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Opinion

Police Academy Wudil: On the failed attempt to smear AIG Abdurrahman Ahmad’s name

Nigeria Police Academy, Wudil became a degree awarding university in 2013. Prior to that Degree or HND holders undergo 18 months rigorous training and academic activities before being commissioned as Cadet police officers graduating as Assistant Superintendent of Police.

But with the conversion to its new status, fresh school leavers of not more than 23 years of age are admitted annually to participate in the screening exercises and at the end, successful candidates are admitted for a 5-year programme leading to the award of a university degree and commissioned as an Assistant Superintendent of Police.

The Academy is in the news of late. Attention has been drawn to the institution following a trending report by Sahara Reporters alledging attempt whether perceived or real by the Commandant of the Academy, AIG Abdurrahman Ahmad to islamize the Academy.

Ordinarily, the report should not have attracted a response or a rejoinder because of the falsehood, barefaced lies, distortions and misinformation contained in the said report. Except that it is proper to situate the issues in the proper context for Nigerians to understand that there is clearly an attempt to stoke religious crises in a regimented national and a special university like Academy.

We all know how sensitive religious issues are in the country. One is also being forced to subscribe to a theory that this attempt is purely a clear case of campaign of calumny by interests not comfortable with the style of administration of the commandant. He is barely four months on the saddle as the commandant and any objective analyst will decipher the policy thrust and the direction of his administration, particularly, his resolve to challenge the status quo.

The Academy needs such a courageous person at this time to rescue it from the myriad of challenges bedeviling its growth and development. Some entrenched forces are holding the Academy by its jugular. We challenge authorities outside the management to undertake an independent investigation on happenings in the Academy.

Both members of Academic and Non-Academic staff should be interviewed to have an informed position and not this clearly sponsored report to undermine the effort to turn things around.

Postings not just in the police but other security services or armed forces are based on competence and loyalty. Once somebody assumes leadership, the buck stops on his table and stands to accept blame or credit for events under his stewardship. Premium is always on who can deliver the assignment. I don’t understand how this is seen as a problem.

– Among the only two Commissioners of Polce in the Academy, all the two are Christians but heaven didn’t fall and the Commandant works with them cordially.

– The Academy has a total number of eight Deputy Commissioners of Police and out of the eight only two are Muslims, the majority six are all Christians and no any complaint from any Muslim and they enjoy working with the Commandant.

– The Police Public Relations Officer was appointed by a Commandant who preceeded the one that this Commandant took over from. But because of his condition of health as the only survivor of a ghastly motor accident, his second in command, a competent Inspector of Police, is overseeing the office.

– Again nobody is talking is about the Sallah Rice distributed by Commandant to the staff, why? Perhaps because majority of the beneficiaries are Christians; some of whom are friends to Sahara Reporters.

– Also is it part of Islamization that majority of the Cadets penalised and sent out of the Academy by the Commandant were Muslims? Certainly the reverse would have been the case! The Commandant has an untainted record and cannot be forced to work with corrupt, incompetent and irresponsible officers based on sentiments. We must not attach religious meanings to every policy action.

It is rather laughable and mischievous for the writers to attribute the appointment of principal officers of the Academy to the current commandant.

They have been left in acting capacity for the past three years, according to the writers. But they failed to disclose that the commandant is just about four months old in charge. The supervising ministry does the appointment of principal officers and not the commandant. In fact, these appointments have not been attended to for over five years now.

The last official appointments were done under Goodluck Jonathan’s administration when Professor Abdulrahman Siraj was appointed from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. At the expiration of his tenure, a letter was said to have emanated from the ministry requesting that the most senior persons should act pending the approvals of the new principal officers.

Professor Abdulkadir Ibrahim acted for over three years, retired and then Professor Umar Indabawa, who was next in order of seniority, assumed leadership and, as we write, Professor Umar Ndabawa and his team remain still in acting capacity for more than three years.

In fact, the present commandant should be commended for officially writing to the Minister of Police Affairs, requesting for a change or appointments of new principal officers as the present crop have overstayed in Acting capacities. This has obviously not gone down well with the system as some of them have vowed to fight the commandant for daring to challenge the order.

