Alex Enumah in Abuja
Hearing in the suit filed by the Police Service Commission (PSC) against the recruitment of 10,000 police constables was on Wednesday stalled following a request for a short adjournment by the commission to respond to the objection of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to the suit.
The commission had dragged the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) to court over the recruitment of 10,000 constables following the approval of President Mohammadu Buhari.
Sued along the NPF is the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Adamu Mohammed, and the Minister of Police Affairs.
However, counsel to the defendants, Alex Izinyon SAN, at the sitting of October 23, informed the court of an application seeking to include the AGF as a party to the suit.
Trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, while allowing the AGF to be a party to the suit, ordered the plaintiff to amend its suit and serve on all parties including the AGF, adding that the defendants should in turn file and serve their responses on the plaintiff within four days of receipt of the process.
Justice Ekwo in addition ordered all parties not to take any further steps as regards the recruitment exercise, until the hearing of the suit and adjourned till November 4 for hearing.
On November 4, the matter was further adjourned till November 11, to enable service of the defendants’ response on the plaintiff, with the court reiterating that its order on status quo remains.
Hearing on the matter on November 11, did not hold owing to the declaration of that day as a public holiday by the federal government to mark the birth of Prophet Muhammad.
However, hearing on the matter was again stalled on Wednesday following the request of the plaintiff to reply to the counter affidavit filed by the federal government.
When the matter was called, counsel to the PSC, Chief Kanu Agabi SAN, told the court that he would be needing a short adjournment to enable him respond to the process of the AGF.
Justice Ekwo subsequently adjourned the matter till November 20 for hearing.
In the motion on notice filed on September 24 and brought pursuant to order 28 rule 1, the commission is praying the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants/respondents, their officers and representatives including anybody or person acting on their behalf from appointing, recruiting or attempting to appoint or recuit by any means whatsoever any person into any office by the NPF pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
The main suit with number : FHC/ABJ/CS/1124/2019, is predicated on the grounds that by virtue of the provisions of section 153 subsecfion (1) (m), section 153 subsection (2) and section 215 subsection (1)[b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Paragraph 30 Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution as well as Sections 6 and 24 of the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act, the plaintiff/applicant is the sole statutory body vested with the exclusive powers to appoint, promote, dismiss and discipline persons holding offices in the 1st Defendant except the office of the inspector General of Police.
The plaintiff also submitted that none of the respondents is authorised by law to play any role in the appointment, promotion, dissmissal or exercise of disciplinary measures over persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force.