HURIWA Blasts Buhari Over “Irregular” PSC Appointments
Condemns inclusion of compulsory Arabic exams for potential police recruits
A prominent civil Rights organization – Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider and redress the manifest irregularities that characterised his recent appointments of the members of the governing board of the Police Service Commission [PSC] to bring it up to speed with extant statutory law setting up the body.
The group said the texture of the letter written by President Muhammadu Buhari conveying the appointments on the bases of regional representations and subsequently canvassing legislative confirmation makes it look like Mr President was nominating tribal leaders instead of sticking to the specific classifications enshrined in the enabling Police Service Commission Act.
Relatedly, HURIWA has also condemned as unconstitutional the report it got that the authority of the Nigerian government made Arabic language test compulsory for the prospective police recruits who recently sat for the qualifying aptitude test conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination headed by the erstwhile Secretary General of the Nigerian Islamic Council, Professor Ishaq Oloyede.
HURIWA has asked Nigerians who value the secular nature of our constitution and seek its sanctity to challenge this emerging Islamisation of the Nigeria Police force in the court of competent jurisdiction.
The Rights group said Arabic language is totally alien to us since English is the nation’s lingua franca.
It, therefore, wondered why a non-Arabic speaking Nigerian potential police recruit should be compelled to pass the qualifying examination set in the totally strange language unknown to them unless and except there is a hidden Islamic agenda.
Besides, the Rights group said the appointment of a Moslem to head the establishment of Police Service Commission has now ensured that all internal security institutions and the disciplinary Ombudsman of the nation’s policing institution are headed without exception by citizens of same religious faith which directly offends the Federal Character Principles enshrined in the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended).
HURIWA said the decision by President Buhari to concentrate the command and control of all the strategic security apparatuses including the Army, Police, Directorate of State services; National Intelligence agency; Nigeria Customs and Nigerian Immigration and now Police Service Commission in the hands of Nigerians of same Religious faith amounts to discrimination of other faiths and is a grave threat to national security.
HURIWA, through the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, also specifically faulted the latest appointments into the Police Service Commission in which Mr President listed the names against Regional zones when the law setting up the body only recognises representation on some other grounds such as representatives of Women, Civil/Human Rights Community and the organised private sector.
HURIWA recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had written to the Senate, requesting for the screening and subsequent confirmation of former Inspector- General of Police, IGP, Musiliu Adeola Smith as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, PSC.
It said the letter from the President erroneously stated that Mr. Smith, is representing South West even as HURIWA recalled that Musiliu Smith was the Police boss in Nigeria between May 1999 to March 2002 and if approved by the Senate, he would replace a former inspector- General of Police, Sir Mike Mbama Okiro.
HURIWA recalled that President Buhari is also seeking the approval of the Senate for the appointment of Justice Clara Bata. Ogunbiyi, retd as full time Commissioner of the PSC , representing the North West and Lawal Bawa, a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, as a full time Commissioner.
HURIWA recalled that according to the letter sent by President Buhari, members of the Commission are Mohammed Najatu, representing North West; Braimoh Adogame Austin, representing South South; Barrister Rommy Mom for North Central and Dr. Nkemka Osimiri Jombo- Ofo for South East.
HURIWA recalled that Buhari in the letter said: “In compliance with the provision of Sections 154(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria( As amended), I write to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the understated names as the Chairman and members of the Police Service Commission, PSC.
“I attach herewith their CVs.
“While thanking you immensely in anticipation of the early consideration and confirmation of the above appointments by the Distinguished Senate.
“Please accept, Mr. Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”
HURIWA, however, faulted the appointments on these regional and ethnic representations because according to it, the enabling Act ENACTED BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA in its PART I-ESTABLISHMENT, ETC OF THE POLICE SERVICE COMMISSION; the law stated thus:
“1. – (1) There is hereby established a body to be known as the Police Service Commission (In this Act referred to as “the Commission”).
(4th January, 2001) Commencement
Establishment of the Police Service Commission
(a.) shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal; and (b) may sue or be sued in its corporate name
(3) The headquarters of the Commission shall be at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
- – (1) The management of the Commission shall vest in the following members, whose appointment shall be in line with the Federal Character provision of the Constitution –
(a) a Chairman who shall be the Chief Executive of the Commission; (b) a retired Justice of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal;
(c) a retired Police Officer not below the rank of Commissioner of Police; (d) one representative each of –
Management of the Commission
A4 2001 No. 1
(i.) Women interest;
(ii.) the Nigerian Press;
(iii.) Non-Governmental human rights organisations in Nigeria
(iv) organized Private Sector;
(v) the Secretary to the Service Commission”.
The Rights group recalled that in all of the above provisions there was no mention of appointments on those regional grounds even though the law clearly provided for respect to the constitutional provision of federal Character Principles which if a total interpretation of the key security appointments made by the current government is to be taken, would show clear violations of this constitutional provisions.
HURIWA has therefore asked President Buhari to tell Nigerians the basis for the appointment of these Nigerians who are to represent their Ethnic groups instead of complying strictly with the letters and wordings enshrined in the enabling law setting up the Police Service Commission.
The group has therefore asked the National Assembly to ensure compliance to the law which was enacted by the National Assembly.
The Nigerian Union of Journalists [NUJ] should demand that a journalist is also appointed as a Federal Commissioner in the Police Service Commission just as it stated that it may petition the National Assembly to compel the hierarchy to demand strict compliance to the letters of the law.