Arase: 22 CSOs urge President Tinubu to reverse removal of PSC

By: Kingsley Omonobi

Following the sudden removal of the Chairman of the Police Service Commission by President Bola Tinubu and the announcement of a replacement, 22 Civil Society Organizations in the country have called on the President to reverse the action without delay saying it violated the Police Service Commission act.

They are the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center (RULAAC), NOPRIN Foundation, Open Society on Justice Reform Project, Confluence of Rights, Nigeria, Criminal Justice Network of Nigeria, Justice for Peace and Development Initiative, Legal Resources Consortium, Centre for Community Empowerment in Conflict and Peacebuilding – Kaduna, Rural and Urban Development Initiative, Dataphyte Foundation and Equity International Initiative (EII).

Others are Centre For Youth Participation Dialogue and Advocacy (CYPA), Africa, Advocacy Hub International, Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development IRIAD, Human Right Advocacy and Monitoring Group (HURAMG), Creative Minds Center for Youth and Community Development (CM-CYCD), Centre for Human Rights Advocacy and Wholesome Society (CEHRAWS), Kuyimiki Development Initiative (KDI), Centre for the Advocacy of Justice and Rights, Centre for Transparency Advocacy, Koyenum Immalah Foundation and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)

“The CSO’s said, “We, the undersigned civil society organisations in Nigeria, received with serious concern the decision by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to remove the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Dr. Solomon Arase.

We note that the State House Press Release dated June 10, 2024, through which the removal was announced did not disclose any reason for the said removal.

“We are also concerned that this removal appears to have violated the established legal procedure for the removal of the PSC Chairman. Section 5, subsection 1 of the PSC Act provides that,

“Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 4 of this Act, the Chairman and any other member, may at any time be removed from office by the President acting on an address supported by a two-thirds majority of the Senate praying that he be removed for inability to discharge the functions of the Office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause of misconduct).”_

“We are worried that such a decision by the President further undermines the independence, effectiveness, and confidence of the Commission to discharge its mandate without undue interference as stipulated by the Police Service Commission Act.

“While we welcome this recruitment, we are worried about the renewed and needless controversy associated with the power games around police recruitment, despite the Supreme Court‘s judgment of July 11, 2023, which affirmed the power of the commission under the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act, 2001 to handle police recruitment functions.

“We also note that Section 6 (2) of the PSC Act stipulates that

“The Commission shall not be subject to the direction, control or supervision of any other authority or person in the performance of its functions other than as is prescribed in this Act”.

“We believe that this controversy does not serve the interest of the NPF as an institution or the interest of the country.

“Today, Nigerians are celebrating Democracy Day. One of the fundamental attributes of a democratic system is respect for the rule of law and due process, thus Mr President should holistically address this issue.

“We therefore call on the President to reverse this purported removal of the Chairman of the PSC and fully constitute the Board of the Commission.

“We also call for a conclusion of the police recruitment process, including training and deployment, considering that even the IGP stated recently that more than 20,000 police personnel needed to be recruited annually to boost police manpower requirements. The numbers for recruitment can also be boosted through the Cadet ASP short course.

“We will use this opportunity to also call on the National Assembly to maximise its powers of checks and balances over actions by the Executive.

“The total disregard for the rule of law in this instance further fuels the fears of the Nigerian people about the vulnerability of the operations of the Nigeria Police by the political class. This is not good for our democracy and standing in the comity of nations.

“We are looking forward to a quick and positive resolution of the situation for the good of a thriving democracy and the good of the country.”

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