In the same vein, let it be emphasized again that appointments of Deans and HODs are purely the prerogative of the Coordinator. No commandant since the inception of the Academy has ever attempted to interfere. It is purely an academic issue. There are series of issues with some of those appointments and renewal as some are spending six years instead of the maximum four years as is the order in the university system but this is purely outside the control of the commandant. The Coordinator should be interrogated on this rather than the commandant.

Earned academic allowance has remained a sour issue in the Academy. One should have expected the reporters to undertake a thorough investigation on the issue before rushing to the press. For the record, this allowance has never been paid, not even once in the Academy. This predates the current commandant. Matters got worse when the Academic staff withdrew their services earlier this year resulting in postponement of semester exams.

The actions were suspended when the commandant was able to demonstrate leadership by the steps he had taken so far. He has drawn the attention of the police Inspector General and the Minister of Finance. This is unparalleled in the history of the Academy. He coopted the representatives of the Academic staff in all these steps taken so far to convince all stakeholders on his sincerity and determination to confront and address all the challenges.

The strike action was suspended not because the money has been paid but in deference to his efforts and the conviction that for the first time, actions are being taken to bring smiles to the faces of the entire staff that have been consistently denied of their legitimate entitlements. He should be commended rather than being vilified. The session is running smoothly.

Can someone please clarify issues from the chief caterer of the Academy on this issue of segregation of Muslims and Christians in the dinning? It is taking the jokes too far. The Academy caterer is a Christian for the record too. She, in her wisdom, converted fasting cadets lunch with their dinner during break of fast and their morning breakfast fast to Sahur. Who does not understand what Muslims go through during that special month of Ramadan? What for God’s sake is wrong with the cadets breaking fast in the mosque after prayers and staying behind after the break of fast to observe their tedious Tarawih prayers? Somebody is insensitive and showing his hatred for the Muslims. Pure and simple. Because I don’t think there was such practice before the month of Ramadan and whether it has continued after the month of Ramadan.

And again, this is not the first time cows are being slaughtered during Sallah period. Please check your records. The practice has always been there even under Christian leadership. I stand to be corrected. What we fail to understand is that most times, cadets are in school during these festivities because of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is unlike our Christian brothers and sisters who are most times at home during Easter and Christmas holidays. Can any commandant refuse to slaughter if the cadets remain in school during the Christmas season? I doubt strongly. Afterall, the present commandant resumed after the last Christmas. Where are these issues coming from? Certainly, some interests are indeed fighting.

The last other issue of scarf for female police officers or cadets is a policy matter that should have been directed to the ministry. The Inspector General could not have announced if the appropriate authorities did not approve it. The Commandant did not initiate the policy of optional head scarfs for female officers and, by implication, the cadets.

Can he stop cadets from wearing the scarf and won’t attract official reprimand? What is his offence on this issue please?Perhaps, he should challenge the policy that has the approval of the authorities and his superiors.

There are serious issues in the Academy which members of the public need to investigate and understand. These are least of the issues. Morale of members of staff is terribly very low. I challenge the media to interrogate the issues. The present commandant has introduced innovative and radical approaches in addressing some of the issues. I also do understand that disciplinary actions have consistently been meted out to deserving cadets. It is on record that he is a disciplined and incorruptible officer. Several cadets have been expelled and dismissed since he assumed leadership. The records are there for verification. Continuous disciplinary process has been instituted in the Academy to check the excesses and unbecoming indisciplinary attitudes of the cadets. I am sure that some of the people affected by this no nonsense posture won’t rest until he is punished for doing the right thing.

This piece is clearly a response to this well orchestrated attempt to destabilize the commandant from being focused on his determination to leave the Academy better than he met it. No doubt, he is a God-fearing man that has refused to be disturbed by threats. We encourage a dispassionate investigation and report, devoid of emotions rather than what appears to be a clandestine moves to thwart a quiet revolution that is meant to restore the Academy to its original mission and vision.

Truth, according to Uthman Dan Fodio, is an open wound, only conscience can heal it. Responding to a question if the school may wish to make an official rejoinder to the online publication by Sahara Reporters, one of the respondents noted that, it was unfortunate that the media gate-keepers of the online media outlet – Sahara Reporters would have embarked on an investigative mission to the Academy for facts finding, owing to the fact that, the owner of the online media platform has a son – Abiola Sowore, who was a Cadet of 3rd Regular Course and graduate of the Academy currently serving with the Nigeria Police Force.

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