Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Inspector-General (IG) of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has asked the Supreme Court to halt the execution of the judgment of a Court of Appeal that nullified his recruitment of 10,000 constables for the Nigeria Police Force.
The request was contained in an application for a stay of execution filed along 20 grounds of appeal against the judgment of the appellate court delivered on September 30, 2020.
A three-man panel of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal presided by Justice Olabisi Ige in a unanimous decision had held that the IG and the NPF lacked the power to recruit the constables.
According to the appellate court, the power to recruit the constables was exclusively that of the Police Service Commission.
Justice Ige subsequently set aside the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which had validated the IG’s power of recruitment and nullified the actual recruitment of the 10,000 constables.
Miffed by the decision, the IG along with the NPF and the Federal Ministry of Police Affairs had approached the Supreme Court to set aside the judgement on the grounds that the appellate court erred when it arrived at its decision that they lacked the power to recruit the said 10,000 constables.
The appellants however in the 20 grounds of appeal filed along with their original notice of appeal by their lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), submitted that the power of the NPF and the IGP to enlist the recruit constables was distinct from the power of the PSC to appoint them.
Izinyon faulted the Court of Appeal’s decision that the Nigeria Police Regulations 1968 conferring the power of “enlistment of recruit constables” conferred on the NPF was inconsistent with the Nigerian Constitution.
He argued further that section 71 of the Police Regulation, 1968 was not synonymous with the power of “appointment” used in the Nigerian Constitution or the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act.
He said, “The power to enlist recruit constables conferred on the 1st appellant (NPF) is distinct and is not the same function conferred on the 1st respondent (PSC)”.
The senior lawyer stated that the procedure for enlistment of recruit constables was specifically provided in section 76 – 106 of the Nigeria Police Regulations, adding that the PSC “is not conferred with absolute power or any power howsoever described to enlist recruit constables into the 1st appellant (NPF)”.
He also argued that the Court of Appeal erred in law by relying on the definition of “recruitment” contained in Public Service Rules 2008, which he contended was not applicable to the Nigeria Police Force.
Izinyon further claimed that the appeal court’s reliance on the definition of “recruitment” contained in the Public Service Rules in determining what constituted “appointment” led to “a grave error of law”.
He submitted further that the Court of Appeal caused a miscarriage of justice and a breach of fair hearing to the detriment of his clients by relying on sections 14 and 15 of the Police Act without giving parties to the case an opportunity to air their views on them before judgment was delivered.
He also contended that the appeal court did not show how the Police Act and the Police Regulations, 1968 made by the President were inconsistent with the provisions of paragraph 30, Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Nigerian Constitution.