By: Kingsley Omonobi – Abuja.
The staff of the Police Service Commission under the workers union on Thursday declared a 3-day warning strike over the alleged takeover of the recruitment of 10,000 Constables by Force headquarters.
The workers shut down the PSC headquarters in Abuja and forced the Permanent Secretary, Chief William Alo and directors out of their offices.
The staff were protesting the alleged takeover of the ongoing constables’ recruitment exercise, lack of staff promotion and training by the commission management.
The workers lamented the failure of the commission management to meet their demands, accusing the PSC Chairman, Musiliu Smith of conniving with the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to shortchange the PSC.
Chairman, Joint Union Congress, PSC chapter, Adoyi Adoyi, said, “We had planned the warning strike for Thursday and the permanent secretary had a meeting with us but we could not make a headway concerning the demands we made to them (management).
He wanted us to shift grounds without proffering solutions to the issues.
“He, the Permanent Secretary read the management decision to us but there was no timeline to the promises. We suspected it was a ploy to get us off their back.”
Adoyi said the commission’s leadership was pressuring the workers to go for their Basic Travel Allowance approved for the field monitoring of the recruitment, noting that the workers were rather interested in working for whatever they were paid.
“After the chairman travelled, the police were going ahead with the recruitment which we suspected was of his making because it was just after we had our agitation that the police timetable was released and there was no preparation in the commission; they were telling us that we should collect our BTA”, he said.
“The police were always involved in the exercise but it is always driven by the commission because it is our mandate but why they want to exclude the commission is a secret between the police and the chairman.
“The management promised to conclude the promotion examination but it has not been done. Last year, the exercise dragged for so long and has been was not concluded due to vested political interests.”
On the next steps, Adoyi disclosed that the workers would decide what to do at the end of the strike on Monday.
It would be recalled that the Commissioner for Media and Public Affairs in the Police Service Commission, Mr. Austin Braimoh last Sunday confirmed knowledge of threat’s by the workers union in the PSC to embark on a protest strike over the handling of the ongoing recruitment of 10,000 policemen.
Speaking with Vanguard in Abuja on whether there was a clash of interest regarding the recruitment process, and if he was aware the workers union was gearing up for a protest over the usurpation of its duties, Mr Briamoh said, “Yes, the Police refused to handover recruitment after promising to do so”.
Earlier, the Force headquarters issued a statement announcing the extension of the recruitment deadline for the eligible applicant’s into the Police force following the reported lukewarm attitude of applicant’s from the Southern part of the country particularly, the South-South, South-East and South-West.
Sources disclosed that the manner of the recruitment process which has “been hijacked” from the PSC that is constitutionally charged with recruitment, discipline and promotion of personnel for the Nigerian Police Force is ‘heavily skewed in favour of other zones of the country hence no matter the number of application’s from the South, nothing will change.
At the launching of 200 Police operational vehicles procured by the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (NPTF) in Abuja, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba showered encomiums on the leadership of the Police Service Commission saying new dawn of cordial working relationship as regards the issue of recruitment of the 10,000 constable’s existed.
A source had said the threat by the worker’s union poured cold water on this perceived cordial working relationship.
A fortnight ago, while disclosing that training for the 10,000 police recruits would commence this January across Police training institution’s, the IGP said the recruits were selected from all the 774 local government areas of the country.
His words, “Our recruitment reflected selection of successful candidates from all the 774 LGAs. Our intention also is to train these officers and return them back to their local governments, communities and states to ensure grassroots policing”.
“The current recruitment exercise has been well articulated in an all-inclusive and all-stakeholders process which involved the Police Service Commission, the Ministry of Police Affairs as well as other strategic relevant stakeholders.
“This obviously explains why the process has not only been transparent and seamless but has also thrown up the best candidates that the country can offer at that lower cadre of policing.
He further disclosed that immediately after the completion of the training exercise for the current recruits, the recruitment application portal for the next 10,000 policemen would be open for interested Nigerians.
“We have a mandate for the recruitment of 10,000 policemen for 6 years by Mr President. After this one, we will recruit 10,000 annually until 2025.
Last week, the Force headquarters issued another statement saying that as a result of the lukewarm attitude shown by interested applicants for consideration into the Nigerian Police Force as part of 10,000 earmarked for recruitment in 2021, the Police has extended the deadline date for the exercise by ten (10) additional days.
The Force headquarters said the extension is particularly targeted at interested applicants from the South East/South-South zone of the country and Lagos State who have so far shown a lukewarm attitude to the exercise.
It noted that out of a total of 81,005 applications so far received nationwide as of January 7, 2022, only 1,404 applications – less than 2% of the total applications – were received from the five states in the South East and 261 from Lagos State.
The statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba read, “The Nigeria Police Force wishes to inform citizens that the online registration in the ongoing 2021 recruitment exercise for interested and eligible Nigerians into the service of the Nigeria Police Force as Police Constables, has been extended to Saturday, January 22, 2022.
“With this extension, the NPF recruitment portal will remain open till midnight of the new date.
“The extension of the online application is informed by the need to ensure equal opportunity and even spread of applications, particularly from States in the South-East, South-South geopolitical zones and Lagos State, to enable them to meet up with the required quota for their respective areas.
“A statistical analysis shows that a total of 81,005 applications were received nationwide as of January 7, 2022.
“Out of this figure, only 1,404 applications – less than 2% of the total applications – were received from the five states in the South East and 261 from Lagos State, with Anambra State having the least figure of 158 applicants.
“Consequently, the Force enjoins States and Local Governments, religious bodies and other interest groups in the affected Geopolitical zones and Lagos State to assist in mobilizing and encouraging their citizens and wards to take advantage of the opportunity to seek a career path in the Nigeria Police Force.
It will be recalled that the feud over who is constitutionally vested with the powers to carry out the recruitment of police personnel resulted in both organizations heading for the courts in 2020 with the Appeal Court ruling that the Police Service Commission had the constitutional mandate to carry out the recruitment process.
In spite of the ruling, however, the Police are conducting the recruitment of the 2021 batch of 10,000 constables and are set to commence the 2022 batch, which the workers union vowed they will not accept.