Police Recruitment : PSC And IGP Clash Of Interest

By Suleiman Umaru

For years there had been an unpronounced cold war between the Police Service Commission , PSC, and  the Nigerian Police Force, NPF.  This is because the NPF Authorities had involved itself with the recruitment of new personnel into the Force, regarded as the Constitutional responsibility of the PSC.  Past Chairmen of the Commission may have overlooked the action of the NPF Authorities  in  taking over  its Constitutional responsibility  of the Commission  to recruit new personnel into the Force, without  going through the  Commission to avoid washing their dirty linen in the public.

 Recall that the last time  the police had a clash of interest  with the PPSC was in 2010, during the Administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. The situation was so bad  that  that the matter was brought  before  Mohammed  Adoke, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN,  and then minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation in order for him   to resolve it  legally  but that was how they could go. A source in the ministry of Justice informed The Value News that Adoke could not stand his foot down as the country’s Chief Law Officer to give them the correct interpretation of the Law on the matter on who has  the powers to recruit into the Force.  

Many believe that If the minister had  adopted the interpretation  of Bayo Ojo,  a SAN and a one-time minister of Justice and the AGF,   on the matter, the crisis  could not have become a recurring decimal in the country.  The then minister of Justice and AGF,  was said to have written the Commission  stating that clearly  that the power  to recruit  into the Force  is their Constitutional responsibility.  It is not surprising why  security watchers believe that  the refusal of then Jonathan minister of Justice and AFC, to tell the NPF, that it is their duty to recruit   new personnel into the Force that may have given past and present IGPs powers to      go ahead and recruit new personnel  into the  Force.   

 Indeed, this may have encouraged Muhammed Abubakar  Adamu, the IGP,  to allegedly  recruit  10,000 Candidates  into the Constable cadre of the Force.  The list of the Candidates who were   scheduled  for training  after the recruitment  exercise  which had been released by the Force,  were said  to have been described  as an ’’ act of illegality  and a serious act of breach of breach of Federal Character by the Commission’’ .

Perhaps to  show  that the  NPF , has no powers to recruit new police personnel,  the Commission had  urged  the general public  to be ‘’wary of such  list flying about in police circles.’’ .  Smith, the PSC  Chairman, was  said to have made it clear to those that cares to listen that    the Commission  will soon resume  the  remaining stages  of the recruitment  process and release what  it described as the  ‘’authentic list of successful Candidates, local government by local government’’.

 The PSC hard line position on the  Police Recruitment Exercise,may have sent a signal to Adamu , the IGP, and his men, that it is no longer going to be business as usual  for any IGP, to take over  the Constitutional responsibilities of the PSC.

As a prelude to getting to stopping the excesses of the police, the Commission was said to have  dragged the IGP and the NPF, to Court  for  hijacking  its Constitutional powers  to recruit new personnel into the Force .This is where Abubakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, who  is incidentally the  minister  of Justice  and Attorney General of the Federation to step into the matter  to avoid creating a serious Constitutional crisis between the PSC and BPF  over Police recruitment.

Musiliu Smith: Chairman, PSC

Austin Braimoh, a member of the Commission,  representing the  media  Community, may have spoken the mind of the other members of the  Commission  when he  said that ‘’it is not the business of the Force  to recruit new police personnel’’, noting that ‘’ it is a Constitutional issue’’.  Given an insider information, he disclosed that  what the Force Authorities  had  cashed  on  the Police Regulations of 1945, which they claimed had not been repealed by the National Assembly.   

According to him, the PSC, derives its powers from the Police Council, PC, Headed  by  President Muhammadu Buhari  and  comprising of the 36 state governors  of the Federation. Note that it is the only the Council that has the Powers  to   recruit and  promote  police personnel  as well as  superintend  over the NPF,  but such powers were said to have been transferred to the Commission to handle since it was established.

Braimoh, who could not hide his feelings noted  that  with the establishment of the PSC,  the Police Authorities should have known that all the powers have been taken away., even from the Council.

The Media Representative in the PSC, alluded that the Commission  would not  on its own go ahead with  the recruitment of new personnel into the Force, without the approval of the Presidency. ‘’ We seek approval  from the Presidency  on the number of  Officers and Constables to be recruited   for  budgetary reasons’ based on the demand of the IGP  who need the men,’’’, he had said.

 Insiders told The Value News that  the Commission would not send such letters asking for approval for recruitment of  new personnel into the  Force  to the Presidency  without  the support of  IGP  to do so.

Mohammed Adamu: IGP

Security watchers believe that there ought not to be any  conflict of interest between  the PSC  the Force Authorities and the PSC, because there is  no way the IGP would  inform the Commission  that the police  are short of men  and the need  to apply to  the Presidency  for a certain number  of policemen both at the officers and Constable Cadre and  it would be ignored .

 Only recently, the Commission under the close watch of  of Musliu Smith, and who incidentally was a former IGP,  had  engaged the services of 6,000 Nigerians into the Force at various levels on orders of the Katsina state state born Nigerian President.. The recruitment exercise was said to have been done  in Collaboration with the Force Authorities. That much was  confirmed  by a top official of the Commission.  ‘‘When we get the Presidential approval based on the letter sent  to the Presidency  to recruit personnel into the Force’’, the official  said   the Commission  goes  the extra mile of inviting the IGP to join in drawing up the plan on how  the recruitment exercise  may be carried out.

Although, it is the Constitutional responsibility  of the Commission  to do it alone, but it has been jointly conducted    over the years  as  to avoid Complaints  of recruiting  the wrong Candidates into  the Force. The Constitution is clear on police recruitment:  ‘’The PSC shall appoint  Officers  into  the NPF  from Constables to DIGs’’.  It is only the IGP  that  may be appointed by the President, the Constitution says.

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