Police recruitment deepens PSC, IGP crisis, Commission workers’ union wants Egbetokun sacked, expert seeks probe 

 

The row over the recent police recruitment deepened Wednesday  with workers in the Police Service Commission (PSC) faulting the position of the Inspector General of Police Kayode Egbetokun, and also accusing him of misrepresentation.

The specifically claimed Egbetokun misled President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and therefore demanded his immediate sack.

…IGP’s position

The IGP, had, Saturday, alleged the process was characterised by corruption and other irregularities, and therefore rejected the outcome of the recruitment process.

Egbetokun had said: “Upon careful scrutiny of the list released on the PSC portal, it was discovered that several names of persons purported to be names of successful candidates are those who did not even apply and therefore did not take part in the recruitment exercise.

“The published list contains several names of candidates who failed either the Computer Based Test (CBT) or the physical screening exercise or both.

“There are those who made it to the last stage of the exercise but were disqualified having been found medically unfit through the standardised medical test but who also made the list of successful candidates as published by the PSC.

“Most worrisome is the allegation of financial dealings and corrupt practices leading to the outcome where unqualified and untrainable individuals have been shortlisted.”

“The Inspector General of Police had on 10th June 2024 written a letter of objection to the list addressed to the Chairman of the Commission, citing the discoveries listed above.

“The reaction of the IGP was without prejudice to the power of the Commission to recruit for the police as ruled by the Supreme Court but this power does not include the power to recruit unqualified and untrained individuals for the police. Noting that it is the police that bear the brunt of recruitment of unqualified individuals and not the PSC. The same people who recruited anyhow for the police today will turn round to accuse the police tomorrow of inefficiency when their recruits start messing up.

“The Police therefore has since dissociated itself from the published list and called for a review that will be transparent and credible,” the FHQ further added.

..You goofed – PSC workers

But faulting the IGP’s position at a news conference Wednesday in Abuja, Chairman, Joint Union Congress of the Police Service Commission, Adoyi Augustine Adoyi, said the police boss was misleading President Tinubu and therefore called for his sack.

The union made the position known in a statement titled: “Re: “Police Confirms 2022 Constable Recruitment Process Marred with Irregularities, Alleged Corruption.”

They said:  “We begin this press conference with a clarion call on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu to immediately, to relieve the IGP, Kayode Egbetokun of his appointment as IGP.

“Our concern comes from the fact that a public officer who misleads the president is causing confusion in the country and may lead to chaos which is antithetical to his duty as a police officer.

“His attitude has become only a replica of the biblical Haman who in deceiving his principal wanted to wipe out an entire nation but for the timely intervention of God. So we call on the president to responsibly relieve him of his duties for the following reasons.”

The statement said: “The attention of the Joint Union of the Staff of the Police Service Commission has been drawn to a Press Release with reference number CZ.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.6/178, dated June 15, 2024 and signed by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), on behalf of the Inspector General of Police. The said Press Statement is not only in bad state but diversionary.

“It is sad to note that despite the unambiguity in the powers of the Police Service Commission (PSC) as clearly spelt out by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the subsequent interpretation of such powers by the Supreme Court, the Nigeria Police Force will still not allow the Commission exercise its Constitutional powers to appoint persons into the Nigeria Police Force.

“This clandestine scheming by the Inspector General of Police to usurp such powers is obviously an affront on both the Nigerian Constitution and judgment of the Supreme Court. The Commission is at a loss why it is only during recruitment exercises that Police confrontation manifests suggesting obvious hidden interests and corrupt tendencies.

“To address the issues raised by the FPRO in the above release, it is worthy of note that after the Commission got judgement from the Supreme Court on the 11th of July, 2023 re-affirming it’s powers to amongst other things, appoint qualified Nigerians into the Police Force as stipulated in the “paragraph 30 Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the Nigerian Constitution.

It stipulates: ‘The Commission shall have power to (a) appoint persons to offices (other than the office of the Inspector-General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force’.

“The Commission to ensure inclusiveness constituted a Recruitment Board comprising of a Commissioner from the Police Service (PSC) as Chairman, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Development and Training Department as Co-Chairman/Deputy Chairman, CP Hassan Yabanet representing Police Training Colleges (NPF), Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Olabode Akinbamilowo as Secretary to the Board amongst others.

“The Board had representatives from virtually all the stakeholders in the Police Sector such as The Commission, the Police, Ministry of Police Affairs, Federal Character Commission, the Police Colleges and the Police Trust Fund.

