By Ikechukwu Nnochiri – Abuja
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Mohammed Adamu, has filed 20 grounds of appeal at the Supreme Court to challenge the judgement that voided the recruitment of 10,000 constables by the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, last year.
The IGP, the NPF and Federal Ministry of Police Affairs, through their lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, urged the apex court to set-aside a judgment the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal delivered on September 30, which invalidated the recruitment process.
The appellants further prayed the Supreme Court to stay the execution of the verdict of the appellate court.
A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal led by Justice Olabisi Ige had in the contested judgment, unanimously held that the IGP and the NPF lacked the power to recruit the constables.
The appellate court held that the power to carry out the recruitment was exclusively vested on the Police Service Commission.
Consequently, the appellate court not only vacated an earlier judgment of the Federal High Court Abuja that upheld the power of the IGP to carry out the recruitment exercise, it voided the actual recruitment of the 10,000 constables.
Meanwhile, insisting that the process had already been concluded, the appellants, argued that the power of the NPF and the IGP to enlist the constables was distinct from the power of the PSC to appoint them.
They faulted the Court of Appeal’s decision that the Nigeria Police Regulations 1968 conferring the power of “enlistment of recruit constables” conferred on the NPF, was inconsistent with the Nigerian Constitution.
The IGP told the Supreme Court that section 71 of the Police Regulation, 1968 was not synonymous with the power of “appointment” used in the Nigerian Constitution or the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act.
“The power to enlist recruit constables conferred on the 1st appellant (NPF) is distinct and is not the same function conferred on the 1st respondent (PSC),” his lawyer, Izinyon, SAN, argued.
He contended that the procedure for enlistment of recruit constables was specifically provided in section 76 – 106 of the Nigeria Police Regulations, adding that the PSC “is not conferred with absolute power on any power howsoever described to enlist recruit constables into the 1st appellant (NPF)”.
He also argued that the Court of Appeal erred in law by relying on the definition of “recruitment” contained in Public Service Rules 2008, which he contended was not applicable to Nigerian Police Force.
IGP’s lawyer maintained that the Court of Appeal caused a miscarriage of justice and a breach of fair hearing to the detriment of his clients by relying on sections 14 and 15 of the Police Act without giving parties to the case an opportunity to air their views on them before judgment was delivered.
He also contended that the appeal court did not show how the Police Act and the Police Regulations, 1968, made by the President, were inconsistent with the provisions of paragraph 30, Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Nigerian Constitution.