The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, on Tuesday, said that the news that he directed the suspension of entry requirements for candidates undergoing physical screening exercise is untrue.
In a statement signed by Frank Mba, the spokesperson of the Nigerian Police Force, Mr Adamu urged citizens to ignore the “trending fake news,” saying statutory entry requirements remain sacrosanct.
There were media reports on Monday that the IGP, in a signal, directed that no candidate should be disqualified irrespective of their physical appearance, age, or qualification.
According to a report by PUNCH Newspapers, the IG directed that all candidates who have submitted their applications online should be screened.
“Inspector-General of Police directs that you attend to all applicants who successfully submitted their online applications to police recruitment portal irrespective of their physical appearance, age and qualification. You are not to disqualify any applicant for any reason whatsoever.
“Note that your recommendation for each applicant will serve as a guide to ascertaining the suitability or otherwise of each applicant. Ensure that the entire process is transparent and devoid of corruption and closely monitor activities of ICT personnel and other members of the team for strict compliance, please,” the newspaper quoted a message to police formations by the police chief.
A non-governmental organisation, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), also issued a statement saying the suspension of entry requirements is dangerous and has the potential to widen the door for more “criminals and misfits to find their way into the police”.
RULAAC said the suspension could lead to people being recruited without regard to merit and equity.
“If it is a measure to pave way for disabled people to be represented in the police under diversity, equity, and inclusion principles, it should be clearly stated and specific allocations and measures adopted to target specific numbers equally spread across the country.
“Concerns have been expressed in the past about noncompliance with police recruitment guidelines and entry requirements as stipulated in the police regulations. Police recruitment has often been marred by political interference and corruption allowing people without passion and career interest to infiltrate the police,” the centre said.
However, the police in a statement on Tuesday said the statutory entry requirements into the Nigeria Police Force remain sacrosanct and would be thoroughly followed in the ongoing police recruitment screening exercise.
“The IGP, while noting that no one has the powers to alter the conditions for recruitment into the Force – these, having been clearly provided for in Sections 71 – 75 and other relevant sections of the Police Act and Regulations – stated that all candidates who successfully completed the online recruitment registration exercise was invited for physical and credential screening from 24th August 2020 to 6th September 2020 at various venues in States across the Federation and the FCT.
“The screening officers have been directed to allow all the applicants to participate in the exercise and to recommend their suitability or otherwise in the spirit of transparency, accountability and fair hearing using the already established benchmarks as contained in the Act,” the police said.
Screening officers across the nation have also been urged to uphold a high level of professionalism and observe necessary measures in line with COVID-19 prevention regulations throughout the period of the exercise.
“To ensure a credible exercise, observers and monitors from the Ministry of Police Affairs, the Police Service Commission and the Federal Character Commission have been invited to provide oversight at the screening,” the police added.
Meanwhile, physical screening for candidates who applied to the Nigerian Police Force as constables commenced on Monday across all police commands in the country.
PREMIUM TIMES’ reporter, who was at the Lagos Command screening venue, on Monday, observed strict compliance with safety protocols such as physical distancing, washing of hands and hand sanitizing, and the use of face masks.
The candidates, who assembled at the Police College, Ikeja, were seen in their white shirts and shorts and made to wear their face masks appropriately.
Candidates screened on Monday were those from Agege and Ajeromi-Ifelodun local government areas, while candidates from Alimosho and Amuwo-Odofin local governments were screened on Tuesday.
The applicants were also subjected to compulsory temperature checks and washing of hands before they were allowed to enter the screening venue.
The exercise was conducted in an orderly manner, as applicants filed into the screening hall in small groups.
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