By Elizabeth Chukwuma
The Police Service Commission, PSC, under the chairmanship of Musiliu Smith, a former Inspector Geneal of Police, IGP, appears to have shot itself on the leg. The PSC had dragged Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, to Court over the alleged recruitment of Constables into the Police Force. The Commission was said to have approached the Court seeking pronouncement that the IGP went beyond his statutory powers to delve into PSC area of responsibility.
The Smith led PSC had said that the only body Constitutionally charged with enlistment of the rank and file, popular, Constables into the Nigeria Police Force, NPF. The Commission was said to have done everything within its powers to rubbish the recruitment of the Police Constable exercise handled by the Police Authorities under the close watch of the IGP, who believes that he had acted within the ambit of the Police Statutory powers,
The Commission was said to have advised all the Candidates who had participated in the Adamu organised recruitment exercise up to the aptitude test , to ignore any list or information on the exercise emanating outside the PSC.
It was said to have made it clear to those that cares to listen that ‘’it is the Constitutional responsibility of the Commission to recruit qualified Nigerians into the Force either as Constables, Cadet Inspectors or Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASPs.
Note that the Commission had vowed to resist any attempt to ‘’ambush the ongoing recruitment exercise or dilute its content. The Police Authorities may have ignored the PSC, warning over the recruitment exercise as it quickly released the list of the Constables for training.
Worried that the IGP, did take its warning serious to withdraw the purported of Constables that had had been released by the police Authorities for training, the Commission dragged the IGP to Court over the alleged hijack of its powers to recruit into the Force.
The IGP had allowed the PSC to do their worst as he maintained a sealed lips on the police Authorities recruitment of the 10,000 Constables to avoid open confrontation with the PSC officials.. Abubakar Malami , a senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN. And minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation may not have seen anything bad in what the Police Authorities had done. The Attorney General , in a counter affidavit allegedly filed at a Federal High Court in Abuja in response to the PSC suit challenging the police Authorities recruitment of the 10,000 Constables had said that’’ nullifying the recruitment exercise will amount to economic loss to the country’’.
The minister, who was joined in the suit as a defendant, was reported to have said that ‘’ millions of naira had been budged and spent on the police recruitment exercise which had gone through significant stages in filtering qualified persons for recruitment’’. He was said to have asked the Court to disregard tit.
The minister, who is the country’s Chef Law maker, may have made matters worse for the Smith led Commission he noted that ‘’only the Force has the power to recruit new officers, while the Commission can only appoint from officers already in the Force. The ministerial clarification on the PSC and the IGP , dispute, over enlistment of fresh Constables into the Force may have dampened the Commission’s hope of winning the Case in Court. The fallout was that the Commission lost the Case challenging the powers of the IGP ,to recruit Police Constables at the Abuja High Court.
In delivering judgment in the PSC ,suit against the IGP, on Monday, December, 2, 2019, the, Justice Inyang Ekwo, the presiding Judge of the Court h ruled that that ‘’suit lack merit’’.
The Judge was said to have cited section 71 of the Nigeria Police Service Regulations which gave it powers to ‘’recruit Constables to the Police . The Judge was said to made it clear that the Commission by its enabling law could only appoint Constables after the enlistment exercise carried out by the Police Authorities.
Justice Ekwo , may have sealed the hope of the PSC , when he held that the Civil Service Rules cited by the PSC, in defining the meaning of ‘’appointment ;; to include ‘’recruitment did not apply to the Force. He noted that contrary to the Commission’s claim that the Force and the IGP are attempting to usurp its powers to recruit Constables into the Police, ‘’it was the PSC, that was attempting to usurp the powers of the NPF and the IGP’’. The Judgment maintained that the Police Council under the control of the IGP was the only Statutory body empowered to carry out the enlistment of Constables into the Police.
President Muhammadu Buhari was said to have met with the Smith, Smith. the PSC ,Chairman and Adamu, , the IGP , last September to resolve the Conflict of interest between the duo but that was how , he could go. The intervention of Malami, the minister of Justice on the PSC and the IGP, conflict and throwing his weight behind the police boss to recruit
Security watchers believe that if the PSC had not gone to Court to Challenge the IGP on the enlistment of the 10,000 Police Constables , the Police Authorities , would have carried it along in the exercise. Security watchers, believe that that by losing the Case in Court, the PSC, has played into the hand of the IGP, to take certain decisions without seeking approval of the Commission , hiding under the cover of the Police Council.
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