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Appeal court says Police Act 2020 violates Nigerian constitution

THE Court of Appeal has ruled that the Police Act 2020 is unconstitutional, saying that it breaches the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

According to a statement signed by Ikechukwu Ani, the spokesperson of the Police Service Commission (PSC), the court ruled that the Police Act 2020 signed into law by Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian President violates the constitutional mandate that established the PSC.

The statement further read that in the ruling, the Court of Appeal nullified the recruitment of 10,000 constables who have already graduated into the Nigerian Police Force.

In the ruling, the court held that 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 for the Office of the Inspector-General of Police,” has been breached by the act.

The PSC said that as contained in the certified copy of the judgement, the Court ruled that ‘no Act of the National Assembly can take away or curtail the power’ of the PSC as stated in the constitution.

“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,” Ani quoted Justice Olabisi Ige to have said while giving the judgement.

The Court further gave an order of perpetual injunction restraining the police, and other defendants from interfering or further interfering in any manner, howsoever, with the commission’s discharge of its constitutional and statutory functions.

The PSC and the Inspector General of the Police Force, Muhammad Adamu, have been at loggerheads over the recruitment of 10,000 police constables earlier in 2019.

Following the power tussle, Buhari signed the Police Act 2020 earlier in September vesting the power to recruit police constables in the hands of the IGP.

As seen by The ICIR, in Part V (18) (1), the Police Act 2020 reads that ‘the responsibility for the recruitment of recruit constables into the Nigeria Police Force and recruit cadets into the Nigeria Police Academy shall be the duty of the Inspector-General of the Police’.

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