Workers protest, allege nepotism as Arase constitutes PSC recruitment board
The Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Solomon Arase, has inaugurated an 11-man Police Recruitment Board to enlist constables into the Nigeria Police Force.
This was as members of the Joint Workers Union of the PSC protested on Monday, accusing Arase of nepotism, noting that the PSC recruitment director, who was supposed to be the secretary of the board, according to the constitution, was excluded.
Arase on Monday announced Onyemuche Nnamani as chairman of the board, and the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of training, Bala Ciroma, as the vice chairman.
Other members of the board are Mohammed Magaji, representing the Ministry of Police Affairs, Dr. Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, Professor Joseph Olowofela, CP Hassan Yabanet, Yusuf Sanusi, Sani Hada, Victoria Onyekwuluje, DSO Ahanmisi Obehi, and DCP Olabode Akinbamilowo.
The board, among other things, is charged with the responsibility to determine and declare available vacancies in the NPF; draw up guidelines for every recruitment process into the police force; determine the online platform to be employed in the advertorial on national dailies, and other forms of information dissemination on recruitment, among others.
The PSC and the NPF were hitherto engaged in a legal dispute over who has the power and responsibility to recruit for the NPF.
However, in a landmark verdict on July 11, 2023, the Supreme Court gave a judgement in favour of the PSC, as being solely responsible for recruitments into the NPF, laying to rest the imbroglio.
Speaking on Monday, Arase said, “The Supreme Court judgment will not only help in solidifying the nascent peace, friendliness and growing mutuality between the PSC and NPF, but also facilitate and ensure seamless recruitment exercises for the Nigeria Police Force.
“The recruitment board, which is chaired by the commission, has members drawn from the Nigeria Police Force as the Secretary, and the Ministry of Police Affairs and Federal Character Commission as members, respectively.
“The board members are charged to work harmoniously and interdependently towards recruiting qualified and competent Nigerians without records of bad character or previous criminal conviction, for the rebirth of an efficient, responsive, responsible and accountable policing and police force in Nigeria.”
The recruitment exercise, which Arase said will commence in no distant time, is coming on the heels of the approval given by former President Muhammadu Buhari for the annual recruitment of 10,000 personnel into the NPF.
Meanwhile, members of the union stormed the corporate headquarters of the PSC on Monday, to protest alleged nepotism and intimidation of some of its members by Arase, and the DIG in charge of FCID, Abuja.
During the protest, the members accused Arase of neglecting the constitution and electing his cronies into the Police Recruitment Board.
They also claimed to be owed several allowances, including election duties allowances between 2022 and 2023, which are yet to be paid.
“The PSC chairman is oppressing us. He failed to include in the Police Recruitment Board, the PSC director in charge of recruitment, who is supposed to be the board secretary, rather, he picked another person who is his loyalist, while neglecting the constitution,” one of the protesters said.
According to another, “We are being owed several allowances, and they’ve refused to pay us. They are yet to pay us our allowance for the 2022 elections held in some states and the 2023 general elections.
“They have paid police officers and workers under the Ministry of Police Affairs. But the PSC Chairman had to tell us that our money was paid to the account of the NPF.”
Meanwhile, the Force Criminal Investigation Department has invited some members of the Joint Workers Union of the PSC to interview the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, FCID, Abuja, over alleged criminal conspiracy, malicious damage, threat to life and conduct likely to cause breach of peace.
The three separate letters dated September 3, inviting the three union members; Yusuf Nasidi, Adoyi Adoyi and Nmecha Benedicta, for questioning, were undersigned by the Commissioner of Police, Special Enquiry Bureau, FCID, Abuja, George Chukwu.
“This office is investigating a case of criminal conspiracy, malicious damage, threat to life and conduct likely to cause breach of peace, reported to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department, Abuja in which the need to ascertain certain information from you has become necessary.
“In view of the above, you are requested to interview the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department, Abuja through the undersigned, and the Officer-In-Charge, Admin Team, Special Enquiry Bureau, Force Criminal Investigation Department, Abuja on Monday, September 4, 2023, at room 406, FCIID Complex, Area 10, Garki, Abuja. 11 a.m. prompt,” the invitation letter reads in part.
When contacted, the chairman of the union, Adoyi Adoyi, who is also among the three invited workers, said they did not honour the police invitation because it did not come through an official route.
Adoyi said, “This invite came because we organised a Congress where members complained about being owed allowances and being shortchanged because the chairman of the commission is more loyal to the NPF and police ministry than to the workers in his own commission.
“We didn’t honour the invite, not because we want to disobey the law or a government authority; but because the police sent us the letters on WhatsApp, instead of doing the right thing by writing to the commission through the chairman and the commission would now decide on either or not to release us to attend the interview.”