The Police Service Commission Is Mandated By The Constitution To Carry Out Police Recruitment In Nigeria

By Chief Onyemuche Nnamani

In strict adherence to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the last Plenary of the Police Service Commission held between the 11th and 13th of May 2022 approved the placement of advertisement in respect of the commencement of recruitment of Constables for the Nigeria Police.

Paragraph 30, Part 1 of the 3rd Schedule of the 1999 Constitution provides inter alia:

“The Commission shall have powers to:

(a) appoint persons to offices (other than the office of the Inspector-General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force, and (b) dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding any office referred to in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph.”

Also, the Court of Appeal in its judgement of 30th September 2020, in a case between the Commission and the Nigeria Police Force, reiterated the powers of the Commission to exercise absolute control over the recruitment of persons into the Nigeria Police Force. In the said matter, the appellate Court per Justice Peter Olabisi Ige gave the following sound pronouncements:

▪ His Lordships held that by the combined provisions of Section 153 subsection (1)(m), Section 153 subsection (2), and Section 215 subsection (1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and paragraph 30 part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution as well as Sections 6 and 24 of the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act, the Police Service Commission is the sole statutory body exclusively empowered and responsible for the appointment, promotion, dismissal and exercise of disciplinary control over persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force except for the appointment of the Inspector -General of Police.

▪ The learned jurists in the same matter also declared that any act or attempt by the Defendants in appointing, recruiting, and/or shortlisting for an 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 court thereafter issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants, jointly and 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 office of the Inspector-General of Police.

▪The court also went further to give an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants, jointly and severally, from interfering or further interfering in any manner howsoever with the Plaintiff’s discharge of its constitutional and statutory functions in respect of the appointment, promotion, dismissal, or exercise of disciplinary control over persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force other than the Inspector-General of Police.

It is imperative to restate that the above judgment of the Court of Appeal is the law today in Nigeria until it is reversed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. From the above Constitutional provisions and the judgment of the Court of Appeal, it is obvious and incontrovertible that the Police Service Commission is right and legally empowered to commence the process of the 2022 recruitment of Constables.

It is also proper to state that the recent placement of the advertisement calling for applications for recruitment into the Force was approved by the Plenary of the Commission; hence the decision cannot be overridden by any member of the Commission, including the Chairman.

It is also worthy of note and encouraging that the advertisement has continued to receive a massive response from Nigerian youths who are desirous of a career in the Nigeria Police Force. At the last check, over 40,000 applicants have successfully applied to be considered to serve their nation.

Curiously, the publication by the Nigeria Police Force and signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, did not make any single reference to any law backing the ill-advised publication. It cannot, therefore, constitute any impediment to the ongoing recruitment exercise.

Any publication that is not authorized by the Police Service Commission concerning the recruitment of Constables and Cadets for the Nigeria Police is not only illegal, null, and void, but will also be contemptuous of the Court of Appeal judgment as highlighted above.

I have published excerpts of the Court Judgment as a timely notice to all Members of the Public and top Government officials, including the Hon Minister of Police Affairs, the Inspector-General of Police, the Hon Attorney-General of the Federation, the Hon  Minister of Finance, and other Government officials, especially the Integrated Personnel Pay System (IPPS) office (who are allegedly capturing for payments, recruits unknown to the Commission) to be guided correctly.

I have done this in good faith as a notice to these officials and other members of the Public so that they don’t become liable or guilty of contempt of court which we all know can land offenders in jail.

I also respectfully appeal to Mr. President to call the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force to order so they don’t continue to undermine the nation’s laws which they are constitutionally mandated to protect and to save all of us the public ridicule and shame caused by the ‘show of force against a constitutional matter. There’s no gainsaying the fact that this is an unnecessary distraction for the Police who are supposed to be very busy (and overburdened) by the present spike in internal insecurity.

It is worrisome that at a time the nation is grappling with various forms of insecurity, occasioned by numerous non-state actors who have seemingly eroded the monopoly of the Nigerian state to bear legitimate weapons, one finds it strange that what is of utmost importance to the Management of the Nigeria Police at this time is the usurpation of powers of the Police Service Commission. With most of the countryside of Nigeria fast relapsing into ungoverned territories where the sovereignty of the Nigerian state is daily being challenged by all manner of criminals, and our cities, including the Federal Capital Territory under constant threat/attacks by criminals who come in different guises, one cannot believe that despite all these, some officers of the Nigeria Police are still contemplating engaging in the time-consuming exercise of recruitment, an exercise that is ultra vires to the powers of the Nigeria Police, and for which the Nigerian people are paying millions of naira monthly as salaries/remuneration for the staff of the Police Service Commission.

What the nation expects from all the participants in the Security Arms, especially the Nigeria Police, Police Service Commission, Ministry of Police Affairs, etc is the total restoration of Safety within the Nigerian State, and respect for the Laws of the Land.

Chief Onyemuche Nnamani, Honourable Commissioner, Police Service Commission, representing the Organized Private Sector and the South East Zone of Nigeria.

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