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NOPRIN, incessant blackmail of senior police officers & quest for foreign grant

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noprin,Okechukwu NwagumaBefore forming what he called Network of Police Reform in Nigeria, Okechukwu Nwaguma worked in the Civil liberty Organization [CLO] as a paid staff. According

 to the information contained in NOPRIN’s blog, the organization which Nwaguma [image above] says is a network of 46 Non-Governmental Organizations [NGOs] was established in the year 2000. 

What did not add-up in Nwaguma’s NOPRIN is the distance between when he was made to leave CLO and when he rallied round 46 NGO’s to form the NOPRIN network. What this writer could not understand is whether these 46 NGO’s existed side by side with CLO before he eventually brought them together after his forced exit from CLO. What this writer did not know is whether the NGO’s that constitute NOPRIN can be independently verified in the Corporate Affairs Commission as being registered under schedule C of the act establishing CAC. 

Another issue bordering this writer’s mind is if the 46 NGO’s that constitute NOPIRIN, surrendered their certificate of registration to become one entity called NOPRIN. If so, did CAC issue certificate of merger to NOPRIN as one entity? Is NOPRIN recognized by the police authorities as an NGO that truly champions reform in the institution?

The reason this writer raised the posers above is that if NOPRIN is a responsible organization, it should have maintained an intellectual and educative website that will contain what they stand for in clear terms. Its reform mantra should have been conspicuously displayed in its site to show to the whole world that it is a responsible outfit; this is sadly not the case here. 

How can an outfit be talking of reform in police without showing Nigerians its blueprint in their website? How can Okechukwu Nwaguma’s direct attacks on the persons of senior police officers in Nigeria be taken to represent calls for reform in the police as an institution? If Nwaguma led-NOPRIN is out to fight for reform in the police, it should have come out with what it has for Nigerians to see, after all, we are in a change regime of PMB where openness in administration holds true.

One fact which cannot be disputed by Okechukwu Nwaguma is that over the years, NOPRIN had applied for grant from foreign donors ostensibly to enhance its operations in Nigeria but was denied of it. It is on record that between 2003 to date, NOPRIN had written more than 5 times for grant without success. What this writer cannot verify is if Nwaguma had at one time or the other, sought financial assistance from these police officers he has taken pleasure in blackmailing without results. 

One wonders the rationale behind his incessant attacks on senior police officers when in actual fact, the objectives of NOPRIN as stated in its website or blog are clearly issues based. For avoidance of doubt, the objectives of NOPRIN read thus: 

“To identify issues for reform in the Nigeria Police Force; To Provide opportunity for civil society input in the Police Reform process; To strategize on Police-community relation; To review efforts, prospects and problems encountered by NGOS on safety/security; and, To create a platform for civil society involvement in safety and security issues in Nigeria”. Further, the blog has these themes as its areas of focus: Police-community Relations, Police legislations and Standing rules, Gender issues in Policing. Human Resource, Training and Development. Police Operations, Logistics and Accountability and Police Welfare and Conditions of service.                                                      

What rational Nigerians can deduce from Nwaguma’s NOPRIN aims and objectives is the assumption of a primitive police force that is not even interfacing with Civil Society groups. That even the Civil Liberty Organization [CLO] that expelled Nwaguma from it midst was not interfacing with police in the areas he mentioned as NOPRIN’s policy thrust. Is Nwaguma trying to tell Nigerians through his blog that what necessitated the formation of NOPRIN was that police shut its doors against NGOs’ involvement in their affairs?

Through what medium has Nwaguma’s NOPRIN alerted the government on the need to improve police welfare and conditions of service? In Nwaguma’s narrow view, proper funding of police can only be achieved through attacking senior police officers. For the record, the issue of police welfare received significant boost under Mike Okiro watch as the IGP and other IGs after him continued where he stopped. It was under Okiro’s leadership that police housing scheme was given the necessary attention. Salary increase became a reality in the same period. How come these milestones escaped the memory of Nwaguma’s NOPRIN.                                                      

The roll-call of Okechukwu Nwaguma’s plethora of character assassination of senior police officers in Nigeria is mind-boggling.  In 2013, when Sir Mike Okiro was made the chairman of the Police Service Commission [PSC], Nwaguma forwarded a petition to the Senate on why Okiro should not be confirmed as the chairman. These are the points he raised against the person of Okiro:

“1. The need to secure the role of the Commission as civilian credible and effective oversight mechanism. 

2. Mr. Okiro’s role in popularising extrajudicial executions in Nigeria, an institutional illegality that has become a driver for internal extremism in Nigeria. 

3. Mr. Okiro’s candidacy suffers clear and irremediable integrity deficits, and,

4. As a person, Mr. Okiro’s partisan interests fail to comply with the Provisions of the Constitution”. Though Nwaguma’s petition against Okiro was thrown away by the Senate as soon as it was submitted. After his clearance by the Senate, Okiro slammed N1billion libel suit against Nwaguma for accusing him of extrajudicial killings among other allegations, in a High Court in Lagos State. While it is within the confines of Nwaguma’s fundamental right to object to the appointment of Okiro, it is not within his right to defame his character and that was what he did here with his amorphous organization. 

After the investigation into the alleged N275 million corruptions against Mike Okiro, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Commission [ICPC] came up with a report that exonerated Okiro from the allegations; Nwaguma again came up with his own version of how the ICPC should have found Okiro guilty as alleged. This time around, Nwaguma deployed fictitious coalition groups and NGOs’ to attack ICPC for giving Okiro a clean bill in all the allegations; just as he is calling for Okiro’s resignation for a nonexistent offence.

Emeka Oraetoka, Information Management Consultant & Researcher, wrote in from Abuja; e-mail: oramekllis@lycos.com, 08056031187.

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