The Nigerian Police Force verbally suspends an innocent policeman for 23 years and refuses to pay him his dues even after the Senate ordered it and Abubakar Tsav, retired police commissioner, who wrongly accused the man asks for his reinstatement
|By Anayo Ezugwu | Aug 11, 2017 @ 1:00 GMT |
AMOS Olaniyan, a policeman who has served his fatherland with gusto is a broken man who has been injured grievously by the Nigerian Police Force where he worked hard to provide security for the citizenry along with his colleagues. Olaniyan has been verbally suspended by the police for 23 years for a crime he did not commit. Since his ordeal began on October 11, 1994, he has lost almost everything in the struggle to regain his source of livelihood. His wife has deserted him and his son attempted suicide earlier this year due to lack of money to pay for his school fees at Lagos State Polytechnic.
His ordeal started when Olaniyan and four other officers, namely: ASP Abiodun Asabi, Inspector David Oloyede, late Sergeant Joseph Akah and Corporal David Okhuarobo were on petrol duty on Lagos/Ibadan expressway when they suddenly had a flat tyre. He told Realnews that a Good Samaritan who knew their team leader Abiodun Asabi stopped and gave them N1250 to buy a fairly used tyre. While waiting for a vulcanize to fix the tyre, he said that Abubakar Tsav, then commissioner of police, Oyo State, accosted and searched them but found nothing on them. “The search took the CP to our patrol van where the N1250 given to Asabi was found.
“On this account we were verbally suspended in 1994. An orderly room trial was instituted at Zone II Onikan, Lagos, they didn’t find us guilty in the six months the trial lasted. We were discharged and acquitted but the suspension was not lifted. I have written to many authorities, including the inspector general of police, IGP, late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua, Senator David Mark, former senate president and others, but my suspension remains for 23 years. I’m still in possession of my police uniform and identity card till today,” he said.
In his search for justice, Sergeant Olaniyan has petitioned former President Olusegun Obasanjo, inspector general of Police, Police Service Commission and the National Assembly. No listened to his sad tale.
However, the Nigerian Senate gave him some respite when it directed its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on October 6, 2015, to investigate the alleged verbal suspension. The committee chaired by Senator Samuel Anyanwu invited the petitioner and the Nigerian Police Force to appear before it.
Solomon Arase, former IGP, who was represented by DCP Jonah Mava testified that Olaniyan was only suspended orally because there was no document or letter whether in Ogun State where the incident happened or the force headquarters suspending the officer. He equally attested that the sergeant had not been paid since 1994 and ought to have been de-kitted if he had been dismissed.
Based on this testimony, on December 15, 2015, the Senate recommended and ordered the police to fully re-integrate Olaniyan into the police force with a letter of reinstatement and apology. It also recommended that all his dues including promotions and entitlements should be fully granted and paid to him.
Two years after the directive was given, the Nigerian Police are yet to comply with the resolution. Rather, the former IGP, in a letter dated February 26, 2016, stated that the Nigeria Police Force has considered the appeal submitted by Olaniyan, and graciously set aside the punishment of dismissal, and reinstated him notionally with effect from October 11, 1994, and retire him with effect from August 11, 2015.
Despite the police opting to reinstate and retire Olaniyan, his salary arrears from October 11, 1994, to August 11, 2015, have not been paid, likewise his retirement benefits.
Efforts by Realnews to know why police is yet to either pay Olaniyan’s entitlements as directed by the former inspector general of police failed as the Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer, failed to answer his calls or reply the text message sent to his phone.
Realnews also learnt that Senator Solomon Adeola, representing Lagos West Senatorial District, has written three different letters to the police to either implement the Senate resolutions or pay Olaniyan as they have decided. His latest letter to the Inspector General of Police was dated June 28, 2017, with a stamp indicating that it was received by the Department of Finance and Administration at the Force Headquarters. The letter entitled “Re-implementation of Senate resolution on the Case of Sgt. Amos Olaniyan (F/NO/115200) Who was Verbally Suspended for 21 years” reminded the police that Olaniyan (F/No./115200), who was verbally suspended for 21 years for an alleged offence has since been declared innocent.
Senator Adeola’s letter to the inspector general of police reads: “In June 2015, l presented his case to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and after a thorough investigation and inquiry involving the Nigeria Police Force, the Senate resolved through Resolution/069/01/15 (attached) that the officer, Sergeant Amos Olaniyan, be fully integrated into the police force with a letter of re-instatement and apology; and that all his dues, including promotions and entitlement be fully granted and paid.
“The Senate resolution was widely publicised in mainstream and social media and it has always been advertised as part of the achievements of the 8th Senate. Subsequently, your predecessor, IGP Solomon Arase, via a letter (Ref: AH:6790/FPM/FHQ/AB/VOL.6) dated February 26, 2016, (attached), directed that the appellant, Sgt. Amos Olaniyan, be ‘re-instated notionally with effect from October 11, 1994 and retired August 11, 2015.
“Surprisingly, all efforts by the retired officer to claim his entitlement and benefits with or without promotions have amounted to nothing. This was in spite of my communications with your office on two separate occasions through duly acknowledged letters (attached) dated September 22, 2016, and November 11, 2016.”
Lamenting his fate, Olaniyan told Realnews, “What the Nigeria police is doing to me is great injustice because I don’t have money to bribe them or even go to court. Abiodun Asabi, my team leader when we were suspended is still serving in the police because he was not suspended with the rest of us. He was among those who appeared before the Senate because they compelled the inspector general of police, IG, to bring him. He gave evidence and the Senate looked at it and said this is pure injustice. I appeal to Nigerians, international community, the media and the Senate to compel police to reinstate me and grant me all my entitlements.”
Contacted, Tsav, former commissioner of police and the commissioner, who arrested Olaniyan and his team, told Realnews that if the Senate has found them not guilty, it is quite honourable that the police should do the needful. “It is a very long time but I remembered that when I was CP of Oyo State, we had rampant cases of police mounting illegal check points and collecting money from motorists and I was against that type of attitude.
“I remembered that on many occasions I had encounter with policemen taking bribes from motorists on the road and I got some arrested, tried in orderly room and those who were found guilty were dismissed and those who were not found guilty were allowed to carry-on. He might be one of those officers I arrested because I retired many years ago and I cannot remember all these things.
“I cannot remember the case, the evidences or those involved but I do remember that when a policeman failed orderly room, he appeals to the IG and if the IG upholds the punishment, I think the man has only one authority to appeal to which is the president of the federation. If they were suspended during my time and tried and found not guilty I should have reinstated them but the case was not tried under my command then. If they were not found guilty and the police didn’t reinstate them, they made a very big mistake,” he said.