Faceoff Between Police Service Commission, Nigeria Police Force Over Recruitment Process


For sometime now, there has been a controversy surrounding the recruitment of some constables into the Nigeria Police Force, NPF by the Police Service Commission, PSC.

The police service commission, PSC under section 153 (1) of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria in 1999 (as amended) is saddled with the responsibility, among other things to appoint and promote persons to offices as well as to dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons other than the inspector-general of police.

The Nigeria police force, NPF, is the principal law enforcement and the lead security agency in Nigeria, designated by the 1999 constitution (as amended).

To that effect, the 1999 constitution in its capacity has explained the roles and strengths of PSC and NPF duties on recruiting as well as maintaining law and order in the country.

The prolonged conflict between NPF and PSC poses a threat to national security and an embarrassment to the nation.

The faceoff between the NPF and PSC, began when the then inspector-general of police, Mohammed Adamu, moved to recruit 10, 000 constables and then chairman of PSC, Musiliu Smith halted.

The police service commission insisted that the IGP has no such powers to recruit police constables for the force.

The PSC also secured a court judgement stopping the former IGP in its entirety to recruit police constables.

Since 2018, only 20,000 police constables have been recruited.

In 2023, both Nigeria police force and the PSC claimed that the recruitment of the third batch was underway to make it 30,000, but up till now, this has not been achieved, before the fresh controversy.

Recently, the Nigeria police force in a statement raised concerns about irregularities that marred a recent recruitment conducted by the police service commission, which showed that many names of successful candidates were those who did not apply or did not take part in the screening.

The PSC has since challenged NPF to provide evidence to support the allegations peddled against it regarding the recent recruitment of constables.

PSC also accused the police authorities of trying to smuggle over 1,000 candidates into the list, alleging that the IGP office has worked to undermine its efforts.

The allegations by NPF are not a yardstick for the force to go ahead to recruit officers or reject list of constables screened by the commission.

This brawl between the two federal bodies is an eyesore to the nation and a slap to the agencies.

Rather than working together, the two institutions have been undermining one another with serious implications for national security.

The controversy has caused emotional damage on the candidates who applied and were successfully screened by PSC, but later rejected by NPF.

It has also caused a halt in the strength of security architecture in the country as many officers are leaving the force due to retirement.

Furthermore, no recent recruitment has been made to meet united nation’s recommended ratio of one police officer to 450 people as against a ratio of one police officer to about 600 people in Nigeria.

To tackle this issue, both PSC and the NPF need to engage in meaningful dialogue.

They should ensure that their actions are aligned with the broader goal of public safety and service efficiency.

The resolution of this dispute is crucial in maintaining the integrity of Nigeria’s law enforcement system and fostering public confidence in the nation’s policing institutions.

In addition, President Bola Tinubu should set up a committee for an independent review of the circumstances leading to recruitment challenges and a lasting solution to the impasse.

In conclusion, merging of the two agencies can be a way to cut down cost of governance.

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