The Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Dr. Solomon Arase, says that the Supreme Court judgment given in favor of the Commission on the recruitment of N10,000 constables into the Nigeria Police Force was in the overall best interest of our national security, and underscores the imperative need for the harmonious working relationship and mutual trust among Government agencies.
Therefore, he announced that a Recruitment Board that will screen and ensure that only able and qualified members of the public are recruited into the Nigeria Police Force has been constituted.
The board which is chaired by the Police Service Commission with other relevant stakeholders as members will be inaugurated in no distant time.
“The judgment simply and legally cements the resolution of the issue in a win-win situation for the two institutions which ordinarily cannot effectively function, and deliver on their respective mandates without the cooperation of each other.
“Consequently, it is important that all concerned de-escalate and eschew all forms of hostilities, misconceptions, preconceptions, and prejudices against each other which were at the base of the hitherto characterizing of a no-love-lost relationship between the Commission and the NPF. The unnecessary imbroglio impacted negatively on the Staff of the Police Service Commission and officers and other ranks of the Nigeria Police Force,” he said.
On the 11th of July, 2023, the Supreme Court decided and laid to rest the contentious issue and controversy between the Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force, as to whose duty it is to recruit constables for the Nigeria Police.
The suit marked SC/CV/773/2020 brought before the Supreme Court by the IGP had Nigeria Police Force, Inspector General Of Police, Hon. Minister Of Police Affairs as the appellant while the Police Service Commission (PSC) And Attorney-General of the Federation were the respondents.
Facts of the Case
A dispute arose between the Appellants and the Respondents as to who, between the 2nd Appellant and 1st Respondent, is statutorily responsible for the recruitment of constables into the Nigeria Police Force.
Consequently, the 1st Respondent filed an action at the Federal High Court, seeking inter alia the determination of questions on the interpretation of the provisions of Section 153(1)(m) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Paragraph 30 Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution, and Sections 6 and 25 of the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act, 2001 with regards to the body responsible for the appointment, promotion, dismissal or exercise of disciplinary control over any persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force (except the Inspector General).
The 1st Respondent sought, upon the determination of these questions, a declaration that by the combined effect of the referenced provisions, it is the sole statutory body exclusively empowered to appoint, promote, dismiss, or exercise disciplinary control over any persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force, except the Inspector General.
The 1st Respondent also sought, amongst other reliefs, an order nullifying any act or attempt by the Appellants to appoint, enlist, or recruit persons into the Nigeria Police Force.
The trial court, whilst dismissing the 1st Respondent’s case held that the powers of the 1st Respondent to appoint officers into the Nigeria Police Force (excluding the 2nd Appellant) do not include the power to recruit constables.
The trial court held that Regulation 71 of the Nigeria Police Regulations, 1968 specifically confers on the Appellants the power to recruit constables, and the statutory powers of the 1st Respondent in relation to the appointment of officers into the Nigeria Police Force (except the Inspector General of Police), are only exercisable after the 2nd Appellant has exercised the power to recruit the said constables.
Displeased, the 1st Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and held that the power of appointment donated to the 1st Respondent by the Constitution and its enabling Act encapsulates the power to recruit constables.
The Court of Appeal also nullified Regulation 71 of the Nigeria Police Regulations, for being inconsistent with the Constitution. Dissatisfied, the Appellant filed an appeal before the Supreme Court.