A Statement By The Pro-Democracy And Leading Civil Rights Advocacy Group; Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) On The Embarrassing Controversy Trailing The Recruitment Of 10, 000 Constables And The Unprecedented Legal Crisis Tearing Apart The Police Service Commission And The Nigerian Police Force, Urging The President; His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) To Call The Two Departments Under His Office To Order For The Sake Of The Integrity And Respect Of The Authority Of The President Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria
The disturbing and embarrassing altercations tearing apart the Police Service Commission and office of the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu the head of the Nigerian Police Force has seen for the first time two departments under the Presidency engaging in bitter court cases leading up to a landmark decision by the Court of Appeal interpreting that the Constitutional powers of the Police Service Commission is primarily to appoint persons into the Nigeria Police Force and setting aside an earlier Federal High Court ruling to the contrary.
The matter, which both sides have been trying to stop from boiling over into the public space, has to do with the recent recruitment of 10,000 police constables in response to a presidential directive but, so far, it has remained inconclusive.
More embarrassing is the decision of the Inspector General of Police to further waste public fund on appeal to the Supreme Court, apparently backed by the controversial Attorney General of the Federation of Nigeria who in the first place seems to have instigated the IGP’s stubbornness to chase shadows by further plotting to fritter scarce police resources on Appeal against a profound verdict of the Court of Appeal.
Undoubtedly, the Police Force, being an institution established by the Constitution is supposed to protect that Constitution and discharge its duties under it, but we recall that the IGP in disobedience of the Court of Appeal had sent a letter to the Police Service Commission saying the Court of Appeal decision will not be respected. This is an issue of willful disobedience of lawful order of Court made in line with section 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The fact that the President of Nigeria controls the police Inspector General of Police constitutionally and the Police Service Commission reports to the office of the President who is the appointing authority of both the Police Service Commission and the Inspector General of Police shows the President’s clear leadership incapacity and weakness to control just two departments under his office leading to bitter public spat and legal conflict that has dragged on for months and is costing the public multimillion Naira funds in legal fees and other logistics. Neither the Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu nor the PSV headed by ex IGP Musiliu Smith is using the internal legal departments of those institutions but have dolled out millions of cash as lawful legal fees to private legal practitioners led by Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
Our Recommendations And Position
The Police Service Commission and Nigerian Police Force are two government agencies that are under the Presidency. It is obvious that it is a case of fact that the Commission is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of appointments or recruitments.
According to the appellate court, the word “appointment” used in the Constitution with respect to the powers conferred on the Police Service Commission included “the power of recruitment and or enlistment of recruit constables.”
The appellate Court also in its judgement stated that the police regulation and or provisions of the Police Act, which purportedly vested the Inspector General of Police the power of recruiting constables “are null and void being in conflict with the constitutional powers vested in the Police Service Commission.”
So, whether one calls it appointment or recruitment, it is the same thing, because the public service rules clarify it and the Police Force is a public agency that is under the rules.
Again, whether it is selection or filling of vacancies or appointment of persons who are not already in the system is what the public service rules say about recruitment.
Therefore, there is no doubt that it is the responsibility of the Commission to recruit and the Appellate Court has interpreted this. So there is no need to further waste public funds by two agencies of government fighting meaningless contestation for superiority to protect or safeguard their respective turfs.
As a matter of fact, the top echelon of the Nigerian Police and the Police Service Commission should tell Nigerians how much of the Public funds are being funneled to procure private legal services and why the use of private legal services costing a lot of cash just as the matter in the first place is a meaningless contestation for superiority between the Inspector General of Police and Police Service Commission on a straight forward matter as recruitment.
The Police Service Commission was created by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as an oversight body on the Police, in terms of appointments (which has been interpreted by the Court of Appeal to include the power of recruitment and or enlistment of recruit constables), promotions and exercising disciplinary control on members of the Nigerian Police Force, except the Inspector General of Police.
On the other hand, the Nigerian Police Force is under the general operational and administrative control of an Inspector General (IGP) appointed by the president and whose responsibility is for the maintenance of law and order.
Therefore, there is no need to further extend the quarrel between the Inspector General of Police and the Police Service Commission. Hence we urge the President; His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari(GCFR) to call the two departments to order for the sake of his credibility and the preservation of the integrity of the Office of the President of Nigeria unless respect to the authority of the president of Nigeria means nothing to the President in which case the National Assembly and the National Police Council and Council of State should save Nigeria from this international show of shame and the consequential opprobrium the meaningless litigation brings to corporate Nigeria in the comity of nations.
COMRADE EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO:
MISS. ZAINAB YUSUF:
Director, National Media Affairs.
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
6th October 2020.