Another scandal in police recruitment

THE Nigeria Police Force (NPF) reached a high point in the recruitment of constables for 2022 when it opened its portal for prospective candidates to submit their applications online for the 9th regular course of the force on August 15, 2020.  The applicants had sat for the computer-based test at various venues nationwide after a shortlist involving the review of their documents and physical screening. It was expected that the process would be transparent and based on merit as quotas were already allocated to states in the geopolitical zones. The police commission later extended the deadline of Monday, September 26th by one month (that is, to October 26) in order to give enough time to all interested applicants to register.

Contrary to expectations, however, the process has once again been mired in controversy involving accusations of corruption and interference by politicians in certain parts of the country. First, it was reported that many applicants for constable in the NPF paid N700,000 and above per person to secure the job.  Also, some officials behind the sleaze reportedly collected money and proceeded to give some prospective recruits fake appointment letters. Furthermore, some senators and governors from the South-East and South-South states were alleged to have schemed out shortlisted candidates from their states by replacing them with their own preferred candidates. There were also claims that the Nigerian Police College concealed the admission lists to deprive the South-South region of its quota.

These allegations are too weighty to ignore. The alleged sharp moves by some legislators and governors from the South-East and South-South regions tampering with the ongoing process of police recruitment would be a travesty of justice and a bastardisation of what should otherwise be an unimpeachable process of public recruitment based on merit. Evidently, those in charge of this process must be compromised for this move to be successful. We expect the authorities concerned with overseeing the process to investigate the allegation and provide the public with the full report of such investigation.

Furthermore, if anyone is found culpable, they should be sanctioned.  The class of people accused of interfering with the process are already benefiting massively from the system. They should be stopped from destroying the police recruitment process which should be transparent and merit- based. A compromised process would result in filling the police force with misfits, morally bankrupt individuals and criminals. Nigeria cannot afford this given the great challenges facing the police force today. The Nigerian environment is now riddled with banditry, armed robbery, terrorism and kidnapping for ransom. These are very dangerous crimes that have transformed the Nigerian physical space into an arena of crime and wickedness. Nigeria requires a well-equipped and professional police force to tackle the menace. That is why the interference in the recruitment process is a direct threat to the security of the average Nigerian.

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Once again, we call for a critical investigation of the allegations. The findings of the investigation should be made public. The current alleged interlopers must be identified and shamed. The cankerworm of highly placed government officials contaminating the processes of recruitment into public institutions with their insidious and illegal acts of intervention must be stopped. Public institutions deserve the services of the most qualified and competent Nigerians and interlopers should not be allowed to keep contaminating the processes of recruitment. Public service jobs should not be sold like commodities in the market. Such illicit practices solidify greed, intensify corruption in the public institutions, and erode commitment to serve the common good.  They institute mediocrity, lead to poor performance in service delivery, and ultimately undermine the legitimacy of the Nigerian state.


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