Four commissioners of the Police Service Commission (PSC) have rejected the recent order by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, converting general duty police officers to specialists.
In a letter to IGP Adamu and copied to President Muhammadu Buhari, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chairman of the PSC and chairmen of the Senate and House committees on police Affairs, among others, the commissioners – Hajiya Njatu Muhammed, Dr. Nkemka Jombo-Ofo, Mr. Austin Braimoh and Barr Rommy Mom – said the PSC, which needed to approve such order before it is implemented, has never deliberated or approved review of police posting policy.
Also, the commissioner said Nigerians, human rights and non-governmental organisations and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) were not consulted on the decision, declaring: “We, therefore, reject it intoto and direct that you halt further action, pending a valid communication from the commission.”
The PSC commissioners reminded the IGP that only the commission could validate his action, saying: “Our investigation reveals that there are indeed moves by your office towards this conversion, as per several signals sighted in this regard” but it has not been “subjected to any discussion at the commission, whether at managerial or plenary levels.”
The commissioners said the police officers affected “were valid converted from Specialists to General Duties, following series of communications between the Force Headquarters and the Police Service Commission on the need for such conversion.”
According to them, following series of discussions, from the years of former IGP Suleimen Abba in 2015 to the tenure of the last police boss, Ibrahim Idris, the PSC, led by Mr. Mike Okiro, ex-IGP, approved the screening and conversion of the officers.
They said: “A rigorous process of conversion was effected, huge resources and time expended in training and physical screening, wherein two police officers even lost their lives in the process. It was after the satisfactory screening and conversion that the PSC, through its plenary, approved the conversion.
“To the best of our knowledge as commissioners within the commission, this decision of plenary of the PSC is yet to be reviewed and no such conversion, nor memo has been placed before the plenary of the PSC to warrant a reversal. Note that the decision of plenary of the PSC is supreme and only a subsequent plenary can review such decision.”
The PSC commissioners said the decision to reverse these officers from General Duty to Specialists “is such that only the commission can carry out since it borders on oversight and policy and certainly not individuals within the commission, not minding individual office and standing.”
They pointedly told IGP Adamu that “any purported communication of such a decision by the commission is illegal and should be disregarded.”
The commissioners said it would be insensitive for a country of less than 350, 000 police officers that is heavily under-policed and going through the very deep security challenges to reduce the number of police officers from General Duty, insisting:
“Such decision will appear insensitive to the plight of the Nigerian people whose lives at this point should be the priority of all of us who, in one way or another, are saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties.”
They said what should occupy the PSC and the police was “the recruitment of more police officers, including specialists and provision of equipment so that the lives of Nigerians will be adequately protected by a robust and effective police force.”