The Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), Musiliu Smith, has written to the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, explaining the reasons for the legal action taken by the PSC against the police at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The commission is seeking an interlocutory injunction restraining the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, from going ahead with the recruitment of 10,000 constables into the Nigeria Police Force.
The processes filed before the Federal High Court 5 on September 27, 2019, by Kanu Agabi (SAN), will be heard on October 23.
Smith in his letter dated October 16, stated that the commission and the police were involved in the recruitment process, but the force, he said, subsequently took over the exercise by unilaterally releasing the list of candidates for medical screening.
The police authorities had insisted on conducting the recruitment, saying the commission had no mandate to recruit men for the force.
Despite the PSC’s opposition and legal challenge, the force had penultimate Sunday, released the final list of successful candidates who had been directed to resume at 18 police colleges and training schools nationwide for the commencement of training on October 21.
Smith drew the COS’ attention to previous legal opinions by four Attorneys-General on the long-drawn recruitment dispute with the police authorities, noting that Kalu Agabi (2002), Bayo Ojo (2007), Mohammed Adoke (2010) and lately, the current Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (2019) had taken different positions on the issue.
The letter read, “Since the return to civil rule on May 29,1999, four legal opinions listed here have been issued. When the copy of the opinion of 2019 was received and it was observed that the only earlier opinion considered was that of 2010, the attention of the Attorney-General was drawn to his oversight in a letter from the commission.
“Please, note that the legal advice of Kanu Agabi (SAN) and that of Bayo Ojo (SAN) expressly and exclusively vested the power of recruitment/appointment in the commission as against that of Mohammed Adoke and Abubakar Malami.”
“Because nothing was subsequently heard in the matter, the board of the commission met and decided to approach the Federal High Court, Abuja, for proper interpretation of section 30 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution, which, amongst others, gave the commission the power of appointment of policemen,” the retired IG explained.
Smith further pointed out that the commission’s attention was drawn to the release of the final list of candidates by the Force Headquarters on October 14 despite the pending court case.
The PSC stated that the failure of the police authorities to break down the candidates’ list local government by local government made it suspect “the injection of names that ought not to be in the final list.”