Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Constitutional angle to appointment of police leadership By CSO panel


CSO Panel

CSO recommend transparent processes for appointment of the police boss.

The opaque processes by which Inspectors-General of the Police are appointed, the absence of secured tenure for those that occupy that office and high turnover in the leadership of the police make planning for improvements in the performance of the police rather difficult in Nigeria. In thirteen years of civilian rule since 1999, Nigeria has had seven IGPs, a ratio of one IGP roughly every two years. The lack of security of tenure for the IGP and government’s habit of removing IGPs at will, make the position one of the most unstable leadership positions in the country, and perhaps accounts for the ad hoc, short-term approach that has come to define the Nigeria Police.

The procedure for appointing the head of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, was also identified as an obstacle to producing the kind of leadership that might drive reform or improvement in police performance. Section 215(1) of the Constitution provides that the IGP “shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Police Council from amongst serving members of the Nigeria Police Force.” As has been observed by Prof. Etannibi Alemika, a scholar on police and policing:

The Constitutional provision does not provide for competence and other requirements for the appointment of an IGP … except that they should be appointed from the serving officers. Significantly, it did not even provide that the officer must be of any particular rank. For the sake of argument, it will be constitutional to appoint a constable as an Inspector General of Police.

Furthermore, none of the Constitution, Police Act or the Police Regulations provides any elaboration on the procedure for the appointment of an IGP or indeed, any other leadership position in the NPF. Consequently, as Prof Alemika also noted:

Appointments into the Nigeria Police Force are determined largely by seniority and representation, and influenced by nepotism, political patronage and regime interests and preferences. As a result, organisational management and leadership development have been lacking, leading to organisational ineffectiveness.

If the Nigeria Police is to be rebuilt for improved performance, the process of making appointments into leadership positions needs to be fully defined, open, competitive, and transparent. The qualities required for leadership positions in the Nigeria Police should include the ability to: facilitate the development of organisational vision and mission; develop, implement and continuously evaluate a strategic plan for the Police; communicate the vision, mission and strategic plan of the Nigeria Police to different audiences such as citizens, legislatures, the executive, criminal justice circles within and across jurisdiction, and development partners.

The CSO Panel urges that the procedure for the appointment of the IGP should be reviewed and that Section 215(1) of the Constitution should be amended to provide for the following:

1. The process by which an IGP is appointed should be open, competitive and transparent. The position should be advertised, with the criteria for the appointment being publicised and include possession of a university degree and relevant professional and management experience, and should include a public hearing.

2. Interested persons should apply through the Police Service Commission, which will screen the applications and refer all qualified candidates to the Senate.

3. Following interview and public hearing, the Senate should draw up a shortlist which should be sent to the Police Council, a body which includes all State Governors.

4. The President should then make the appointment on the advice of the Police Council.

5. The appointment of the IGP should guarantee security of tenure for a five-year non-renewable term of office for the IGP in order to ensure a one-year overlap with an incoming political administration, or guarantee a three year term which will be renewable only once.

6. An IGP should only be removed on a motion by the Senate. The basis for such removal should be gross misconduct (as defined in section 143(11) of the Constitution) or incapacity of mind or body such as to render him or her incapable of performing the functions of their office. The process for removal should also include a public hearing by the Senate.

It is safe to conclude with some level of certainty that a whole scale reform of the police is an idea whose time has indeed come. It is an imperative for sustaining our developing democracy, securing our society and preserving the Nigeria nation. The grim realities of the security situation in Nigeria attest to this. Indeed, this constitutional reform effort presents an auspicious opportunity to review the basis and direction of the Nigeria Police and we trust that the recommendations made in this series would be taken into consideration and implemented as part of the review process.

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