Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The legal battle between the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, and the Police Service Commission (PSC) over the recruitment of 10,000 constanbles into the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has been resolved in favour of the IGP.
In its judgment on the matter on Monday, the Abuja division of the the Federal High Court upheld the power of the NPF and the Police Council under the control of the Inspector-General of Police to recruit constables into the Force.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his judgment, accordingly dismissed the suit filed by the PCS for lacking in merit.
The judge held that the law guiding the enlistment of constables into the NPF was the Nigeria Police Regulations of 1968, issued by the Nigerian President in accordance with the provisions of Section 46 of the Police Act 1967 (No 41), providing for the organisation and administration of the police force.
Justice Ekwo, making reference to section 71 of the Nigeria Police Service Regulations, noted that it gave the power to enlist constables to the Police Council under the control of the IGP and not the PSC.
The court held that the PSC by its enabling law could only appoint constables after the enlistment exercise carried out by the NPF.
He added that the Civil Service Rules cited by the PSC in defining the meaning of “appointment” to include “recruitment” did not apply to the NPF, not being a civil service.
Justice Ekwo held that contrary to the allegation by the PSC that the NPF and the IGP were attempting to usurp its powers to recruit the constables, it was the PSC that was attempting to usurp their powers to do so.
The suit with the number FHC/ABJ/CS/1124/2019 was filed by the PSC through its counsel, Kanu Agabi, SAN.
In the said suit, dated September 24, 2019, the Commission is praying the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from “appointing, recruiting or attempting to appoint or recruit by any means whatsoever any person into any office by the NPF, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”
The plaintiff also held that none of the respondents was authorised by law to play any role “in the appointment, promotion, dismissal or exercise of disciplinary measures over persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force.”