Investigation by SaharaReporters has uncovered extensive illicit programs and financial deals at the Police Training School (PTS) in Ikeja, Lagos. Overseen by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kayode Egbetokun, the commandant of the PTS, the training school engages in improperly documented activities that bring a financial windfall to a few officers.
Mandated to train civilians as complementary law enforcement officers in Nigeria, the PTS runs two major programs, the recruit course and the refresher course. The recruit course is an entry training level training while the refresher course is the promotional training for graduates who had gone through the recruit course and want to attain the rank of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). Civilians who complete the training are tagged Supernumerary Police Officers (SPY), and they are often employed by private individuals or organizations as security guards or drivers.
In 2015, Mr. Egbetokun, who once served as the Chief Security Officer to former Governor Bola Tinubu, became the school’s commandant. Our investigation showed that, since assuming command of the school, Mr. Egbetokun had instituted and completed eight batches of recruit courses and three batches of refresher course without approval from the police headquarters in Abuja. Consequently, at least four hundred and forty trainees had graduated from the refresher course without receiving decoration. This is because the trainees’ batches were never approved hence their names were not sent to the headquarters for authorization to decorate them.
Our investigators learned that an unapproved batch of two hundred students was currently running the refresher course. Several sources, including police officers and trainees, told our investigator that the students had been compelled to pay an extra twenty thousand naira each. The sources said this extra charge would be used to lobby officers at the police headquarters in Abuja to authorize the decoration of the trainees.
Some of our sources questioned how Mr. Egbetokun would get the approval to decorate the students when he did not get authorization to run the course in the first instance.
A source told SaharaReporters that the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, upon his appointment, informed Mr. Egbetokun that he would no longer approve the PTS’s recruit course. Despite this warning, Mr. Egbetokun continued to roll out batches from the recruit course without approval.
“Many of the students have been coming to school to know when they will be decorated, but they are always told to remain patient,” one police source disclosed.
The Scam behind the Scheme
In order to undergo the recruit course, each trainee pays one hundred thousand naira as registration fee and forty-eight thousand naira for training kits. Also, each student enrolled in the refresher course pays one hundred and thirty-six thousand naira as registration fee and forty-eight thousand naira for kits. Often, the trainees’ employers pay the cost of training. Our correspondent learned that police headquarters, Abuja had fixed a registration fee of one hundred and twenty-six thousand naira for the refresher course, out of which PTS is supposed to deduct the running cost for the course and remit the balance. However, our investigation revealed that the training school consistently charged above the stipulated fee.
Two senior police sources in Lagos and Abuja told SaharaReporters that commandant Egbetokun has not remitted a single naira for the twelve batches of recruit and refresher courses he had ran. At the time of filing this report, SaharaReporters had not confirmed the number of people who had gone through the recruit course.
However, our investigation showed that more than one hundred and fifty million naira had been realized from registration fee and training kits for refresher trainees. Our sources said all that money remained unaccounted for.
Our correspondent also found that students were apparently overcharged for training kits. As a rule, each recruit is supposed to receive a pair of shoes, a pair of white socks, a white T-shirt and a pair of shorts. Our investigation found that PTS issued cheap, low quality shoes to the students. At Balogun market on Lagos Island, our correspondent found the exact pair of shoes issued to trainees on sale for N5, 500, socks at N200, T-shirts, which come in a pack of three, at N1, 500, and a pair of white shorts at N700. Added up, the gear issued to trainees would cost about N7, 900. Yet, PTS charges each trainee forty-eight thousand naira for the gear.
Bypassing Buhari’s TSA
Shortly after coming to office, President Muhammadu Buhari mandated the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), a policy that requires all government bodies and parastatals to deposit revenues at one Central Bank account.
Our investigation revealed that PTS had been flagrantly violating the TSA policy. The fees charged by the school are paid into the NFA Micro Finance Bank Plc., a police community bank. One Mr. Dada Idowu, a traffic warden, and Mr. Egbetokun act as the signatories to the account.
Several sources identified Mr. Idowu as a key member of an insider group used by Commandant Egbetokun to perpetuate his illicit financial activities.
Companies that enlist their employees for the training program are directed to pay into the microfinance bank while individuals are made to pay to the officer who recommended them for the training. The officers in turn remit the payment to Mr. Idowu.
SaharaReporters also learnt that Mr. Idowu plays a role in the procurement of the training kits. “He is the person who supplies the school with the training kit and the ceremonial wears given to the students at the completion of their program,” one source said.
How the cabal alters nominal roll
A police source in the college confirmed to SaharaReporters that the usual duration an officer stays in the college was two to three years, after which the officer is reassigned to another division. The source added that some members of the inside ring at the school had spent sixteen years in the division without transfer. “They do this by altering the date they were posted to the division on the staff nominal roll, each time there is a call for it,” said the source.
Our investigation revealed that Mr. Idowu had been in the division for more than sixteen years. Also, DSP Eburuaja Grace, who is an officer in charge of the SPY course, had spent more than five years in the division. Another member of the ring, ASP Jesyca Gobum, who is in charge of works and medicals, has been at the post since she was a corporal.
Commandant Denies the Allegations
SaharaReporters confronted Commandant Egbetokun with the allegations against him and his cohorts. He admitted that some trainees had not been decorated, but insisted they would be decorated as soon as the process for securing approval was completed. He also denied being aware of any illicit fees being collected from trainees, adding that there was no separate account apart from the school’s central account.
Mr. Egbetokun said he did not know how long Mr. Idowu had been in the school, but assured that Mr. Idowu would be transferred whenever his transfer came due. He stated that he met Mr. Idowu in the school and that the officer serves as the officer in charge of the squad unit.
The commandant boasted that he was committed to fighting corruption in the school and in Lagos State as a whole. “Since I resumed duty in this school, I have been fighting corruption.
I am very straightforward in my dealings with my students. It is widely known that corruption will always fight back. I know the people who are behind all these malicious allegations against me. This is a way to discredit me,” he said.
DSP Eburuaja and ASP Jesyca could not be reached for their reactions to this report.
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