Court announces date to rule on legality of police recruitment

Nigerian Police officers on duty
Nigerian Police officers on duty

The Federal High Court in Abuja Tuesday fixed December 4 to deliver judgment in a suit challenging the recruitment of 10,000 police constables by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu.

Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date for judgment after taking arguments from lawyers on Wednesday.

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.

The suit with the number, FHC/ABJ/CS/1124/2019, was filed by the plaintiff’s counsel, Kanu Agabi.

The defendants in the suit are the Nigeria Police Force (first), the IGP (second), the Minister of Police Affairs (third) and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (fourth).

The Arguments

In the motion filed on September 24, the commission asked the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from “appointing, recruiting or attempting to appoint or recruit by any means whatsoever any person into any office by the NPF pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit”.

The plaintiff also said that none of the respondents is authorised by law to play any role ”in the appointment, promotion, dismissal or exercise of disciplinary measures over persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force”.

The commission said the NPF is currently trying to appoint 10,000 persons into the force in a flagrant usurpation of the functions and powers of the PSC.

“Unless restrained by an order of this court, the respondent’s appointments/recruitments is capable of foisting a fait accompli on the judgment of this Honourable Court in this matter,” it argued.

The lawyer to the PSC, Kanu Agabi, argued that there is no place in the constitution that gives the IGP room to recruit police officers.

Mr Agabi added that “There is no single place in the constitution where the name of the IGP is mentioned as regards recruitment.”

“It has to be in the constitution and that if it is not in the constitution but anywhere else, it is null and void,” the senior counsel said.

He urged the court to grant their reliefs sought so that the matter can be laid to rest.

IGP’s Stance

Responding, the lawyer to the first, second and third defendant, Alex Izinyon, said the PSC service rule does not apply to the Nigerian Police Force which has its own rules and regulations.

Mr Izinyon said the PSC is a branch of the executive which has no respect for a decision within internal organs of government.

He questioned the jurisdiction of the court, saying under Section 6 of the Nigerian Constitution, the judge has jurisdiction to deal with matters between government and government, government and individuals and not between organs of government or agencies of government.

Mr Izinyon urged the court to dismiss the suit as frivolous, scandalous and an abuse of court process.

On his part, the lawyer to the AGF, Terhemba Agbe, said there is a difference between recruitment and appointment.

Me Agbe said the PSC rule is a general rule while the police rule is specific.

He also urged the court to dismiss the suit.

After listening to the arguments of the lawyers, Justice Ekwo fixed December 4 for judgment.

Ongoing Recruitment

The judge had earlier asked all parties to suspend the ongoing recruitment until her final judgment. The IGP, however, said yesterday that the recruitment had started and could not be stopped.

Mr Malami, the AGF, had also argued that suspending the recruitment would be a huge financial loss to the government

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