FG plans major reforms in police, immigration, prisons •To address corruption, introduce career patterns, regular promotions in services

THE Federal Government is set to introduce major reforms and restructuring of the internal affairs services to ensure operational efficiency and address emerging security issues, sources close to the administration said at the weekend.

Information at the disposal of the Nigerian Tribune indicated that the government had already set up teams of experts which had reviewed activities of key internal affairs services, including the police; immigration service; Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Prisons Service and the Fire Service.

Sources, however, said one critical aspect of the operations of the internal affairs agencies, as identified by the experts, was the absence of “career pattern” in services like the police, immigrations, NSCDC and Prisons service.

Sources close to the administration told the Nigerian Tribune that the team of experts, which had been working for some time now, had recommended immediate and long term steps that would see the services out of the woods.

One of the measures recommended by the experts, it was gathered, was the decision that the services should not appoint anyone with less than three months to the end of his career to head any of the services.

The decision was said to have been taken to ensure that anyone that would be appointed would have enough time to impact the system.

“It is not good that somebody who has less than a year is appointed to the position of IG or Comptroller of any of the services. His impact would not be felt by his organisation,” a source disclosed.

Another source said a high powered team was set up under the Ministry of Interior to midwife the reforms being planned for the agencies.

“A committee was set up to work out other details and the committee is doing its job,” the source said.

It was gathered that to enhance training, the services would have their training arms restructured.

As far as the police was concerned, it was gathered that the government is planning a bill that will soon be sent to National Assembly to ensure that the Police Training School is legalized.

Another source said “since its creation, the Police Training School has been operating without a law. Government wants to legalise the operation of Police Academy. As we speak, the Police Academy is not operating under any law. and that is shameful.”

Sources in the administration further said the reforms being planned for the security agencies would ensure emphasis on training and career pattern where the government would ensure provision of facilities to help in the discharge of their functions.

It was gathered that the decision, which was said to have received a presidential seal, had already been adopted and that the measure affected a number of officers who were swept aside during the process of appointing the headship of immigrations and Prisons Services recently.

Another measure already taken, according to sources, was the need to adhere to excellence and merit at the top echelon of the services, a situation which was said to have informed the emergence of the heads of Immigrations and Prisons after the conduct of internal tests.

It was gathered that before the Controllers of Immigrations and Prisons were appointed recently, officers on the line were asked to undergo some competitive tests.

A source also told the Nigerian Tribune that though some powerful forces at the top echelon of the Ministry of Interior had planned to avert a situation where the two posts would be occupied by northerners, the results of the tests was adopted by the President.

“In the case of the police, the planned restructuring measures were also applied. Thirteen officers were listed, assessments were done and it happened to favour the incumbent acting Inspector-General of Police,” a source in the administration said.

It was gathered that lack of career pattern in the police essentially played out during the appointment of Ibrahim Idris as acting IGP, as it was discovered that career stagnation had retarded his progress in the Force.

Idris was said to be a course mate of former IGP, Suleiman Abbah, who was named the IGP by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

It was gathered that the absence of career pattern had not only ensure that some officers of the agencies spent as much as 10 years on the same rank, it had also affected their job schedule, effectiveness and had promoted corruption in the system.

It was gathered that with the introduction of career pattern in the services, officers would be made to progress on equal basis and those who failed promotional examinations would be kicked out at any stage.

One of the measures to be introduced as part of the planned structuring of career pattern was the strengthening of the training schools.

“Whereas the police, immigration and other services have training schools, the officers are not availed the opportunities of such schools and in cases where some are taken to the schools, they are not exposed to emerging trends and so they teach with obsolete materials due to poor funding,” a source said.

It was gathered that one of the key recommendations of the experts was to professionalise the services in a way that their operations would be close to what obtained in the Armed Forces, where each officer and soldier clearly had job schedules and career pattern.