Rumbles In Police: Total Restructuring Imminent As IGP Adamu Retires Feb

Rumbles In Police: Total Restructuring Imminent As IGP Adamu Retires Feb
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Abdul Lateef Taiwo

Amid the raging protest tagged #ENDSARS across the country which has splintered into other forms of discordant refrains nationwide, the Nigeria Police which is at the centre of the imbroglio, is yet confronted with another concern over who succeeds the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu who is expected to retire in February, just barely few months away.

And for the IG, these protests are ill-timed as he does not want his last days in office remembered for the nationwide crisis caused originally by men of the Nigeria Police which he superintends.

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By sheer coincidence, the protests across most parts of the nation are coming at a time there is insider discontent within the police over who takes over as soon as the incumbent IGP leaves the stage.

However for the protesters, the five point concerns included; halting the use of force against protesters; unconditional release of arrested protesters, citizens over the protest; dissolution of FSARS; reforming the Police in accordance with the 2020 Police Act and the psychological evaluation and re-training of disbanded FSARS officials before deployment, investigate and prosecute those officers that complaints were leveled against them.

The government has begun looking at these demands and has ordered the immediate disbandment of the FSARS which has now been replaced by a new outfit code named SWAT.

AljazirahNigeria can authoritatively state that the long agitations for sweeping reforms in the Police would now be achieved, an aftermath of the #ENDSARS protests. Among these we learnt is the conceding to the clamour for community policing, integrity and background checks before enlisting anyone into the Police and a review of conditions of service, including relatively improved remunerations for officers and men of the Police.

The protesters have also picked holes in the announced successor of FSARS, saying the move was hasty, suspicious and unwarranted. This has formed another basis for which the protest has continued among other issues. With the sustained protest against the newly created SWAT, the authorities may have no other option than to abolish for good all special squads under any guise or acronym.

These SARS protests, besides overwhelming the authorities, have taken not a few unawares, causing further need for caution as there are already worries over who takes over from Adamu as IGP.

AljazirahNigeria learnt that already tension is at the edge of the razor over who takes over from the Adamu who retires on February1, when he would have attained the retirement age of 60/35 years in service as stipulated in the civil service rule.

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There are also feelers that subtle moves have begun to push for the extension of his tenure beyond his retirement date and this is creating tension and bad blood among men and officers of the force.

This is however against the Bill AN ACT TO REPEAL THE POLICE ACT CAP. P19, LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA, 2004 AND ENACT NIGERIA POLICE BILL, 2020 TO PROVIDE FOR THE FRAMEWORK FOR THE POLICE FORCE AND ENSURE COOPERATION AND PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE POLICE AND HOST COMMUNITIES IN MAINTAINING PEACE, COMBATING CRIME. PROTECTING LIBERTIES, LIFE AND PROPERTY; AND FOR RELATED MATTERS, which has just been assented to by Mr. President.

According to the ACT in PART 111-APPOINTMENT, REMOVAL, FUNCTIONS AND POWERS ETC OF INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE 5&6 states inter alia: The Inspector-General shall only be removed from office by the President on the advice of the Police Council. The person appointed to the office of Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for Four (4) years subject to the provision of clause 18(8) of the ACT.

Also in Section 2 on page 4 of the ACT, an Inspector-General of the Nigeria Police must have a first degree and must have attended the Nigeria Institute for Public and Policies Service, NIPPS, or Defence College.

As the general practice has been in the country the position of Inspector General of Police is usually filled by a serving Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG.

Information available to us has it that the majority (23) of the officers in the AIG cadre have less than two years to serve in the capacity as IGP when so appointed. This is due to the unquestionable facts that either by age or longevity in service they must retire as at when due. By 2021, 15 of these AIGs will be retiring from the Force while 5 will retire in 2022 leaving one of the AIGs to retire in 2029 and another a year later in 2030.

