The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) plan of hiring 10,000 constables this year may no longer be feasible following Justice Inyang Ekwo of Appeal Court judgment on Wednesday after the new recruits were screened on August 24 and September 6 ahead of training.
The Abuja Division of the appellate court in the Wednesday judgment voided last year’s recruitment in which 10,000 persons were hired under the IGP’s supervision after the Police Service Commission (PSC) sued at the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging the IGP’s right to recruit constables.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, on December 2, 2019, dismissed the suit, but the PSC appealed.
The Court of Appeal on Wednesday set aside Justice Ekwo’s verdict and allowed PSC’s appeal.
A three-man panel, which was presided over by Justice Peter Ige, all agreed that the IGP does not have the right to recruit the constables while stating clearly that the right to recruit remains exclusively with the PSC.
Justice Ige resolved the issues for determination in favour of PSC as it states that the word “appointment” used in the Constitution, as it relates to the powers conferred on the PSC included “the power of recruitment and or enlistment of recruit constables”.
It further states that the Police Regulation and or provisions of the Police Act, which purportedly vested the IGP with the power of recruiting constables “is null and void, being in conflict with the Constitutional powers vested in the Police Service Commission”.
It also granted all the reliefs sought by the PSC in its amended originating summons before the Federal High Court. The appellate court had dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the respondents, which is the Nigeria Police Force, the IGP, and the Minister of Police Affairs.
Justice Ekwo had held that the law guiding the enlistment of constables into the NPF was the Nigeria Police Regulations of 1968 issued by the 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.
He was of the view that Section 71 of the Nigeria Police Service Regulations, 1968, gave the power to enlist constables to the IGP and not the PSC. But Justice Ekwo declared that the PSC, by its enabling law, retained the exclusive powers to promote, demote, dismiss and discipline any police officer apart from the Inspector General of Police.