Appeal Court nullifies IGP’s recruitment of 10,000 constables
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has voided the recruitment exercise carried out by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in 2019 in which 10,000 Nigerians were purportedly employed as constables under the watch of Mohammed Adamu as Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
The recruitment exercise pitched the IGP, who claimed to have power over the process of hiring fresh hands into the NPF, against the Police Service Commission (PSC).
The PSC sued at the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging the IGP’s claim, but lost in a judgment by Justice Inyang Ekwo on December 2, 2019 in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1124/2019, a decision the PC appealed.
But, in a judgment on Wednesday, the Court of Appeal set aside the judgment by Justice Ekwo and allowed the appeal by the PSC.
A three-man panel of the appellate court, headed by Justice Peter Ige, was unanimously in holding that the IGP lacked the power to recruit constables for the NPF.
The Appeal Court held that the power to carry out recruitment into the NPF resides exclusively with the PSC.
Justice Ige, in the lead judgment on Wednesday, resolved all the issues, raised for determination, in favour of the appellant and against the respondent.
The appellate court held 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”.
The court held 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”.
The Court of Appeal proceeded to declare the recruitment carried out by the IGP as “null and void”.
It also granted all the reliefs sought by the PSC in its amended originating summons before the Federal High Court.
Earlier in the judgment, the appellate court dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the respondents – the NPF, the IGP and the Minister of Police Affairs.
Justice Ekwo had, in the now voided judgment, 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 Federal High Court judge was of the view 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 IGP, and not the PSC.
Justice Ekwo held that the PSC, by its enabling law, retained the exclusive powers to promote, demote, dismiss and discipline any police officer apart from the IGP, and that it (the PSC) could only appoint constables after the recruitment exercise carried out by the NPF.
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