The Nigeria Police Force has started the process of correcting the injustice meted out to many of their officers and men over the years. Its readiness to comply with the recent decision of the Senate on the petitions by two policemen, who were wrongly disciplined, has helped many people’s prejudices against the security agency.
It is a fact that the Nigeria Police have come a long way, but a lot more needs to be done in terms of discipline and organisation, as well as their public image. They have a lot to correct or deal with, because for years, many Nigerians and other nationals have had negative perceptions about them, but with hope that things would change under the present administration.
Many Nigerians are still wondering why for 21 years, Sgt. Amos Olaniyan, an indigene of Lagos State, was verbally suspended from the Nigeria Police Force without salary or any entitlement despite having his uniforms and identity card as a member of the nation’s foremost security agency since 1994 when the incident that led to his punishment occurred.
The victim reportedly had a problem with his car somewhere in Lagos and was given financial assistance to fix it by a good Samaritan, but unfortunately, this was being done when the then Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Tsav, was passing and ‘caught’ one of his officers in the act of collecting ‘bribe’ from a motorist. Without much findings, the commissioner allegedly ordered for Olaniyan’s suspension and that order stayed for 21 years even after he was tried and found not guilty of any offence.
Incidentally, the Senate which looked into the matter following a petition by the victim, discovered that he did not commit the offence for which Tsav, now a retired commissioner of police, suspended him from the Force.
It was on this basis that the Upper House ordered for Olaniyan’s reinstatement, promotion and payment of all dues since the incident happened. This followed the consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions chaired by Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP Imo East), which investigated his suspension from the Force.
The Senate adopted the two recommendations of the committee namely: “that the officer, Sergeant Amos Olaniyan, be fully re-integrated into the Police Force with a letter of reinstatement and apology and that all his dues including promotions and entitlements be fully granted and paid.”
Senator Anyanwu, while briefing journalists after submitting the committee’s report, expressed happiness at the readiness of the Nigeria Police Force to correct the injustice done to him and others.
The Force’s authority, according to him, confirmed that there was no record showing that he was suspended. The lawmaker disclosed that it was the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG, and the Force Provost Marshal who assisted in calling Olaniyan before he could face the committee.
Senator Adeola Olamilekan Solomon (APC Lagos West) had on October 6, submitted a petition to the Red Chamber on behalf of the victim, who is one of his constituents.
He explained that Olaniyan was verbally suspended in 1994 on a baseless allegation of bribery upon which an Orderly Room Trial discharged and acquitted him, but the police refused to recall him to duty, even as he still has his Police ID card and uniform.
Also, reacting to the findings and resolution of the Senate, Senator Adeola expressed joy that justice had been done to his constituent who had suffered for 21 years without redress.
He said, as representatives of the people, the lawmakers were under obligation to fight in defence of helpless constituents, assuring that he would always fight for the interest of all his constituents and the people of Nigeria.
“I was greatly disturbed when I saw his petition as I did not believe that this could happen to any citizen of Nigeria. This was after he had written petitions to previous Inspectors-General of Police and the Police Service Commission and even late President Umaru Yar’Adua but to no avail,” he stated.
The politician expressed gratitude to his colleagues for taking up the matter promptly in order to bring succour to the family of Sgt. Olaniyan, whom he lamented had endured severe hardship and deprivation as a result of the loss of employment by their breadwinner.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who presided over the session, stated that citizens who cannot afford legal fees to seek redress in the court of law should have recourse to the Senate.
He, therefore, urged the Police Affairs Committee to ensure compliance with the resolution and other similar ones by relevant authorities and report back to the Senate in two weeks.
“This is another report that requires the issue of compliance. The committee on oversight in this case is the Committee on Police. It has to ensure compliance with our resolution because it is only when they are fully complied with that we know that we have completed this exercise,” Saraki stressed.
Expectedly, the police public duties must correspond with their mission statement, “Provide safety and security in Nigerian communities; protect and respect human rights”. Though there is no denying the fact that the Force is providing safety and security in accordance with available manpower and equipment, however, no one would say that they have respect for human rights.
Or how could one describe 21 years suspension from the Force without any record, even as the victim is still in possession of his uniforms and identity card. The Nigeria Police has suffered and still suffers from public negative perception. The case of Olaniyan and his likes are the reasons why there are many ‘professional armed robbers’ in the country.
The incumbent Inspector-General of Police and indeed, the Police Service Commission, must comply with the order of the Senate on Sgt. Olaniyan with a view to proving the new changes in the Force and also, on their own, review all similar cases.

READ ALSO  Gov Umahi replaces deceased aide with son