Police constable recruitment: We followed due process, PSC insists

.. Challenges NPF to prove alleged irregularitie

The Police Service Commission has challenged the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to provide verifiable evidence to prove the allegations peddled against it concerning the recently concluded 2020 recruitment of 10,000 Constable into the Force.

The commission insisted 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 (CBT).

Blueprint reports that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, had rejected the list of successful  candidates published by the PSC citing alleged irregularities and corruption in the recruitment process.

The police boss, who acknowledged the power of the commission to recruit for the police as ruled by the Supreme Court, insisted that this power does not include the power to recruit unqualified personnel.

Responding to the allegations, the PSC in a press statement by the Head, Press and Public Relations, Ikechukwu Ani, on Friday in Abuja, described the allegation as a case of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

According to the statement, “PSC

has watched with keen interest developments since it concluded and released the list of successful candidates for recruitment as Constables into the NPF.

“The Commission is disturbed at the flagrant abuse of ethics, the Constitution and valid judgment of the apex court of the land.

The Commission wishes to state as follows; 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.

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

“The Commission has 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.

“That this 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.”

It further stated that, “The Commission has studied the issues around this successfully concluded recruitment exercise and has come to the conclusion that even after the Supreme Court Judgment, the Police is reluctant to allow the Commission perform this constitutional assignment.

“The Commission demands that the Police should provide verifiable evidence to prove the allegations peddled against it as it is obvious that it is a case of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

“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.

Supreme Court judgement

The commission nited that, “The Supreme Court Judgment delivered on July 11, 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 September 30, 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 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.”

Inclusiveness, transparency

According to the statement, “In this judgment, there was no role assigned to any person or persons outside the Commission in the conduct of recruitment and as such, any claim to that effect is serious contempt of Court.

“The Commission, however, in its wisdom, invited relevant stakeholders into a Board for the recruitment exercise to ensure inclusiveness and transparency. This magnanimity has since been misconstrued.

“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.”

PSC further stated that, “It is unfortunate that the Police has attributed its obvious failure to protect lives and properties, and safeguard our nation from banditry and terrorism to bad  recruitment. This claim is self indicting and provocative.

“Since 2019 when the Police forcefully snatched the exercise from the Commission, they have gone ahead against the provisions of the law to Superintendent over the 2020 and 2021 exercises. It is the fraudulent Recruits they brought into the system during these exercises that are currently haunting the Nigeria 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.”

Unfounded allegations

The commission maintained that, “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.

“The Commission wishes to appeal to Mr. President to protect it and rein in the Nigeria Police Force to respect the Constitutional Mandate of the Commission to recruit. The Nigeria Police Force is created to enforce the law and not to circumvent it in whatever guise.

“It is the considered opinion of the Commission  that the successful  candidates should be allowed to proceed on training without delay.”