By Lateef Adegbite
The era of internal rivalry between the Police Service Commission, PSC and the Leadership of the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, appears to be over. Solomon Arase, a former Inspector General of Police, IGP, who incidentally is a Lawyer, and now Chairman, of the PSC, may have given Usman Alkali Baba, the incumbent IGP, the confidence of ‘’building a new police force that will once again be attractive to Nigerian youth’’.
Unlike what obtains in the past where there was suspicions between the two Institutions, Arase, the PSC, Chairman, in the last two months was said to have tackled the sources of the friction and nipped then on the bud. He was said to have succeeded in creating’’ a cordial working relationship between the PSC and NPF management that they are now happy working together to achieve their respective mandates.
A police source told The Value News that this is the first time the two parties have agreed to work together to complement each other’s effort since the establishment of the PSC, in 2001, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration in 2001, instead of competing with each other to get the Nigeria’s President’s ear on police matters.
An elated Arase who could not hide his feelings had said that ‘’there is now respect on the clearly defined responsibilities of the two institutions’’, noting that they now operate with mutual respect and shared vision’’.The Act that had established the Commission was said to have made it clear from the onset that ‘’it shall be responsible for the appointment and promotion of police personnel to offices other than the office of the IGP’’, which falls within the exclusive powers of the President.
The Act was said to have also mandated it ‘’to dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over officers excluding the IGP, which can only be hired and fired by the President.This is in addition ‘’to formulating the policies and guidelines for the appointment, promotion , discipline and dismissal of officers’’ as well as ‘’identify the factors inhibiting or undermining discipline in the Force.
. The Commission ‘s Constitutional responsibility was said to have equally covered the implementation of policies aimed at promoting ‘’the efficiency and discipline of officers and other functions that the President may from time to time direct’’.
Note that past and the present IGP, have at different times had eroded the functions of the Commission in the area of recruitment of prsonnel, forcing the Commission to speak out unequivocally that ‘’the recruitment of officers from the rank of Constables, Inspectors to Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police remains one of its Constitutional responsibilities and not that of the NPF.
Recall that in 2021, Usman, the present IGP, had made preparations for the conduct and screening of Constables recruitment process which the Commission did not find funny as it was said to have cried out that ‘’it has never surrendered its mandate to the NPF, let alone contemplate it’’. It was not surmising why he has sent the Commission’s personnel to observe the Inspector’s recent promotion interviews., to prove that it is still in charge of Police promotions.
As a prelude to making the junior officers with Professional qualification happy, in the Force, the former IGP, was said to have vowed ‘’to look into the status of qualified Lawyers serving in the Force and appearing in the Courts with ‘’the ranks of Corporals, Sergeants and Inspectors’’. He did not stop there.
He was said to have also given his words to look at the cases of other junior Police officers who have acquired additional Certificates in other disciplines while in the service. He was emphatic that the officers will also receive ‘’the attention of the Commission’’ under his Leadership.
The PSC, Chairman, may have gladdened the heart of the ranks and file of the Force when he declared that with the attention that would be given to the junior officers with Professional qualifications or holding Certificates in other fields of study, noting that ‘’it will give them the required Confidence to perform better in the discharge of their duties’’.
Arase may have used the opportunity of the Leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Branch, , led by Afam Okeke, and who also doubles as the Chairman, Unity Bar, paid him a courtesy visit to speak out.
The NBA, Abuja Branch Chairman, who had led the delegation of Lawyers to the PSC, Chairman’s office was said to have raised alarm that officers who came into the Force on junior ranks but have improved their qualifications are currently appearing and NPF, cases in Court and still wearing the junior ranks’’, which was not too good enough for the image of the service.
The PSC, helmsman, may have been touched by the NBA, Chairman, Abuja branch , Complaint that he had given his words that the Commission may decide ‘’to send these categories of Police Lawyers and other junior officers with additional qualifications on a short service training after which they would be properly placed as officers’’.
Arase was said to have informed Okeke, the NBA, Abuja branch Chairman , that ‘’the Police needs the services of more Lawyers and therefore cannot discourage the few in the Force ‘’, stressing that ‘’the Commission will come out with a decision that will leave all the parties in a no win-win situation’’.
A no nonsense Arase may have won the heart of the NBA, Abuja Branch Leadeship, when he disclosed that the Commission is setting up a Compliant Monitoring Unit, CMU, to ensure that Police Complaints Response Units, promptly attends to public complaints.
He had said that the new Unit will be placed under his supervision ‘’ for effectiveness and efficiency’’. Ikechukwu Ani, the Commission’s spokesperson, may have spoken the mind of the PSC, Chairman, when he issued a statement that the Commission will henceforth ensure that ‘’it prevents a system that does not attend to public complaints’’.
Ani , the PSC, spokesperson, who had said that the PSC, Chairman, had assured the Abuja Branch of the NBA, that the Commission’s desire is ‘’to collaborate with them and organise some programmes on human rights that will expose its Lawyers to a better appreciation of their duties.
The NBA, Abuja Branch Chairman, and His delegations may have left Arase’s office filled with joy as he was said to have assured them of the participation of the Commission’s and its Lawyers in the Law Week of the Branch and its upcoming National Convention at the FCT.
Arase, on his own part, was said to have extracted a promise of support for his Administration from the NBA, Abuja branch. Vintage Arase.