NIGERIA’s inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu has been ordered by a federal high court in Abuja to release to the Centre for Social Justice (Censoj) details of the 80,115 ghost officers recently discovered on the payroll of the service.
Last year, the police had claimed it discovered the ghost officers in the course of implementing the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (Ippis) in line with the directive of the federal government. On March 21, 2018, the then finance minister Kemi Adeosun, while presenting an updated report on the implementation of the Ippis to the Federal Executive Council, confirmed the existence of 80,115 ghost police officers on the payroll of the federal government.
Ippis is an information communications technology-based payroll administration system initiated by the federal government to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of payment of salaries of workers in its ministries, departments and agencies. Following the claims by the police, Censoj said it observed that the report was not accompanied with the details of the affected officers across the country.
In a freedom of information request n April 3, 2018, the social and economic rights civic group demanded this information from the police boss. However, the inspector-general of police did not make the said information available to the group and did not give reasons for his refusal to do so.
Consequently, Censoj approached the federal high court in Abuja, alleging that the denial of the information by the inspector-general constituted an infringement of its rights guaranteed and protected by Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011. In its motion filed on June 13, Censoj asked the court to declare that the continued refusal of Mr Adamu to grant it access to the details of the 80,115 ghost police officers without explanation was an infringement of its right under Section 48 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
In addition, the group asked the court to compel the police to provide the names and contact addresses of the ghost police officers, their ranks, bank account numbers, bank verification numbers, their monthly salaries and emoluments and the total money paid to each and every one of them so far. Also, it asked the court to compel the police to pay it N500,000 as damages for denying it access to information on the ghost police officers.
During the hearing on the application, the police did not put in any defence and consequently, the federal high court presided by Justice Binta Nyako delivered judgment granting Censoj all its requests. Eze Onyekpere, the lead director of Censoj, said his organisation was delighted with the court ruling on the matter, adding that he expects the police as a law-abiding institution to obey the rule of law and comply with the order.