“The claim that the Recruitment Board was crippled and was not allowed to function, was no doubt a fallacy as the Board severally met before the release of the list of successful candidates.

“The same Board met and endorsed the list that was released on the 4th of June, 2024 at their usual meeting point, PSC Corporate Headquarters, with the DIG Training, Mr Frank Mba and other Police representatives in attendance.

“Meanwhile, it is also worthy of note that the Police had shortlisted and concluded the exercise without the knowledge of the Board and PSC.

“They had the effrontery to submit the list to the Commission. They wanted a meeting of the Board where they had planned to force the list on the Board but unfortunately their plans collapsed.

“For example, this takes us back to 2019 when the then IGP hijacked the list of candidates of the smooth on-going recruitment exercise from the Commission in the guise of having the list to prepare the training colleges for the training purposes and ended up smuggling hundreds of names of persons who neither applied nor participated in the screening process.

“A case in study is Nasarawa State with 13 Local Government Areas that is supposed to have had 253 successful candidates but ended up having 528 after the NPF had sneaked 275 candidates in excess.

“That culminated into the Commission instituting a legal action against the NPF over our mandate.”

…Makes demands

“Our position, however, is as follows: ‘The Commission demands a forensic audit of the Joint And Matriculation Board Computer Based Test results and compare it with the list released by the Commission.

“We insist that the list of the successful candidates as released by the Commission is open to any Body or Organization for forensic examination to establish it’s authenticity.

“The Commission will not at any time involve itself in any untoward activities in the process of recruiting qualified Nigerians into the Nigeria Police Force.

“The Police and any other interested bodies are very free to investigate any act of financial dealings and corrupt practices as alleged by the Force Public Relations Officer.

“Finally, considering the power and mandate of the Commission as derived from the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (and eventually reiterated, interpreted and established by the Supreme Court judgement of the 11th of July, 2023) and the 2001 Establishment Act of the Police Service Commission, the Commission is the only Executive Body charged with the responsibility, amongst others, of appointing qualified Nigerians into the Nigeria Police Force.

“However, as we mentioned earlier, based on the democratic nature, sense of responsibility, inclusiveness and transparency of the Commission, it has always involved other relevant Bodies, including the NPF, in the recruitment process.

“However, we would not succumb to any form of blackmail and threat as demonstrated by the Inspector-General of Police in the Press Release with reference number CZ.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.6/178, dated June 15, 2024 by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), signed on behalf of the Inspector General of Police,” the workers added.

 …HR Expert calls for probe

And in a reaction, an Ilorin-based human resource expert,  Alhaji  Abdullahi Ibrahim, has called on President  Tinubu to probe the controversial recruitment process.

 In a statement Wednesday, Ibrahim said: “That the last recruitment exercise officially released by the PSC was rejected by the Police Authorities must be a matter of serious concern to all patriotic Nigerians.”

Th expert, who is a retired director from the Kwara State Public Service and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM), noted with serious concern how public service in Nigeria has been bastardìsed not only on recruitment but on training, promotion and discipline.

He wondered why a very critical sector of security like the Police could be enmeshed in recruitment crisis again after several years of abandonment of police recruitment exercise during the last Buhari’s Civilian Administration.

 He wondered why the PSC should directly involve itself in the recruitment of police personnel of lower cadre of Grade Level 01 to 06; stating that it is the direct responsibility of the Police Hierarchy under the leadership of the Inspector-General of Police [IGP]. 

 He said, “Under the Public Service Rules, recruitment into Grade Levels 01 to 06 is a delegated authority, maintaining that the Police Service Commission [PSC] that would entertain complaints and petitions on all recruitment exercises ought not to insist on wanting to conduct the recruitment especially at the lower levels.”

He lamented  that “the bane of the Nigerian Public Service since the return to democracy in 1999 ha been corruption, favouratism, lack of due process in recruitment, undeserved interference in the recruitment, promotion and discipline processes by Top Government Functionaries both from the Executive and Legislature” adding that “where such inadequacies featured,  recruitment would not meet required standard; and this is what has happened that caused the complaints and rejection of the recruitment by the IGP.”

He, however, commended the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Airforce for maintaining high standard in their recruitment and training processes, adding that “these qualities have been responsible for their good performances on their jobs.”

About Chizoba Ogbeche and Taiye  Odewale, Abuja 

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