Ex-IGP threatens to sue ICIR over investigation on shady Police housing project

A former Inspector General of Police and Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase, has threatened to sue the publisher of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting over a report on the controversial sale of residential Police Barracks.

The ICIR had reported how the Nigeria Police under the ex-IGP and his successor, Ibrahim Idris, approved the development of a designated Police Barrack at Mbora district as an estate in circumvention of approved guidelines for the sale of federal government-owned facilities in FCT. 

The report detailed how former staff of the estate developer who was part of the deal testified in the court how they lured both former IGPs with N200 million and house allocation to secure the contract. 

However, in a press statement issued by the spokesperson of the Police Service Commission, Ikechukwu Ani and published by the Guardian on February 22, Arase failed to address this gross violation of law but rather threatened to take legal action on The ICIR for what he described as “cyberstalking”. 

___________________________________________________________________

Read also:

[EXCLUSIVE] Two former IGPs, senior Police officers accused of bribery in shady land sale of designated Police Barracks

_______________________________________________________________________

The ICIR observed that the Guardian has updated the publication to reflect a part of the investigation, but the earlier version of their report has been archived here. 

“While the initial inclination was to ignore the spurious publication with a view to denying the misguided authors and the elements they might be representing the undue attention they were, perhaps, seeking to attract, the depth of the misinformation, maligning content and hatchet man job they clearly seek to project and the overriding consideration of the need to continually protect Dr. Arase’s hard earned public service reputation and integrity, make it expedient that the records be set straight,” the updated statement reads.

“The publication essentially seeks to project a false narrative indicating that in his then capacity as the Inspector-General of Police between 2015-2016, that he drew pecuniary benefits as reward for ‘selling’ police barracks at Mbora District, Abuja.”

According to the Oxford Dictionary, cyberstalking is the repeated use of electronic communications to harass or frighten someone, for example, by sending threatening emails or messages. The ICIR only contacted Arase via phone for reaction which he declined.

In the statement, Arase failed to mention whether the deal followed the Public Procurement Act, enacted in 2007, which prescribes principles by which public institutions such as Nigeria Police Force should conduct their affairs.

Part of the statement reads, “In furtherance to his dispute with Messrs Corpran International Limited, it is clear that Barrister Francis Mgboh is attempting to drag credible personalities with a view to discrediting all principal actors in the project by undertaking smearing campaigns against such responsible personalities and corporate entities involved in the perfection of the well-intentioned project. It is clear that ICIR has wittingly or unwittingly, become a tool in the advancement of this smear campaign.

“IGP Arase (rtd), therefore, finds the unholy alliance between ICIR and Barrister Francis Mgboh in engaging the ICIR platform and the cyberspace to malign his personality and taint his hard-earned public service reputation in the manner conveyed in the publication under reference as irresponsible, intolerable, ill-intentioned and in bad faith.

“At no point in the project perfection process did Dr. Arase seek nor obtain any form of reward as being maliciously and falsely projected by ICIR or their paymasters.”

He also failed to mention the procurement method and the media in which the contract was advertised for interested bidders to compete as provided by the PPA that a contract of such magnitude should be advertised in two national dailies.

Arase also did not address the allegations that he and other senior police officers got a house in the estate nor the the criteria used in selecting the developer and allegations of forgery pointed out by the ex-staff of Copran International Limited. 

The ICIR reported that the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) allocated 2.13 hectares of land at Cadastral Zone C 06, Mbora District, Abuja to the Nigeria Police in 2014 for the construction of barracks to address the inadequate housing for police officers.




     

     

    But findings showed that top officials of the Police approved the development of the lands to Copran International Limited, an Abuja-based company against its purpose of allocation and approved guidelines which restricted such land from being sold.

    The ICIR sent a Freedom of Information to the Ministry of Police Affairs to track the procurement processes and they admitted that they did not have any information on the project. A copy sent to the Nigeria Police Force was also not responded to as the lawyer assigned couldn’t provide details of the contract. 

    The report also revealed how the Nigeria Police Mortgage Bank granted a loan of N573 million to the developer without collateral as against the law. 

    Arase said he has briefed his lawyer to initiate requisite civil actions against ICIR and petitioned the relevant law enforcement agency for “cyberstalking and sundry crimes.”

    Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in society. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here


    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement

    Recent

    - Advertisement