By Suleiman Umaru
More facts have emerged why Musiliu Smith, a former Inspector General of Police, IGP, led Police Service Commission, PSC, bent backwards, to approve the list of the 10,000 police Constables recruited by the Mohammed Adamu led Nigerian Police Force, NPF, in 2019.
This is because of the enormous resource that had been spent by the Force in training the police Constables who had been exposed to weapons and weaponry handling. More so, the PSC members may have felt that disapproving the list may not be in the interest of the nation now because of the high level of insecurity in the country.
The activities of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BkoHaram ,in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno, Yobe and banditry in north western states of Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, President Muhammadu home state as well as the activities of kidnappers in different parts of the country, particular, in the north, speak volume.
Note that there had been a conflict of interest between the Police Commission and the office of the IGP, over the 2019 recruit exercise. The Smith led PSC had refused to take it from Adamu, the IGP, for delving into a matter that was purely the Constitutional responsibility of the Commission.
‘’It is not the business of the Police to recruit. It is a Constitutional issue’’, a former member of the Commission told The Value News. Security experts believe that the Adamu led Force , may have cashed on the Police Regulations of 1945, which had not been repealed by the National Assembly , both past and present to do so.
Many believe that the IGP, may have usurped the powers of the PSC, to recruit the Police Constables into the Force, because he has the ears of the President, who he believes would always support his actions. He was said to have applied to the Presidency for a certain number of policemen to be recruited and got the approval. This may have given the audacity to go ahead with the recruit exercise without sending the approval letter to the Commission who would then with him ‘’ to plan on how the recruitment would be carried out. It was not done.
It is instructive to note that the PSC, initially derives its powers from the Nigerian Police Council, PSC, under the office of the President. At Present, Buhari, the Katsina state born Nigerian President is the Chairman., with the governors of the 36 states of the Federation and the minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, as members.
Until the bill setting up the Commission was approved by the National Assembly and signed into Law by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2001, the Commission derives its powers from the Council ‘’to recruit and promote Police personnel to their various ranks and also to superintend over the Police. All such powers were said to have been transferred to itwith the promulgation of the Police PSCAct into Law in 2001 by Obasanjo.
Perhaps, to avoid a repeat of a future IGP, doing what Adamu , the current IGP , had done, to recruit Police Constables withot the consent the consent of the Commission, the PSC, had dragged him and the Force to Court for proper interpretation of the Police Act and for the parties to know where their powers stopped. Between 2019 and much of 2020, the PSC and the office of the IGP and the Force had been in and out of Court over the matter.
Ikechukwu Ani, the PSC spokesperson noted that’’ even after the Court of Appeal had given Judgment in favour of the Commission nullifying the hijack of the recruitment exercise by the Adamu led NPF, it still went ahead to approve and screen the list of the 10,000 supposedly successful Candidates sent to it by the office of the IGP’’. He explained that the Commission has the powers to reject the list and call for a fresh recruitment because the Apeal Court Judgment which is ‘’still subsisting and had declared the Adamu recruitment exercise’’ null and void and returned the Constitutional Powers of recruit persons into the Force to the Commission’’.
Given an insider information of the screening exercise that was conducted for the 10,000 persons that scaled through the Force recruitment exercise, Ani disclosed that the Commission discovered that 925 of them never applied for recruitment , and thus ’’did not go through the stages and processes of recruitment which included screening, aptitude test and medical examinations’’.
This may have fueled the speculations making the rounds that the 925 additional names found on the list of the successful Candidates may have been smuggled into it by some power brokers in the Force who has the ears of the IGP.
The PSC spokesperson may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he said that the Force recruited Constables had been’’ screened but those found to be Criminally minded with mutilated Certificates were not lucky as they were not absorbed into the Force but sent back home’’.
He stressed that the Commission at its plenary holding next week will finally’’ approve the list of the successful Police Constables recruited by the Force and then, issue them their letters of appointment and subsequently captured into the Integrated Pay-Roll and Information System, IPPIS, of the Police for the Payment of their monthly salaries and allowances’’.
There had been news making the rounds that the Commission is withholding the payment of the newly recruited Police Constable salaries and allowances. The news which was said to have emanated from the Force, may have forced the Commission to speak out.
‘’The Commission is not withholding the Payment of the salaries and allowances of any Police Constable properly recruited in 2019’’, Ani had said. This is a good news for the Police Constables who had been waiting anxiously since 2019 to be paid.
The PSC revelation, according to insiders would also end the squabbles between the Commission and the office of the IGP , on the matter.