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Uncooperative officers blocking Met reform, says ex-superintendent




Uncooperative officers blocking Met reform, says ex-superintendent

The Metropolitan police shelved plans to reform its unit dedicated to protecting politicians and diplomats because of “resistant and uncooperative” officers, according to a former superintendent who was the force’s most senior woman of colour.

Nusrit Mehtab, who resigned in January last year, said the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command (PADP), where Sarah Everard’s killer, Wayne Couzens, once served, was “very male-dominated” and ripe for reform. The Met had had a chance to “put things right and they didn’t”, she added.

Mehtab is suing the Met alleging that a hostile and racist work environment forced her to leave. She claims the force harbours a culture that “enables and endorses people like [Wayne] Couzens to flourish”.

On Friday the Met announced that Louise Casey would lead a wholesale review of the Met in an effort to rebuild public trust, which will include a specific “in-depth, searching and rigorous review focused on PADP”.

Mehtab, who in a 30-year career at Scotland Yard worked in units including counter-terrorism, said her attempts at changing the PADP had been stymied.

“Only a few years ago I was going to be involved in bringing change to that command, but the officers were so resistant and so uncooperative that that reform couldn’t go ahead at that time,” she said. “The commissioner hasn’t had the appetite for cultural change and that’s why we’re here.”

According to a “senior Home Office source” quoted in the Sunday Times, the home secretary, Priti Patel, has grown frustrated with the Met’s “culture of defensiveness” since Everard’s murder.

Mehtab said much of the criticism of the Met this year described the “very things that I’ve been saying and the Black and Asian communities have been saying for decades, but we weren’t believed and we were vilified”.

She said the commissioner, Cressida Dick, had “created a culture of institutional denial” and should go. Mehtab also said the separate public inquiry announced by Patel last Tuesday should look at specialist units including the PADP.

“Some of the officers on these units have been on there for decades. And then [senior management] will say ‘you know what, they’re so specialised that we need to keep them there’. So they’ve become very entrenched in their ways and actually they move around that unit and they get promoted in-house. So there isn’t that scope to bring in new thinking.”

A security review of the PADP took place after the Westminster terror attack in 2017 when five people were killed, including PC Keith Palmer. A coroner ruled that the officer’s death could have been prevented were it not for “shortcomings in the security system”.

Mehtab said the internal Met review and the inquiry should scrutinise the “invisible canteen culture” of WhatsApp groups such as the one including Couzens that allegedly shared misogynistic and racist messages. She also said social media accounts, such as the network of Facebook and Twitter accounts held by anonymous retired or serving officers, should be looked at.

Citing the Macpherson report published in 1999, which identified a canteen culture that contributed towards the Met’s institutional racism, Mehtab said “racism and sexism has never gone away”.

“That culture has not been eliminated, it’s just been eroded, and it’s developed into a different form. It’s not the physical canteen any more, but an online one. It’s horrendous what they get away with, including abusing members of the public,” she said.

“Recruits are warned about WhatsApp messages when they first join and given a talk on professional standards.” However, she said she was not surprised to learn that Couzens was in a WhatsApp group with other officers who allegedly shared inappropriate material, referencing the Met police officers who allegedly took photos of the dead bodies of Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, and shared them on a private WhatsApp group.

An officer removed from duty guarding search cordons during Everard’s murder investigation is alleged to have sent an offensive graphic to colleagues on a WhatsApp group.

“There’s a culture that enables and endorses these people. It is a minority of officers, for sure, but they are protected by the majority because the Met creates an environment where they are enabled and endorsed and people like Couzens can flourish,” Mehtab said.

Since details emerged of how Couzens used his warrant card and police-issued handcuffs to get Everard into a car before raping and killing her, some anonymous social media accounts purporting to be serving police officers have defended the force’s reputation against what they feel is a media onslaught. Mehtab said these accounts had left some of her female former colleagues “horrified”.

“Don’t forget, they’re women who have to work with these men. The processes and systems in place to report misogynistic behaviour are not fit for purpose – they work on paper, but in reality female officers are not believed or supported.”

A spokesperson for the Met said the force had “done more than almost any other organisation to ensure that racism isn’t tolerated”. They said it was not the same force as it was 20–25 years ago, although “like all big organisations we know we can’t be complacent”.

A Met statement said: “The commissioner recognises that the murder of Sarah Everard has severely damaged public confidence … and that trust will be further diminished by the news of another officer charged with rape.”

It said policing was “complex and challenging”, and added: “Where we get it wrong we welcome scrutiny and where there are complaints we take these incredibly seriously and expect to be held to account for our actions, including through independent investigations by the Independent Office for Police Conduct. We have a clear set of values for staff and the code of ethics reinforces the standards of behaviour expected.”

