By Kingsley Omonobi & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—The Police Service Commission, PSC, the body constitutionally empowered to discipline police officers for acts contrary to effective policing in the country, stated, yesterday, it had no powers to discipline the Inspector General of Police.
The commission, led by Chief Mike Okiro, however, insisted it had not and would not compromise its constitutional mandate to appoint, promote and discipline officers of the Nigeria Police Force.
While noting that the commission was not a rubber stamp to the current Inspector General of Police, the commission said the issue of special promotions in the force was recently addressed with its stoppage and the formulation of guidelines for such, and had been handed to the IGP.
Speaking against the backdrop of allegations of massive rot in the police force under the current leadership, the commission explained that its powers to carry out its constitutional mandate didn’t cover the office of the Inspector General of Police.
“The powers of the commission are stated in paragraph 30, Part 1of the third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution”.
It states thus: “The commission shall have powers to: (a) appoint persons to offices (other than the office of the Inspector General of Police) in Nigeria Police Force; and (b) dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding any office referred to in sub-paragraph (a).
“The attention of the commission is drawn to a Saturday Vanguard front page publication of October 7, 2017, captioned, ‘Shocking! More rot in Police exposed,’ where one Aisha Tosan went to a great extent to expose alleged ills in the Nigeria Police Force and expected that the commission should have called the IGP to order,” the statement read.
The statement, signed by Ikechukwu Ani, spokesman of the commission, read further: “As an insider, Tosan who should be genuinely concerned on the alleged rot in the system should also have known where to squarely place the blame.
“It is common knowledge that the constitution, which gave the commission the powers to appoint, promote and discipline also did not extend the powers to discipline an IGP who refuses to implement decisions on these powers.
“The commission under the present leadership of Sir Mike Mbama Okiro, a retired IGP, is not a mere rubber stamp agency. It carries out its duties diligently and in accordance with set out guidelines.
“It also in the discharge of these duties, takes the IGP into consideration as the operational head of the Nigeria Police Force.
“The 1999 Constitution, part 111, (supplemental) (b), 215 (2) states; The Nigeria Police Force shall be under the command of the Inspector General of Police.
“On postings of Command CPs, the commission naturally allows the IGP who works with these officers and who knows their operational capabilities to recommend to it. And on special promotions, the commission has given the IGP guidelines that should govern his recommendations.
“Meanwhile, all recommendations to the commission on this issue have been put on hold until he complies with these guidelines. That the current PSC has outlived its usefulness is a joke taken too far by Tosan.
“If what she meant was failure to rein in the IGP, then she should take another look at the constitution and the enabling Act of the National Assembly setting up the commission. The commission, however, can do more with a constitutional provision that allows it protect its decisions.
“It is also common knowledge that most times its decisions are not implemented by the IGP since constitutionally the commission cannot discipline the IGP.
“The commission wishes to advise that in this current move to sanitise the Nigeria Police Force, efforts should not be wasted in unnecessary witch-hunt, rather they should be channelled into identifying the source/sources of the problems/drawbacks with the intention of putting them right.”
“The current Commission will continue to work with Mr. President to give the nation the police force that will be the envy of every Nigerian. Appointments, promotions and disciplinary matters will continue to be guided by laid down rules and regulations.”