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Court declares 2020 Police Act illegal, refrains IGP from officers’ promotion, others

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Barely three months after the National Assembly passed Police Act 2020, an Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has declared that the sections of the act that affected the constitutional mandate of Police Service Commission (PSC) was unconstitutional and should be expunged.

The court argued that provisions of the act on PSC were obviously in conflict with paragraph 30 Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (amended).

In its ruling, the court further refrains office of Inspector General of Police (IGP) from interfering in any functions of the PSC particularly on appointment, promotion and dismissal of personnel in the country.

The court judgement came days after the PSC stood down promotion of 112 senior police officers sent by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, for not complying with the directive of the commission to attach the presidential approval for the creation of additional police zonal commands and departments from where the vacancies for the recommended officers were harvested.

In a statement released by Head, Press and Public Relations, PSC, Ikechukwu Ani, on Wednesday, the three judges including Justice  Emmanuel Agim and Justice Olabisi Ige, said that the law empowers PSC to appoint persons into offices in the Nigeria Police Force except for the Office of the IGP.

Justice Agim, in the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement, ruled that Paragraph 30 of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution had empowered PSC to employ police officers and that it did not exclude constables and cadets for the Academy.

While declaring that no Act of the National Assembly could take away such power, the judge noted that even if the Nigeria Police carried out the disputed enlistment in pursuant to a directive of the President, employment would remain contrary to provisions of the Constitution.

Also in his judgement, Justice Ige ruled that by virtue of section 1 subsection 3 of the  Constitution, any piece of legislation relied upon by the Police including Police Act and the Police Regulations, to exercise its powers of appointing, promoting and dismissing persons were inconsistent with the law.

According to him, the provisions of the Constitution particularly section 153 subsection (1)(m), section 153 subsection (2) and section 215(1)(b) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) and Paragraph 30, part 1 of the 1999 constitution Third Schedule were null and void.

Aside from that, the judge issued a perpetual injunction restraining the IGP from interfering in any manner whatsoever with the PSC constitutional functions.

“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”.

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