“The Police Service Commission is one of the fourteen (14) federal executive bodies established under Section 153 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, charged with the responsibility, among other things, to appoint and promote persons to offices (other than the office of Inspector-General of Police.”
However, over the years, the “appoint” aspect has continued to be a big obstacle. From the days of Chief Simeon Okeke, who was appointed chairman of the PSC, to date, with Alhaji M.K. Smith holding sway as the chairman, the problem of a better interpretation and understanding of the word, that is, “appoint,” continues to reverberate. According to the Web dictionary, “appoint” means, “to name or assign to a position, an office, or the like; designate: to appoint a new treasurer; to appoint a judge to the bench; to determine by authority or agreement; fix; set.
“Law: to designate (a person) to provide with what is necessary; equip; furnish.”
The reasoning here therefore is that since the person being recruited is an outsider to the system or organisation, his offer of appointment automatically means that he is being provided with necessary tools of appointment into the office of a “recruit.” Mind you, the person is a neophyte to the system and has to be appointed. We should not forget that the Nigeria Police is a “civil” organisation and not a military organisation. All over the world, countries whose police hitherto used the word “Force” have long jettisoned it. Like thr police of our xenophobic brothers in South Africa that used to bear the name South Africa Police Force. Today, they are known and referred to as South Africa Police Service. The world over, it is either the Country Police or the word “Service” is added.
One hopes that Nigeria would not be an exemption, to be known as Nigeria Police Service or simply “Nigeria Police.”
Many have argued that the misdemeanours presently being exhibited the police are offshoots of the illusionary “force” added to the police nomenclature. So, instead of being civil and service-oriented, where applicable, unnecessary force is usually applied. No wonder the public detest their actions and finds it hard to applaud them when they serve the populace, even laying down their lives. This should change, because it is an issue of public mindset.
The issue at hand centres around the 2019 recruitment exercise, where it is expected that 10,000 would be offered appointment. If the story published by the Police Service Commission is anything to hold on to, all through the exercise, the police and the PSC worked assiduously from the beginning.
Come to think of it, if the police is a civil organisation, why use the word “recruitment,” instead of “employment”? After all, civil servants are employed, not recruited, as in the army.
So, that the employment exercise was, ab initio, organised jointly by the PSC and the Police Headquarters, until the point of collation of results.
According to the PSC spokesman, Mr. Ikechukwu Ani: “We have jointly done a 90 per cent job,” before the impasse. The question is “when did the lady noticed that she did not bathe before painting her face with powder?” Or at what point was it noticed that “water had entered the okra soup”?
Many things can be adduce to what may have led the police to demand or want to assert by “force” a right that is not given to them constitutionally. First, both the Vice President and past attorney-generals have aired their legal views on this issue and they arrived at the conclusion that the PSC was constitutionally on the right path to handle the recruitment exercise.
In his response with Ref. No/SC/604/1/86 dated March 29, 2007, and signed by Pamela Ohabor on behalf of the Attorney-General, which obviously was the response of Mr. Bayo Ojo, it explained thus: “Reference
2). I am to advise the heading M of part 1 of the third schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 deals with the Police Service Commission. Section 30(a) and (b), respectively, of the said heading gives power to the commission to appoint person’s to offices (other than the Inspector-General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force and also powers to dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding any office referred in in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph.
“3). Consequent upon the foregoing powers of recruitment, dismissal and exercise of disciplinary control in the police force is vested on the Police Service Commission, according to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“4). Any action in respect herewith by any other body or establishment inconsistent with the provision of the Constitution is null and void and of no legal effect.”
The drama that did ensue ought not to be in public glare. The purported list circulating in the social media, which was alleged to have originated from the Nigeria Police Force website, was, to say the least, confrontational and undermining the position and powers of the PSC. Now, if the police had good intentions, why did it withdraw the website after claiming right?
A Yoruba adage says, “No woman will pancake her face without first bathing.” Each time such face-off is registered, bad blood flows in the system. During the tenure of the Ibrahim Idris as IGP, such bad blood existed and, throughout his tenure, he did not pay any official visit to the then chairman of the PSC, Dr. Mke Okiro, sequel to his ulterior motives. Okiro did not experience any face-off with IGPs Solomon Arase, MD Abubakar and Suleiman Abba.
Continentally, the National Police Service Commission of Kenya is an independent government commission established under the Constitution of Kenya, like Nigeria’s PSC, and it is to ensure the smooth functioning of the National Police Service of Kenya. Among its roles are: “Recruit and appoint persons to hold or act in offices in the service, confirm appointments, and determine promotion and transfers within the National Police Service.”
Interestingly, even our so-called colonial masters and latest economic friend of Nigeria, Britain and China, respectively, don’t have the word “Force” added to their police.
Moreover, they operate the state police system, which helps to completely eradicate this incessant and persistent face-off, which, to many security observers, is a distraction in the face of heightened insecurity bedevilling Nigeria.
(To be continued)