POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION: 3 FORMER IGPs BATTLE TO SUCCEED SMITH

By Kingsley Omonobi

Indications have emerged that about three former Inspectors-General of Police and a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police are currently lobbying to succeed Ex-IGP Musiliu Smith as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission.

Recall that Smith who resigned few weeks ago on medical grounds assumed office as Chairman, Police Service Commission on July 25, 2018.

However, some reports claimed he was forced out of office by other board members over his inability to exercise the constitutional mandate of the commission on police recruitment.

In the interim, retired Supreme Court Justice, Clara Ogunbiyi, the second most senior official (Commissioner 1) took over from the former PSC boss with a pledge to carry all stakeholders along.

The commission and the Nigeria Police leadership had been at loggerheads over the recruitment of police constables.

Though the Court of Appeal had affirmed the commission’s constitutional authority to recruit constables into the police, the Nigeria Police authorities have continued to conduct the exercise.

Investigations reveal that the former Police Chiefs eyeing the PSC top job have been lobbying Presidential topshots, governors who are members of Police Council and ministers for consideration for the top job.

Also being lobbied are the Attorney General of the Federation and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

Reliable sources said those lobbying for the position include an ex-IGP who is presently holding a vantage position in the Board of Trustees of Police Trust Fund, an ex-IGP who was one time Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, and ex-DIG in charge of Operations, who was one time AIG Zone 6, Calabar.

A source said, ‘’The development is causing tension among the PSC workers because they fear that the situation that characterised Smith’s tenure may subsists if the President appoints another former IG as the commission chairman.

He said, “The workers spended their strike out of respect for the acting chairman who has shown interest in seeking solutions to the recruitment crisis but the situation could become worse if another retired police chief succeeds Musiliu Smith.’’

Another official said,  ‘’It appears the Police want to turn the commission to their retirement home and that is why there is serious jostling by the retired IGs to occupy the office. This is not good for the commission because the previous retired officers who led the commission were partial to the police”.

‘’Essentially, the police authorities did not want to subject themselves to civilian supervision and control; they don’t want to be accountable and that is why the commission workers are against the appointment of another retired IG as chairman.”

Meanwhile, Vanguard learnt on Thursday night that the Nigerian Police Force has appealed the appeal court judgment on recruitment.

Spokesman of PSC, Ikechukwu Ani confirmed that hearing by the court in the appeal by the Police will commence in October 2022.

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