Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
There are strong indications that the presidency has intervened in the controversy trailing the recruitment of about 10,000 constables for community policing ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
THISDAY gathered at the weekend that the presidency’s intervention was to check the embarrassment the war of attrition between the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the police could bring to the Buhari administration.
The PSC and the police have engaged in a long-drawn battle over the recruitment, in which the commission has accused the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, of sidelining it. The PSC has also described the list of candidates, released by the IG as lopsided and against the federal character principle.
The feud deepened at the weekend as Borno and Bauchi States were said to have complained to the PSC that they were short-changed in the recruitment while some other states have also indicated intention to challenge the list.
A source told THISDAY at the weekend that the presidential intervention might have been responsible for the damage control by the police, which, in a volte-face, disowned the list of recruits it had earlier released.
The source said: “The Chief of Staff to the President has written to them. The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice has also written to them. So, I don’t know why they (PSC and police) are still fighting.
“The IG cannot claim he did not sanction the release of the list. When the list for medical was released, PSC disowned it and queried the DIG Training. The man refused to answer the query rather the IG wrote them to say he was working under his instruction.
“So, now, they are no longer working under his instruction. What it means is that all those involved will face PSC disciplinary action and may end up being dismissed from the Force.
“The DIG who was queried by PSC went to court against the commission rather than answer the query.
“An employer has a right to query his employee, it is a call to explanation and you are required to exhaust all internal procedures before you can take your employer to court. But he didn’t even answer the query.
“There is strong belief that the statement by the police was a panicky measure. The presidency has frowned on that list. The statement was the first since this problem started and on a Saturday for that matter.”
Apparently bowing to pressure, the police, in a statement posted on its twitter handle, said the list of successful recruits would now be released after the IG’s vetting and approval.
“The members of the general public, particularly candidates who participated in the on-going recruitment exercise by the @PoliceNG are hereby advised to note that the final list of successful candidates will be released only after the receipt of the Recruitment Report and final vetting of the list by the Inspector General of Police.
“Currently, the Inspector General of Police, IG Mohammed Adamu NPM, mni, is out of the country on an official assignment and has not received the final report of the exercise containing list of successful candidates for the police constable’s recruitment.” it tweeted.
It said: “Candidates who participated in the recruitment process are advised to exercise patience as the final and authenticated list of successful candidates, including the date of resumption for training will be officially released and widely announced in both print, electronic and social media platforms in line with the established police processes as soon as the Inspector General of Police returns, formally receives the recruitment report, vets, and grants requisite approval.”
Before the new tweet, an earlier tweet @2019NPFRecruits had debunked the rumour that the list was cancelled and directed the successful candidates to proceed to the 18 police colleges across the country for training.
“There is a rumour circulating that the list has been cancelled. This is to inform you that no list is cancelled. You are to proceed accordingly for your documentation between 21-25/10/2019.Arrangements have been made for your arrival in all police training institutions”, it said.
The PSC Chairman and a retired Inspector General of Police, Mr. Musiliu Smith, had reportedly written to the Chief of Staff to the president, Mr. Abba Kyari, explaining why the PSC went to court.
Smith had in a letter dated October 16, 2019, said the Nigerian Police usurped the powers conferred by law on the commission by taking over the recruitment.
He said the final list of candidates was released in spite of the fact that the IG was served court papers on the matter.
THISDAY had reported that the recruitment, which was based on the equality of local governments in view of the fact that it was for community policing was lopsided.
A breakdown of the controversial list showed that Nasarawa State, the home state of the Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed and the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of Training, Yakubu Jibrin, topped the list with 528 candidates with an average of 41 per local government instead of 12 per local government. Nasarawa State has 13 local Government Areas.
It was also gathered that 247 candidates of the 528 recruited from Nasarawa State did not apply for the job but were allegedly included in the list.