To state that the nation requires the services of a man or woman that will hold the office for a long time will be saying the obvious. No thanks to the insecurity that has held the nation prostrate in the last two decades. AIGs are already versed with policing work and will not be strangers in a terrain they are familiar with if appointed to the position of IGP.

Insecurity and deep knowledge of the subject matter has seen the military service chiefs staying more than their stipulated time in service. This, some may say, is why the incumbent should be allowed to stay after he is due for retirement come February next year. However, the scenario is different as it can be safely argued that while the police are charged with internal security, the military on the other hand is responsible for the external security of the country.

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Furthermore, AIGs as earlier stated are grounded men and women in the act of policing, whereas, in the military any officer on the rank of a Brigadier – General can be appointed as service chief if convenient for the President.

The Inspector General of Police is the head of the Police force and most senior officer in the police service. The person who appoints IGP is the president; often by the recommendations by the Nigeria Police Council. The current inspector general of police is IGP Mohammed Abubakar Adamu. He has been in office since 2019 till present day.

Apart from the appointment of the inspector General of Police, the Nigeria police force is currently locked in a battle with the Police Service Commission over the recruitment and promotions of officers.

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal recently set aside a judgment which validated the powers of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, to recruit the rank of constables for the Nigerian Police Force. The appellate court in a unanimous decision held that the IG lacked the power to recruit constables for the police force and consequently nullified the said recruitment. The Police Service Commission, PSC, had approached the appellate court to challenge last year’s recruitment of 10,000 constables by Adamu.

However, delivering judgment in the appeal, a three-man panel of the appellate court led by Justice Olabisi Ige held that the power to carry out the recruitment was exclusively that of the Police Service Commission. According to the appellate court, the word “appointment” used in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with respect to the powers conferred on the Police Service Commission included inter alia: “The power of recruitment and or enlistment of recruit constables”.

Justice Ige stated that the police regulation and or provisions of the Police Act, which purportedly vested the IG the power of recruiting constables, are “null and void” being in conflict with the constitutional powers vested in the Police Service Commission.”

He, therefore, declared the recruitment carried out by the IG as null and void.

The appellate court subsequently granted all the prayers sought by the PSC in its amended suit filed at the Federal High Court.

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The Court of Appeal also declared the Police Act 2020 which was enacted in September this year unconstitutional and void. The Appeal Court ruled that the provisions of the Act were in conflict with Paragraph 30, Part 1, of the Third Schedule of 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.”

However, the IG, Mohammed Adamu, has appealed the ruling which nullified the earlier order of the Federal High Court, Abuja. But according to the spokesman of the Police Service Commission, Ikechukwu Ani, in a statement explained that the Appeal Court declared that: “No Act of the National Assembly or law can take away or curtail such power”.

The commission had in September 2019, instituted the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1124/2019 to stop the IG’s recruitment process which the NPF and the IG, had as of that time, almost concluded. Claiming exclusive rights to recruitment of constables, the PSC had prayed the lower court to nullify the process already commenced by the NPF and the IG. But the lower court in its judgment delivered on December 2, 2019, by Justice Inyang Ekwo, dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.

He held that the law guiding the enlistment of constables into the NPF was the Nigeria Police Regulations of 1968, issued by the Nigerian president in accordance with the provisions of Section 46 of the Police Act 1967 (No 41), providing for the organisation and administration of the police force.

The judge further stated that Section 71 of the said Nigeria Police Service Regulations, 1968, gave the power to enlist constables to the Police Council and the NPF under the control of the IG, and not the PSC.

He ruled that PSC by its enabling law retained the exclusive powers to promote, demote, dismiss and discipline any police officer apart from the IG, adding that the commission could only appoint constables after the recruitment exercise carried out by the NPF.

Not satisfied, the appellant through their lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), approached the Court of Appeal to set aside the lower court’s judgment. However, many Nigerians have pointed at the endemic citizens’ misery, occasioned by poverty as one of the factors that has further fueled the protest as the situation allowed for willing hands who are ostensibly impoverished.

Aljazirahnews


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