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Appeal Court faults Police Act 2020 on PSC’s mandate to recruit

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The Court of Appeal has declared the Police Act 2020, enacted in September 2020 as it affects the mandate of the Police Service Commission (PSC) as unconstitutional and void.

The provision of the Act, it ruled, is in conflict with paragraph 30 Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution which empowers the Commission to appoint persons into offices in the Nigeria Police Force except the Office of the Inspector General of Police.

The details of the Appeal Court judgment in the appeal instituted by the Commission against the ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja, was contained in the Certified True Copy (CTC) received by the Commission in Abuja.

In the judgment, Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, one of the three Justices of the Court in his concurrent judgment ruled that Paragraph 30 of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution has given the power to the Commission to appoint persons into offices in the Nigeria Police and did not exclude constables and cadets to Nigeria Police Academy from offices in the Nigeria Police into which the Appellant can appoint persons.

He further declared that no Act of the National Assembly or Law can take away or curtail such power.

Justice Agim noted that even if the Nigeria Police carried out the disputed enlistment pursuant to a directive or approval of the President of the Federation, the enlistment would remain contrary to the Constitution and therefore unconstitutional and void.

In the lead judgment delivered by Justice Olabisi Ige, the Court of Appeal gave a declaration that by virtue of section 1 subsection 3 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), any piece of legislation or instrument relied upon by the Defendants (including but not limited to the Police Act and the Police Regulations) in exercising or purporting to exercise the powers to appoint, promote, dismiss or discipline persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force, being inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution particularly section 153 subsection (1)(m), section 153 subsection (2) and section 215(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Paragraph 30 part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution, is invalid, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

It also gave an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Police, and other defendants, jointly and severally, from interfering or further interfering in any manner howsoever with the Commission’s discharge of its constitutional and statutory functions in respect of the appointment, promotion, dismissal, or exercise of disciplinary control over persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force other than the Inspector General of Police.

In a statement by the Head, Press and Public Relations of the Police Service Commission, Ikechukwu Ani, on Wednesday, they would soon make public its programme of action in respect of recruitment into the Constable Cadre of the Nigeria Police Force and admission into the Police Academy.

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