Crisis Rocks NPF, PSC Over N18bn Constables Recruitment Budget
Information reaching Ibom Focus says that Crisis Rocks NPF, PSC Over N18bn Constables Recruitment Budget
More facts have emerged on the squabbles between the Nigeria Police Force and the Police Service Commission over the ongoing recruitment of police constables.
Investigations indicated that the police leadership which took over the recruitment from the commission was unwilling to part with the N18bn budgeted for the exercise.
Saturday PUNCH gathered that the fund was meant for the recruitment of 40,000 constables over a period of four years to boost the numerical capacity of the force.
The crisis between the NPF and PSC started in 2019 when the former Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, took over the recruitment process which the court said was the constitutional mandate of the commission.
The PSC had challenged this in court, insisting that it was constitutionally empowered to conduct recruitment into the police.
Adamu won the first round at the Federal High Court in Abuja but the Court of Appeal ruled that it was the responsibility of the commission to carry out the recruitment and also issued a perpetual injunction against the force.
Despite the court orders, the police concluded the recruitment of the 2019 batch of 10,000 constables and also handled the 2020 exercise.
However, the commission’s workers were angry over the alleged failure of the management to enforce the appellate court’s judgment following the commencement of the 2021 constables’ recruitment exercise by the police.
Last week, the workers embarked on a three-day warning strike after the Musiliu Smith-led management failed to meet their demands which included the restoration of the commission’s mandate on recruitment, staff promotion and annual training.
Speaking to our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Friday, a senior official disclosed that the PSC commissioners were also at loggerheads with Smith for allegedly taking unilateral decisions without the input of other board members.
It was gathered that some commissioners had been staying away from the PSC over their alleged exclusion from management decisions.
The source said, “There is division among the seven-member board as the part-time commissioners are being excluded from critical decision-making processes.
“Do you know that in the four years of the present board, only two management meetings have been held? The first was at the written insistence of the commissioners and the second when the workers organised a protest and insisted on the convening of a management meeting.
‘”But at the heart of the current recruitment crisis is the insistence of the police management led by the IGP to spend about N18bn released by the Federal Government for the recruitment. It is clear that the Nigerian constitution empowers the Police Service Commission to conduct police recruitment.’’
Part 1, Paragraph 30, of the Third Schedule of the Constitution states that “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.’’
Checks by our correspondent indicated that the authority of the commission to recruit is also enshrined in the Police Act 2020 signed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
A commissioner who did not want his name in mentioned, corroborated the division among the PSC management members just as he said successive IGs had also hijacked the power of the PSC on promotion and posting, especially, state commissioners of police.
“All we do is watch. We are not even allowed to endorse the posting of police officers which is part of our mandate; it’s between Alhaji Smith and the IGP,’’ the angry official said.
He added, “While scores of Nigerians are being killed daily in Kaduna, Niger, Katsina, Borno, Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau, the police are deploying hundreds of its men to conduct the recruitment that is not part of their duty. With the huge budget involved, it is clear their involvement is not driven by patriotic zeal.”
The PSC spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani, had in a statement on January 29, 2022, said the agency would not surrender its mandate of recruitment to the police, stressing that “the commission will drive the 2021 constable recruitment in line with constitutional provisions.’’
In another statement released on Tuesday, Ani disclosed that the commission’s Permanent Secretary, Chief William Alo, had met with the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of training, Mohammed Danmallam, and resolved to handle the recruitment together.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has faulted the police recruitment procedure, saying it negated the federal character principle.
Diri said recruitment into federal agencies based on the number of local government areas in a state was unjustifiable and lacked merit.
He stated this at a town hall meeting organised by the state government in collaboration with the PSC in Yenagoa on Friday.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that equitable recruitment could only be achieved if the process was in tandem with the federal character principle as enshrined in the Constitution.
While calling for a review of the anomaly, Diri said no state was superior to another, irrespective of size and population.
He said, “I have one concern and that is on recruitments done in this country based on local governments. As you can see, Bayelsa has only eight local governments. So, how do you justify equitable recruitment based on the federal character principle as provided in our constitution when you recruit from 40 local government areas in a state like Kano and here you are recruiting from only eight local government areas?
“There is no justice and equity in that. As a representative of the Police Service Commission chairman, please take this back to your commission that the recruitment process in our country is not justifiable, is not fair and there is no equity in it.
“It is only at a forum like this we can tell ourselves the truth. As a federation, every state government, no matter how small, should be considered by virtue of the federal character principle in our constitution.”