Attempted takeover of PSC’s functions by IGP is disastrous -: says HURIWA

EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO'S COLUMN GENERAL NEWS

A leading pro-democracy and civil Rights advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to caution the inspector General of Police Alhaji Mohammed Adamu to stop his attempt to undermine the constitutional powers of the Police Service Commission (PSC).

The Rights group is also worried that the chairman and board members of PSC would need to find ways and means of further consolidating the constitutional powers of the commission for efficiency and effectiveness rather than watch helplessly as the IGP seeks to whittle down the powers, relevance and functions of the constitutionally recognized Police Service Commission (PSC) which by virtue of sections 153(1) and 154 (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended) makes PSC independent.

HURIWA said the needless controversies around the issue of proposed recruitment of police operatives in which case both the Inspector General of police and the PSC are fighting dirty, must be brought to an end by the clear directive of Mr. President to the IGP demanding that he respects the constitutional powers of the PSC.

“We are worried that the show of shame by the police authority in refusing to let the PSC discharge her statutory duties could have lasting damaging effects and the consequences of allowing the institution of the police service commission to be stifled by the Inspector General of police would mean that professional misconducts and indiscipline would rise in the nation’s policing institution”.

HURIWA stated that the drafters of the Nigerian constitution had created the Police Service Commission to serve as a check to the excesses of the officers and operatives of the Nigerian police force so as to maintain standards and ethical policing in Nigeria. 

The Rights group said the enabling legislation setting up the PSC states that (1) The Commission shall: (a) be responsible for the appointment and promotion of persons to offices (other than the office of the Inspector-General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force:

(b) dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons (other than the Inspector-General of Police) in the Nigerian Police Force;

(c) formulate policies and guidelines for the appointment, promotion, discipline and dismissal of officers of the Nigerian Police Force;

(d) Identify factors inhibiting or undermining discipline in the Nigeria Police Force;

(e) formulate and implement policies aimed at the efficiency and discipline to the Nigeria Police Force;

(f) perform such other functions which in the opinion of the Commission are required to ensure the optimal efficiency of the Nigeria Police Force; and

(g) carry out such other functions as the President may, from time to time, direct. And (2) The Commission shall not be subject to the direction, control or supervision of any other authority or person in performance of its functions other than as is prescribed in this Act.

HURIWA expressed consternation that inspite of the suspension of the recruitment of 10,000 constables by the Police Service Commission, the Nigeria Police Force proceeded to release the list of candidates who passed the aptitude test conducted for applicants.

HURIWA recalled that the exercise has been marred by tussle for control by the NPF and the Commission which had the statutory mandate to recruit, discipline and promote police officers in the force.

HURIWA quoted the media as stating that the release of the candidates’ list on Tuesday caught the Police Service Commission management by surprise.

HURIWA said: “It is shocking that the Commission Chairman, Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector-General of Police, was said to have been shocked by the decision of the IG, Mohammed Adamu, to release the list when they were yet to resolve the controversy surrounding the exercise. It must be restated that the Commission had last Friday announced the suspension of the exercise pending the resolution of the issues with the police management, but the IG while addressing security stakeholders meeting in Ibadan, Oyo State, on Tuesday, dismissed the reported suspension, insisting that the recruitment was ongoing.”

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