Police Recruitment: Flagrant Abuse Of Ethics, Constitution By IGP – PSC Says

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The Police Service Commission (PSC), on Friday, June 21, 2024, expressed serious concern at the flagrant abuse of ethics, the Constitution and valid judgement of the Supreme Court by the top hierarchy of the Nigeria Police Force over the recruitment of police constables.

This was as the PSC stressed that the show of brute force and intimidation by the Police and most recently inducements of hired writers to run down the Commission in the Media is a serious affront on the mandate of the Commission.

The Commission said it was unfortunate that the Nigeria Police attributed its obvious failure to protect lives and properties, and safeguard the nation from banditry and terrorism to bad recruitment.

The PSC noted that the Police claim is self-indicting and provocative, adding that since 2019 when the Police forcefully snatched the exercise from the Commission, the Police had gone ahead against the provisions of the law to superintendent over the 2020 and 2021 exercises, stressing that it was the fraudulent Recruits the police brought into the system during these exercises that are currently haunting the Force.

It also said that the release of the confidential letter sent to the Chairman of the Commission by the Inspector General of Police on alleged lapses in the recruitment exercise to the Media was a gross violation of the Public Service Rules with grave Consequences.

                                 

The Commission said since 2019, when a former Inspector General of Police hijacked the soft copy of an ongoing recruitment exercise and forcefully completed the exercise without the input of the Commission being the statutory body solely charged with such responsibility, the PSC has not been allowed to perform this constitutional duty.

It also said that it had at every turn suffered several indignities in its attempt to perform functions provided to it by the Constitution even after the Supreme Court decided the matter in its favour.

The Commission which stated these while reacting to developments since it concluded and released the list of successful candidates for recruitment as Constables into the Nigeria Police Force, said it studied the issues around the successfully concluded recruitment exercise and has came to the conclusion that even after the Supreme Court Judgment, the Nigeria Police Force is still reluctant to allow the Commission perform this constitutional assignment.

The PSC in a statement by Ikechukwu Ani, its Head, Press and Public Relations, challenged the Nigeria Police to provide verifiable evidence to prove the allegations peddled against it, stressing that it was obvious that it was a case of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

The PSC further said; “It is important to state that due process was meticulously followed throughout the exercise and the Commission wishes to assert its prerogative to exercise full control over recruitments into the Nigeria Police Force.

“The Commission is also insisting that its list of successful candidates and that of the Police should be subjected to a forensic audit using the result of the JAMB computer based test.

                                     

“The Supreme Court Judgment delivered on 11th July 2023 in the case of NPF & Ors v Police Service Commission & Anor (2023) – LPELR-60782(SC) reinforces the Commission’s “exclusive” statutory authority in the recruitment of Constables. The Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeal judgment delivered on the 30th September, 2020.

“The Appeal Court among other decisions gave an order of “Perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants, jointly or severally, by themselves or through Officers, agents or representatives or through any other body or appointee of the Federal Government of Nigeria from further exercising or purporting to exercise the powers to appoint, promote, dismiss or in any manner howsoever exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or aspiring to hold any office in the Nigeria Police Force other than the Inspector General of Police.

“It also gave an Order nullifying any act or attempt by the Defendants whether acting jointly or severally in appointing or purporting to appoint any person into 1st Defendant whether by means of enlistment, shortlisting, recognition recruitment or in any other manner howsoever, such act or attempt being ultra vires the functions and powers of the Defendants.

“It also gave a declaration “that any act or attempt by the Defendants in appointing, recruiting and/or shortlisting for appointment, persons aspiring to hold any office in the Nigeria Police Force except the Office of the Inspector-General of Police amounts to unlawful and unjustified usurpation of the exclusive constitutional and statutory functions and powers of the Plaintiff and accordingly null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.

The PSC explained that in the judgment, there was no role assigned to any person or persons outside the Commission in the conduct of recruitment, stressing that any claim to that effect is serious contempt of Court.

The Commission further said that in its wisdom, it invited relevant stakeholders into a Board for the recruitment exercise to ensure inclusiveness and transparency, saying that its magnanimity had since been misconstrued.

According to the PSC; “It is relevant to state that the judgment and even the Constitution did not give the Police any role in the recruitment of any cadre of Officers into the Police Force.

“The Commission is aware that this current brazen show of power by the Police with attendant spurious allegations is to perpetuate their stranglehold on the recruitment of Constables, even against the judgment of the Supreme Court.

“The assertion of recruiting persons who will commit suicide and who are deaf and dumb is uncharitable and preposterous. During recruitment exercises, the physical and medical screenings are handled by Police personnel, so if deaf and dumb persons and those with suicidal tendencies are recruited into the Force, then the Police personnel who screened and recommended them should be held responsible.

“The Commission is aware that all these distractions are calculated attempts by the Police to hold on, by all means, to the recruitment of Police Constables despite the Supreme Court Judgment,” it stressed.

The Commission therefore appeal to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to protect it and rein in the Nigeria Police Force to respect the constitutional mandate of the PSC to recruit, adding that the Nigeria Police Force is created to enforce the law and not to circumvent it in whatever guise.

The Commission insisted that the successful candidates should be allowed to proceed on training without delay.

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