Crisis rocks Police Service Commission over Smith’s letter to IGP Adamu

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Some Commissioners of the Police Service Commission,PSC have written a petition to the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu asking him to halt a move aimed at converting some police officer from General Duties to Specialists. It was learnt that about 1000 Specialists had, in line with due process in the past been converted to General Duties officers. However, former Inspector General of Police who now doubles as incumbent Police Service Commission, PSC Chairman, Musiliu Smith recently ordered the IGP to reverse the conversion of the police officers.

It was the order through a letter said to have been issued by Smith urging a reversal of the conversion of about 1000 specialists to general duties officers in the Nigeria Police Force that is at the centre of a major rift at the Commission. Some aggrieved commissioners are crying foul, alleging that the directive given to the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu by the PSC Chairman was unilateral, illegal as it did not follow due process.

Furthermore, it was the disagreement with Smith’s order that compelled some PSC Commissioners to write a letter to IGP Adamu asking him to disregard the Chairman’s order. The letter to the IGP by the PSC Commissioners was signed by Hajiya Najatu Muhammed, Dr Nkem Jombo-ofo, Austin Braimon and Barr Rommy Mom.

The PSC Commissioners told the IGP that their attention had been drawn to a “series of newspaper and online reports with regard to Conversion of General Duty Police Officers o Specialists.”

They added, “This being a policy issue, you are no doubt aware that only the Police Service Commission can validate this action.Our investigation reveals that there are indeed moves by your office towards this conversion, as per several signals sighted in this regard.”

In their bid to show how improper the moves by the Police HQ maybe, the PSC Commissioners in their petition to the IGP practically disowned a letter purportedly written by the Commission asking the IGP to reverse the conversion of the officers.

The Commissioners told the IGP: “We understand your predicament given a purported letter in this regard was sent to you by the Commission,which we are not aware of ,nor has such a letter been subjected to any discussion at the Commission, whether at Managerial or Plenary level.”The petitioners attached a memo stating how the commission operates by law.

In order to ensure that the IGP is properly guided, the PSC Commissioners availed him of some fundamental facts concerning the officers earlier converted to General Duties officers. They said: “The officers wherein a conversion was sought were validly converted from Specialist to General Duties, following a series of communication between the Force Headquarters and the Police Service Commission on the need for such conversion.

“Following years of conversion from the time of IGP Suleiman Abba in 2015,it was finalized in the days of IGP Ibrahim Idris and Mike Okiro -led PSC, which gave the go ahead for the screening and conversion

“A rigorous process of conversion was effected ,huge resources and time expended in trainings and physical screening,wherein two police officers lost teir lives in the process.It was after the satisfactory screening and conversion that the PSC through its plenary approved the conversion.

“To the best of our knowledge as Commissioners within the Commission,this decision of Plenary of the PSC,is yet to be reviewed and no such conversion ,nor memo has been placed before the Plenary of the PSC to warrant a reversal.Not that the decision of Plenary of PSC is supreme and only a subsequent plenary can review such decisions.

“Be guided that all the undersigned are members of the Commission by virtue of the Police Service Commission Act and also members of the Commission Management.No such action can be validly taken without our knowleddge,inputs and sanction.See Section 2 of the Police Service Commission Act.

“For the purpose of emphasis, the decision to reverse these officers from General Duty is such that only the Commission can carry out since it borders on oversight and policy,and certainly NOT an individual within the Commission,not minding Individual office and standing.

The Commissioners therefore advised the IGP to, “Be therefore guided that any purported communication of such a decision by the Commission is illegal and should be disregarded.”

But the commissioners were not done yet as they added that, “It would be irresponsible and insensitive for a country of less than three hundred and fifty police officers that is heavily under-policed and going through the very deep security challenges to reduce the number of police officers from General Duty

“Such decision will appear insensitive to the plight of the Nigerian people whose lives at this point should be the priority of all of us who in one way or another are saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties

“We would imagine that what should occupy the Commission and the NPF at this moment is the recruitment of more police officers,including specialists and provision of equipment so that the lives of Nigerians will be adequately protected by a robust and effective police force”

Those copied by the petitioners include the President and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces; Secretary to the Government of the Federation,Chairman of the Police Service Commission; Minister of Interior; Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs and members; the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Police Affairs and members as well as all Commissioners, Police Service Commission.

The PSC Commissioners their letter to the IGP thus: “The Nigerian people who we represent in the Commission, Women, Human Rights and Non –governmental organisations, Organised Private Sector and the Media were not consulted on this decision, and we therefor reject it in toto and direct that you halt further action, pending a valid communication from the Commission.”

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