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Misau v Jimoh: Is the truth missing?

Roforofo fight: Senator Isa Misau goes toe-to-toe with Nigeria Police PRO

It was the day after Floyd Mayweather beat Conor McGregor in Las Vegas.  This time the fight was in Lagos and it was better value for money than the over-hyped bore-fest in Vegas.  In one corner was a former (or current or retired, the truth is out there somewhere) Deputy Superintendent of Police and current senator representing Bauchi Central Isa Misau (even his name is in dispute) and in the opposite corner was the police force’s public relations officer Moshood Jimoh.

The “ref” Seun Okinbaloye of Channels TV struggled to restrain them and would have been better served sitting between the two combatants.

The fight was over who was telling truth, Misau or the police, or none of the above, over what was first started by Misau, who claimed last week that the Inspector-General of Police  Ibrahim Idris was collecting 10bn naira ($27.7m) monthly for the deployment of over 50,000 policemen to oil companies, banks, and private individuals who made regular and unaccounted for payments to the police.

The police responded to these allegations, quicker than they usually respond to distress calls in Nigeria, by counter-claiming that Misau “deserted” the force and that they were looking for him.  Bringing both sides to the Channels TV ring was pure drama, but it was hard to discern who was telling the truth.

Watch the encounter below:

Responding to allegations of “deserting” the police force and a breach of contract, Misau said he gave notice of retirement from the force in December 2010, and was required to either serve out the three months notice period or pay a month’s salary and leave.  He produced letters showing his notice was acknowledged and his one month in lieu payment was received.  However, the letter confirming his retirement was dated in 2014.

Jimoh countered that Misau “deserted” the force in September 2010 after failing to attend a training course and subsequent posting.  The PRO said there were two pending disciplinary queries against the senator, who had contested and failed in an election in 2011 and won his seat in 2015.  When questioned why the police only decided to pursue this matter in the past few days, Jimoh claimed that Misau was known under a different name as a police officer –  Mohammed Isa Hamman.

Misau didn’t explain this discrepancy.  Instead he went on the attack, alleging that the police must have known who he was when Inspector-General Idris contacted him before facing a Senate panel over insecurity.  Misau claimed the police boss was “scared” to face the panel and wanted him to prevail on Senate colleagues to cancel the invitation.  Jimoh dismissed this as lies.

Police boss Ibrahim Idris allegedly running scared of a Senate panel

Jimoh also said that Misau should inform viewers how much bribes he paid to be posted as aide-de-camp to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister.  Misau came back with a claim about how then police boss Mike Okiro and others were leaning on him to acquire land in Abuja.  It is standard practice for FCT ministers to corruptly enrich themselves and cronies with prime land in the capital.  It is apparently clear from Misau’s testimony that the police protection for the ministers also have some influence in acquiring land.

Interestingly, the National Bureau of Statistics claimed in a report this month that the police and the judiciary had the highest rates of bribe-taking in the country.  The NBS report was silent about the National Assembly aka “legislooters”.  So when you have a situation of claims and counter-claims between a former police officer/current legislooter  and the police, it is a struggle deciding who the credible witness is, if any.

Jimoh said Misau didn’t prove his allegations beyond reasonable doubt.  That was an ignorant thing for a law enforcement officer to say.  Misau is not a prosecutor.  His allegations are serious and should be investigated.  It is during the course of such an investigation that evidence could be gathered by trained investigators that would help build a compelling case that could withstand the test of reasonable doubt in court.  The police PRO instead dismissed the allegations as stuff you hear in a “beer parlour”, asking Nigerians to disregard Misau as a lawbreaking deserter.  Misau hit back with a claim that two weeks ago police boss Idris put his name on a delegation to Morocco and bought the tickets for the trip.  Surely not the right way to treat an alleged deserter?

Okinbaloye seemed relieved when the contest was over.  It must have been his most difficult encounter with guests on the programme, as he struggled to keep order between two people that should know how to enforce the law.  That said, Jimoh seemed the more restrained of the two.  Although, viewers never came close to finding the truth, it was still pure entertainment and cheaper than Mayweather v McGregor was on pay-per-view.

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