The Court of Appeal has nullified the recruitment of 10,000 constables that was conducted last year by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu.
This is contained in Judgement that was delivered on Wednesday in a three-man panel of the Court presided over by Hon. Justice Olabisi Ige.
The Court unanimously ruled that the IGP is bereft of the power to do the recruitment, holding that the appropriate authority is the Police Service Commission (PSC) with the exclusive power to carry out the exercise.
It would be recalled that the Federal High Court, Abuja presided over by Hon. Justice Inyang Ekwo in suit no FHC/ABJ/CA/1124/2019 had earlier ruled on the 2nd day of December, 2019 that the IGP acted within the Law by conducting the recruitment exercise.
However, the Police Service Commission instituted the suit in order to get the recruitment nullified because it says it reserves the exclusive power to do so, this was at the time when the process was almost concluded.
However, the learned trial Judge dismissed the suit noting that it was not meritorious.
He ruled 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.
He stated that Section 71 of the 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.
He ruled that PSC by its enabling law retained the exclusive powers to promote, demote, dismiss and discipline any police officer apart from the IGP, it could only appoint constables after the recruitment exercise carried out by the NPF.
The Police Service Commission had through its lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, appealed against the judgment, which he urged the Court of Appeal to set aside.
Delivering the lead judgment of the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, Hon. Justice Ige, upheld the PSC’s case by resolving all the issues raised in favour of the appellant.
The Court agreed with Agabi, SAN represented in court by Edidiong Usungurua, to hold that the word “appointment” used in the Constitution with respect to the powers conferred on the Police Service Commission 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 the power of recruiting constables “is null and void being in conflict with the Constitutional powers vested in the Police Service Commission.”
Therefore, the Court declared the recruitment illegal and accordingly nullified same.
Furthermore, the Appeal Court grants all the reliefs sought by the PSC in its amended suit filed at the Federal High Court.
The Court had earlier dismissed the preliminary objection filed by the Nigeria Police Force, the IGP and the Minister of Police Affairs.