23 January 2013

Nigeria: Police College - Commandant's Fate Hangs in the Balance

Photo: Vanguard
Jonathan in a police college hostel

Abuja — THERE were indications, Wednesday night, that President Goodluck Jonathan might sanction the Commandant of the Ikeja Police College, Mr. Irimiya Yerima, over what the Presidency described as negative image given to Nigeria by the exposure of the rot in the college to the world.

Vanguard gathered that President Jonathan was still angry over the filming of the filth in the college by Channels Television, thereby painting Nigeria in bad light.

The feeling within the Presidency is that it was the commandant that gave unfettered access to the television station to record the footage and beam it to the world so as to embarrass the Federal Government.

The anger of the Presidency stems from the fact that there was no way the crew could have entered the premises of the dilapidated college without the approval of Yerima, a commissioner of police.

It was learnt that many heads are likely to roll as soon as Jonathan returns to the country from his overseas trip.

Competent sources told Vanguard, yesterday, that Yerima had already been made to write statements to the Police High Command and the Presidency over his involvement or otherwise in the filming of the college but that the authorities were still seething with anger.

One source claimed that the President was set to descend on Yerima and other officials in the police force whose indiscretion led to the uncanny exposure of Nigeria to ridicule.

However, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, yesterday threatened to tackle the Presidency if Yerima was dismissed over no fault of his.

Falana said in Abuja that the police commissioner did not commit any offence to warrant being sacked from his duty post by the Presidency.

Falana said: "If Jonathan dismisses Yerima, I will go to court to challenge him and I will defend the CP free of charge because he has not committed any offence.

"Under the Freedom of Information Act, it would have been an offence for anyone to stop Channels Television from filming the college and we have no evidence it was Yerima who gave them access to do so."

Even before Jonathan's return to Nigeria, the police authorities had raised a high-powered committee to examine funds remitted to the colleges nationwide and the panel is expected to turn in its report before the end of the month.

The Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, and the Police Affairs Minister, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade (rtd), are said to be gripped by fear over the development at the Ikeja Police College.

Both men are reported to have prepared their defence ahead of Jonathan's return to the country later in the week.

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