The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday upheld the power of the Nigeria Police Force and the Police Council under the control of the Inspector-General of Police to recruit constables into the NPF.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his judgment, dismissed the suit filed by the Police Service Commission to challenge the power of the NPF and the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, to carry out the ongoing exercise of recruiting 10,000 police constables into the police force.
The judge held that the PSC’s case lacked merit.
He explained 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 noted that Section 71 of the said 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 the 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 carried out by the NPF.
He added that the Civil Service Rules cited by the PSC in defining the meaning of “appointment” to include “recruitment” did not apply to the NPF, not being a civil service organisation.
He said the PSC, whose legal team was led by Chief Kanu Agabi, a former Attorney-General of the Federation, failed to provide any credible evidence to establish its case, noting that none of the exhibits it provided showed that it had the power to carry out the recruitment.
The judge also noted that contrary to the allegation of the PSC that the NPF and the IGP were attempting to usurp its powers to recruit the constables, it was the PSC that was attempting to usurp their powers to do so.
“That being the case, the plaintiff has failed to establish its case with any credible evidence,” he said.
He added, “Consequently, I hold that the power to enlist constables into the police force lies with the Police Council and the Nigeria Police Force (the first defendant), under the control of the Inspector-General of Police (the second defendant).
“Therefore, it is the Inspector-General of Police that controls the enlistment of constables into the Nigeria Police Force.
“I therefore dismiss the case of the plaintiff for lacking in merit.”
Apart from the NPF and the IGP, others joined as defendants in the suit were the Minister of Police Affairs and the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The NPF, the IGP and the Minister of Police Affairs, represented by their counsel, Dr Alex Izinyon (SAN), had jointly opposed the suit and urged the court to dismiss the suit.
The AGF who was joined as a defendant on, upon an application filed by Izinyon, also offered a separate defence in urging the court to dismiss the suit.
Justice Ekwo had earlier dismissed the notice of preliminary objection jointly filed by the NPF, IGP and the Minister of Police Affairs, ruling that the court had jurisdiction to hear the suit contrary to the three defendants’ contention.
He added that the suit was competent and did not constitute an abuse of court process as alleged in the notice of preliminary objection.