successes recorded come from the cooperation of members of the public, including the press, because most of you have objectively assessed the security situation in the country, which your followers agreed t.
“So, we have been encouraged to continue with the tempo so that insurgency can be eliminated from the country.
“Politicians and the hunters have been working with us and other stakeholders, we have been encouraged to work more closely with such group of people so as to have the information that we require,” he added.
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