In a sweeping move, President Bola Tinubu has ousted Solomon Arase, the chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), following a damning petition by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

The petition accused Arase of engaging in corrupt practices during his tenure as Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and abusing his authority as the PSC chairman.

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Responding swiftly, President Tinubu appointed Hashimu Argungu as the new PSC chairman, despite the Commission’s Act mandating a four-year term for the position. This unexpected change took place just two years into Arase’s tenure.

According to a statement released by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, the appointments of DIG Hashimu Argungu (Rtd) as chairman, Chief Onyemuche Nnamani as Secretary, and DIG Taiwo Lakanu (Rtd) as a member of the commission are subject to confirmation by the Senate.

The ICIR’s investigation into Arase’s alleged wrongdoings revealed a web of corruption, implicating him and another former IGP, Ibrahim Idris, in receiving lucrative house allocations as incentives for awarding a contract to Copran International Limited. These allocations were meant for police barracks but were diverted for personal gain.

In a disturbing turn of events, the ICIR’s exposé led to the harassment of its staff members by Arase and the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrimes Centre (NPF-NCCC). ICIR’s Executive Director and the reporter involved in the investigation were subjected to a grueling nine-hour detention during their questioning.

In their petition to the President, the ICIR highlighted the police’s biased approach, protecting Arase and the implicated contractor, Andy Chime, instead of conducting a thorough investigation and recovering the misappropriated property.

The ICIR also raised concerns about the NPF-NCCC’s undue focus on extracting information about the ICIR’s sources and evidence against Arase, rather than addressing the accusations made by Chime.

Moreover, the ICIR revealed the NPF-NCCC Director’s attempt to coerce the journalists into surrendering their investigative evidence, which is vital for their defense in a case initiated by Arase. The ICIR expressed concern over the NPF-NCCC’s actions, emphasizing their disregard for due process and the rights of journalists.