A Federal High Court in Abuja, Monday, ordered all parties to obey the court order directing them to maintain status quo in the interim in the suit filed by the Police Service Commission (PSC), challenging the recruitment of 10, 000 men by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
At the resumed proceedings yesterday Justice Inyang Ekwo reiterated his earlier position on the matter shortly after counsel to the plaintiff brought to his attention the fact that the defendant to the case had taken further actions on the matter despite the court’s order.
The commission sued the NPF, Inspector-General of Police and Minister of Police Affairs, over the recruitment of 10,000 men as approved by President Mohammadu Buhari.
In a short ruling on October 23, the court while adjourning to enable parties exchange briefs ordered that they should not take any further step till November 11, the next adjourned date.
However, when the matter was called on Monday, counsel to the PSC, Barth Ogar, told Justice Ekwo that despite the court’s order restraining the police from continue with the recruitment exercise, the police has directed the recruited officers to report to various Police Training Schools in the country.
“My Lord issues have come up in the fact that the police went ahead to carry out the recruitment exercise despite the court’s order,” he said.
Responding, Justice Ekwo, held that the earlier status quo pronounced in the last hearing should be respected and adjourned to November 11 for commencement of hearing.
However counsel to the police, Alex Izinyon SAN, submitted that since the recruitment exercise had reached a certain stage, the court should not have maintained the status quo order.
Unhappy with the judge’s decision, he, thereafter, threatened to withdraw from the case if Justice Ekwo did not avail him the opportunity to justify his stance like he did to his colleague, Ogar.
In the motion on notice filed on September 24 and brought pursuant to order 28 rule 1, the commission is praying the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Defendants/Respondents, their officers and representatives including anybody or person acting on their behalf from appointing, recruiting or attempting to appoint or recuit by any means whatsoever any person into any office by the NPF pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
The main suit with number : FHC/ABJ/CS/1124/2019, is predicated on the grounds that by virtue of the provisions of section 153 subsecfion (1) (m), section 153 subsection (2) and section 215 subsection (1)[b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Paragraph 30 Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution as well as Sections 6 and 24 of the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act, the Plaintiff/Applicant is the sole statutory body vested with the exclusive powers to appoint, promote, dismiss and discipline persons holding offices in the 1st Defendant except the office of the inspector General of Police.
The plaintiff also submitted that none of the respondents is authorised by law to play any role in the appointment, promotion, dissmissal or exercise of disciplinary measures over persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force.