Efforts by police to recruit an assault on constitution – Osayande

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A former chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Parry Osayande, has described efforts by the Nigeria Police to carry out recruitment of constables as an assault on the Nigerian constitution.

Osayande, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, in a phone call with The Nation on Monday said what the police is doing now is putting aside the Nigeria constitution which is the superordinate law in the land, describing the development as dangerous.

“In 1957 before independence there was a constitutional conference and all the Nigerian leaders were invited. At that conference, the minority expressed fears that majority would use the police to oppress, so the British government in their wisdom set up the Willink Commission of Enquiry to look into the fears of the minority. It was that commission that recommended that there should a Police Service Commission, whose chairman shall be apolitical.

And then they were given three principal functions, one was to recruit people into the police, and in doing so, there should ensure that there is tribal balancing. Two that they should be responsible for discipline to all members of the police force and finally they should be responsible for promotion of all ranks from constable to deputy inspector general of police, except the inspector general of police, who is appointed by the police council.

“This was enshrouded in the constitution, but because the police service commission was not functional properly, it was not funded properly, they did not have the sufficient manpower, it would appear that the Commission delegated its functions of recruitment to the police. It does not mean that it is their function.

“At all times, government functionaries, the police, police service commission, should use the law as guide in the performance of their duty. What the police is doing now is putting aside the Nigeria constitution which is the superordinate law in the land and that is a very dangerous thing.

“I would have thought that they Attorney General would interprete it for them, and tell them who is to do what, but since they have disagreed, I think the court would be the final arbiter” he said.

He said it was wrong for the Attorney General, Abubakar Malami to throw his support behind the police, saying “You can imagine the danger in it if you ask everybody to go and be recruiting. That was the principal objective of having the Police Service Commission.”