The Court of Appeal has nullified the recruitment of 10,000 constables conducted by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, in 2019.
The appellate court also declared as illegal aspects of the Police Act 2020, enacted in September this year. The court said some parts of the new law contradict certain provisions of the 1999 constitution that empowers the Police Service Commission (PSC) to appoint persons into offices in the Nigeria Police Force except the office of the Inspector General of Police.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the Police Service Commission (PSC) had taken the IGP and the Nigeria Police Force to court over the recruitment of 10,000 constables as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
After the Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed the suit challenging the recruitment exercise of 10,000 police constables in December 2019, the PSC headed to the appeal court.
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the high court had ruled that it is the Police Service Council under the leadership of the Inspector General of Police that is statutorily empowered to enlist constables into the force.
According to the PSC spokesperson, Ikechukwu Ani, the Court of Appeal has now declared that the Police Act 2020, unconstitutional because it affects the constitutional mandate of the Police Service Commission.
“The provision of the Act, it ruled is obviously in conflict with paragraph 30 Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, which empowers the Commission to appoint persons into offices in the Nigeria Police Force except the Office of the Inspector General of Police,” the spokesperson said.
He said the details of the judgment in the appeal was contained in the Certified True Copy received by the commission on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.
“Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, one of the three justices of the court in his concurrent judgment ruled that Paragraph 30 of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution has given the power to the commission to appoint persons into offices in the Nigeria Police “and did not exclude constables and cadets to Nigeria Police Academy from offices in the Nigeria Police into which the Appellant can appoint persons.”
Mr Ani stated that the jurist further declared that no act of the National Assembly or law can take away or curtail such power.
“Justice Agim noted that even if the Nigeria Police carried out the disputed enlistment pursuant to a directive or approval of the President of the Federation, the enlistment would remain contrary to the constitution and therefore unconstitutional and void. Such a directive cannot repair its unconstitutionality and illegality.”
The PSC spokesperson noted that in the lead judgment delivered by Justice Olabisi Ige, the appellate court gave a declaration that any piece of legislation or instrument relied upon by the IGP to exercise the powers to appoint, promote, dismiss or discipline any officer in the Nigeria Police Force is invalid.
This is because they are being “inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution particularly section 153 subsection (1)(m), section 153 subsection (2) and section 215(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.”
According to him, Mr Ige also gave an order of perpetual injunction restraining the police from interfering with the commission’s discharge of its functions regarding appointment, promotion, dismissal, or exercise of disciplinary control over any police officer other than the Inspector General of Police.
“The Police Service Commission would soon make public its programme of action in respect of recruitment into the Constable Cadre of the Nigeria Police Force and admission into the Police Academy,” the statement read.