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Reps To Investigate Subsidy Regime From 2017 To 2021



Reps To Investigate Subsidy Regime From 2017 To 2021

The House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the petroleum products subsidy regime from 2017 to 2021.

The resolution followed a motion by Honourable Sergius Ogun who stated that component costs in the petroleum products subsidy value chain claimed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is highly over-bloated while the transfer pump price per litre, used by the NNPC in relation to Petroleum Pipeline Marketing Company (PPMC), is underquoted.

The lawmaker described this as fraudulent while also expressing worry that the subsidy regime has been used by the NNPC and other critical stakeholders to subvert the nation’s crude oil revenue to the tune of over $10 billion.

The committee is to report back to the House within eight weeks for further legislative action.

Wednesday’s move by the lawmaker came on the same day that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mele Kyari ruled out the possibility of a subsidy for diesel.

He made the comments while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Downstream, alongside the CEO of Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Farouk Ahmed, among others.

“In our country today, we do not produce AGO and we regret that our refineries are not working,” he said. “Are we doing anything about it? Yes. I have heard the honourable members lamenting; yes, they (the refineries) are not working.

“This is the truth. I don’t want to bore you with why they are not working, but they are not working; I admit they are not working but we regret it. I will invite this committee at your convenience to join us to see how much work we have done to get them back to work, but they will not come back tomorrow.

“They will not! You cannot start it tomorrow. We regret this; we regret this situation, and we are doing everything possible. As a matter of fact, we have decided to do a quick fix for the Warri refinery. The reason is very simple: we don’t even want to go the long route of doing comprehensive turnaround maintenance because we are concerned.”


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2023: Presidency Must Return To Southern Nigeria, Fayose Insists



2023: Presidency Must Return To Southern Nigeria, Fayose Insists

A former governor of Ekiti State Ayodele Fayose has insisted that the southern part of Nigeria must produce the country’s president in 2023.

Fayose, a two-time governor under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said this in a series of tweets on his official handle on Wednesday, pinning his argument on the party’s constitution.

“The PDP Constitution provides for a rotational Presidency. Section 3(c) provides that the Party shall pursue its aims & objectives by “adhering to the policy of the rotation & zoning of Party & Public elective offices in pursuance of the principle of equity, justice, and fairness’,” Fayose maintained.

“The current President of Nigeria is a 2-term Northern Presidency, thus implying that it MUST be a Southern Presidency in 2023 or NOTHING. Awa ‘South’ lo kan’. Nigerians should await details soon.”

Fayose, who contested the PDP presidential primary, lost out to former Vice President Atiku Abukar in the exercise held earlier this month.

He has been one of the strong advocates for a power shift to southern Nigeria despite the party Atiku from the northern region, as the party’s flagbearer.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, who also lost in the exercise, had campaigned, among others, based on a power shift to the south.

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), however, is fielding a southerner – Bola Tinubu – as its presidential candidate to honour the power-sharing deal called zoning between the north and south.

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Senate confirms Buhari’s ministerial nominees



Senate confirms Buhari’s ministerial nominees

The senate has confirmed seven persons nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari for ministerial positions.

The upper legislative chamber confirmed the nominees on Wednesday after they were screened by the “committee of the whole” chaired by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

The ministers-designate will replace those who resigned to pursue political bids.

Rotimi Amaechi, Ogbonnaya Onu, Godswill Akpabio and Emeka Nwajiuba are some of the ministers who resigned to pursue presidential bids.

The ministers confirmed on Wednesday are Henry Ikoh (Abia), Umana Okon Umana (Akwa Ibom), Ekuma Joseph (Ebonyi), Goodluck Nana Obia (Imo), Umar Ibrahim Yakub (Kano), Ademola Adewole Adegorioye (Ondo), and Odo Udi (Rivers).

During screening, Ikoh said as a way of tackling employment in the country, “technical” graduates can be job creators.

“On the unemployment situation, we need more technical graduates to do most of the things we are doing right now. If you are a technical graduate, you can employ yourself and employ others,” he said.

On his part, Umana said the country could boost its foreign exchange earnings with its free trade zones.

“On the issue of how to boost foreign exchange, I want to say that even the free zones platform is a veritable platform for this,” he said.

“The free zone is a platform that can drive production because when you produce for export, you earn foreign exchange.”

Nakama said the federal government must be ready to make some compromise to end the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

“On tackling the issue of ASUU, my answer is that there will be leave of compromise. Government and ASUU will have to come to a compromise and through this, we will able to solve these incessant strikes once and for all,” he said.

The remaining four nominees were asked to “take a bow and go” on the grounds of their experience.

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