By Ed Malik, A | January 24, 2023

Prominent civil rights advocacy group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) says the nomination of the erstwhile Inspector General of Police Mr. Solomon Arase as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission was suspected to be facilitated by the current Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba and the Federal Attorney General Abubakar Malami (SAN) to deploy him as a willing tool to forestall the critical moves by the Police Service Commission’s Commissioners and the Union to defend the constitutional independence of the Police Service Commission.

HURIWA in a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko disclosed that two reliable sources in the Presidency informed the organisation few weeks back that the IGP and the AGF are pushing the name of Solomon Arase as the successor of the disgraced Musliu Smith who was forced out of the commission by the staff Union of the Police Service Commission that accused him of betraying the commission and making the otherwise constitutionally independent agency to become an extension of the office of the IGP just because the IGP wants to take over the powers and functions of the Police Service Commission such as appointments and enlistment of constables amongst a few other mandates just to whittle down the powers of the Police Service Commission.

HURIWA said the Police Service Commission had in a very recent letter to IGP Usman Baba leaked to the media, decried the recent posting of the Commissioner of Police for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) without its notification. “The commission is all the more concerned by this act of illegality as the 2023 general election approaches wherein state governors may want postings of commissioners of police of their choices to their states, which can lead to political violence and crisis during the elections,” the PSC, currently headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Clara Ogunbiyi, warned in the letter that makes a dangerous political insinuation in a crucial election season.

Besides, HURIWA recalled that two years ago, the Court of Appeal declared certain aspects of the Police Act 2020 signed into law by President Buhari unconstitutional and void. According to the court, “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.”

HURIWA was told that the IGP and the AGF who got the buy-in of the Chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari and his powerful Personal Assistant, quickly moved to get the nomination of Solomon Arase processed and despatched to the Senate just before President Muhammadu Buhari jetted out to Senegal just to ensure that the Police Service Commission remains subservient to the office of the IGP and for its independence to be killed off. HURIWA recalled that the Attorney General and minister of Justice had joined forces with the IGP to fight the Police Service Commission over independence in the court of law but were disgraced by the Court of Appeal when the Appellate court recognised the supremacy and independence of the Police Service Commission regarding police recruitment amongst their other mandates as a constitutionally backed agency. HURIWA said the appointment of Solomon Arase will cripple the Police Service Commission.

HURIWA recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari has just appointed Solomon Arase, a former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC).

The appointment is subject to the confirmation of the senate.

In a letter at plenary on Tuesday, Senate President Ahmad Lawan based his request on Sections 153 (1) and 154 (1) of the constitution as amended.

If confirmed, Arase will succeed Musiliu Smith, also a former IGP. Smith resigned under controversial circumstances last year.

HURIWA said the appointment of Solomon Arase is like hitting the death nail on the police Service Commission just as the group said the Senate under Ahmed Lawan being a bootlicking and sycophantic loyalist of President Muhammadu Buhari won’t have the presence of mind to do what is needful to ensure that the killing of PSC is not achieved with the appointment of someone recommended allegedly by the IGP that is at war with the PSC.

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