He spoke while swearing in members of the Police Service Commission (PSC) at the Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja.
The President also identified lack of discipline and unworthy promotions as the main causes of the challenges facing military and para-military agencies in the country.
Jonathan charged the Commission to enforce discipline in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and ensure that only officers, who merit promotion, are elevated.
“I believe there are two things. One is the issue of discipline and the responsibility of the Police Service Commission is to instil discipline. Another thing I believe is that people who have no merit to certain ranks are being promoted to those ranks. One of your responsibilities is to handle promotion. I believe with you only, those who merit or deserve promotion should be promoted.
“Those who deserve to be disciplined or even dismissed must be disciplined. Few days back, I did approve the new Comptroller-General of Immigration. They brought the list of about six that were to be reviewed, some were sent from the ministry, some were picked from amongst the most senior. When we reviewed the six, from my intelligence investigation, most of them were supposed to have been dismissed. But those were the people that were being forwarded for appointment as Comptroller-General of Immigration. Among them, only one is qualified to even stay and serve, others ordinarily are supposed to be dismissed from their records.
“And I believe that the story of Immigration is the same with most of our services. I believe that is why the performance of some of our military and para-military officers is abysmal. Because the yardstick being used for promotion is not based on competence, merit and performance.”
“And that is one area I believe you will go into. People who are promoted to Assistant Police Commissioner and above must merit the rank. If you don’t merit the rank, you should be retired from the service because is better for you not to have enough manpower than for you to have viruses and all kinds of characters in the police force. One other thing that we believe is responsible is the command structure of the police, which I will also urge you to look into it”.
The new PSC Chairman, Mike Okiro, noted that Nigerian policemen perform better outside the country due to the better equipment and better environment they are exposed to.
He, however, added that his team will look at the extant laws and see the areas that the Commission is supposed to act to reform the Force.