Roforofo fight in offing, as police leadership trade words over controversial constables’ recruitment

The leadership of Nigeria Police Force and Police Service Commission are now at logger head over the recruitment of constables which has turned out controversial as allegations of bribery and others were raised against the exercise.

Penpushing reports that the Inspector General of Police Kayode Egbetokun in a statement faulted the exercise for alleged corruption of the process by the Police Service Commission through smuggling in of names of candidates who failed either the Computer Based Test (CBT) or the physical screening exercise or both

The number one policeman in a press statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi called for cancellation of the alleged dubious list of final shortlisted candidates and demanded for review of the exercise, arguing that this became necessary following inundated series of complaints and allegations of corruption raised by unsuspecting candidates and stakeholders on the irregularities that marred the exercise

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Penpushing further reports that the statement emphasized that upon careful scrutiny of the list released on the Police Service Commission (PSC) portal, the police discovered some names of successful candidates who did not even apply and therefore did not take part in the recruitment exercise.

‘The published list contains several names of candidates who failed either the Computer Based Test (CBT) or the physical screening exercise or both. There are those who made it to the last stage of the exercise but were disqualified, having been found medically unfit through the standardised medical test, but who also made the list of successful candidates as published by the PSC’, the statement reads.

“Most worrisome is the allegation of financial dealings and corrupt practices leading to the outcome where unqualified and un-trainable individuals have been shortlisted. The same people who recruited anyhow for the police today will turn round to accuse the police tomorrow of inefficiency when their recruits start messing up,” Adejobi emphasized

‘The Nigeria Police Force therefore takes exception to this unpleasant development and calls for a total review of the process with a view to recruiting qualified, competent, trainable and productive hands into the Nigeria Police Force, in line with the vision of His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s led administration on police reform’, the statement said.

‘The NPF hereby reiterates that we are not unconcerned about the plights and ordeals of prospective recruits who have been subjected to all forms of rigorous screening exercise, assuring that it is our commitment to ensure that the process is thoroughly reviewed, stands fruitful and successful for the betterment of the Nigeria Police, and by extension the country’, Adejobi wrote

Penpushing also reports that the Police Service Commission (PSC), however, in swift reaction by the Joint Union Congress of the commission denied the allegations and dismissed them as not only in bad state but diversionary arguing that due process was followed in the recruitment.

The commission in the statement demanded a forensic audit of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Computer Based Test which the police authorities had queried, stressing that it was only during recruitment exercises those police confrontation manifests, suggesting obvious hidden interests and corrupt tendencies.

Penpushing reports the commission in the statement jointly signed by Remi Ogundeji and Adoyi Adoyi accused the police of seeking to stop it (commission) from exercising its constitutional power to appoint people into the Force despite the unambiguity in the powers of the Police Service Commission (PSC) as spelt out in the 1999 Constitution and the interpretation of such powers by the Supreme Court.

‘This clandestine scheming by the Inspector General of Police to usurp such powers is obviously an affront on both the Nigerian Constitution and judgment of the Supreme Court. The Commission is at a loss why it is only during recruitment exercises that police confrontation manifests, suggesting obvious hidden interests and corrupt tendencies’, the statement reads.

“To address the issues raised by the FPRO in the above release, it is worthy of note that after the Commission got judgement from the Supreme Court on the 11th of July, 2023 re-affirming its powers to, amongst other things, appoint qualified Nigerians into the Police Force as stipulated in the paragraph 30 Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the Nigerian Constitution thus:’

‘The Commission shall have power to (a) appoint persons to offices (other than the office of the Inspector-General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force; the Commission to ensure inclusiveness constituted a Recruitment Board comprising of a Commissioner from the Police Service (PSC) as Chairman, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Development and Training Department as Co-Chairman/Deputy Chairman, CP Hassan Yabanet representing Police Training Colleges (NPF), Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Olabode Akinbamilowo as Secretary to the Board amongst others’.

‘The Board had representatives from virtually all the stakeholders in the Police Sector such as The Commission, the Police, Ministry of Police Affairs, Federal Character Commission, the Police Colleges and the Police Trust Fund’.

‘The claim that the Recruitment Board was crippled and was not allowed to function was no doubt a fallacy as the Board severally met before the release of the list of successful candidates. The same Board met and endorsed the list that was released on the 4th of June, 2024 at their usual meeting point, PSC Corporate Headquarters, with the DIG Training, Mr Frank Mba and other Police representatives in attendance.

“Meanwhile, it is also worthy of note that the Police had shortlisted and concluded the exercise without the knowledge of the Board and PSC. They had the effrontery to submit the list to the Commission. They wanted a meeting of the Board where they had planned to force the list on the Board, but unfortunately their plans collapsed’.

‘For example, this takes us back to 2019 when the then IGP hijacked the list of candidates of the smooth ongoing recruitment exercise from the Commission in the guise of having the list to prepare the training colleges for the training purposes and ended up smuggling hundreds of names of persons who neither applied nor participated in the screening process.

“A case in study is Nasarawa State with 13 local government areas that is supposed to have had 253 successful candidates but ended up having 528 after the NPF had sneaked 275 candidates in excess. That culminated into the Commission instituting a legal action against the NPF over our mandate.”

Penpushing further reports that the commission insisted that  the list of the successful candidates as released  was open to anyone or organisation for forensic examination to establish its authenticity, declaring that the  the commission would not at any time involve itself in any untoward activities in the process of recruiting qualified Nigerians into the Force and challenged the police and any other interested body to investigate any act of financial dealings and corrupt practices as alleged by the Force Public Relations Officer.

‘Considering the power and mandate of the Commission as derived from the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (and eventually reiterated, interpreted and established by the Supreme Court judgement of the 11th of July, 2023) and the 2001 Establishment Act of the Police Service Commission, the Commission is the only Executive Body charged with the responsibility, amongst others, of appointing qualified Nigerians into the Nigeria Police Force’.

‘However, as we mentioned earlier, based on the democratic nature, sense of responsibility, inclusiveness and transparency of the Commission, it has always involved other relevant Bodies, including the NPF, in the recruitment process’.

‘However, we would not succumb to any form of blackmail and threat as demonstrated by the Inspector-General of Police in the Press Release with reference number CZ.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.6/178, dated June 15, 2024 by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), signed on behalf of the Inspector General of Police.”

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