Court orders IGP to account for 80,115 fake policemen

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, to release the details of the 80,115 ghost officers said to have been discovered in the police formations and command in 2018.

Justice Binta Nyako, in a judgment, ordered the IGP to release the information to a civil society organisation, Centre for Social Justice, which earlier applied for it but was denied access by police authorities.

The judge, therefore, ordered the police helmsman to immediately release to the group, information, including the names and contact addresses of the “ghost officers” and their ranks.

The judge also ordered the IGP to release the bank account numbers, bank verification numbers, monthly salaries and emoluments and the total money paid to each one of them. The court also ordered the IGP to pay to CSJ, the sum of N500,000 as damages for earlier denying the group access to the information. Our correspondent on Tuesday saw a copy of the enrolled orders, containing the summary of the judgment of the court delivered on October 22, 2019. The Lead Director of CSJ, Mr. Eze Onyekpere, recalled in a statement on Tuesday that his organisation sent a Freedom of Information request to the IGP on April 3, 2018, requesting information on the details of the list of 80,115 ghost officers. He noted that the then Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had disclosed the information about the existence of the ghost workers in her presentation on the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System to the Federal Executive Council on March 21, 2018. The IGP was said to have failed to release the information and give reasons for its inability to grant the request to CSJ.

The development forced the organisation to, through its lawyer, Mr. Kingsley Nnajiaka, file the suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/493/2018, praying for an order compelling the IGP to release the information to it. The IGP refused to file any defence in the suit.

In her judgment delivered on October 22, 2019, the judge held among others, that, “denying the applicant access to the details of the list of 80,115 ghost officers recently discovered in the police formations and command through the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System without explanation constitutes an infringement of the applicant’s right guaranteed and protected by Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.”

The judge also made an order of mandamus compelling the IGP to “grant access to the list of 80,115 ghost officers recently discovered in the police formations and command through the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System”.

“It also ordered the respondent “to pay to the applicant the sum of N 500, 000 as damages for denying the Applicant access to information.”