IGP Idris, police commission chairman at loggerheads over planned demotion of officers

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Smith and IGP Idris
Smith and IGP Idris

The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, has advised the new board of Police Service Commission, PSC, chaired by former IGP Musiliu Smith to follow laid down procedure in the planned demotion of some police officers who were promoted since his appointment as the IGP in 2016.

In a letter dated September 23, 2018, and obtained by DAILY NIGERIAN, Mr Idris questioned the constitutionality and legality of the commission to demote these officers he had already promoted in good faith.

However, Mr Idris said even though the PSC Chairman has the right to discipline or demote officers of the force, he has to tread the path of constitutionality, legality, duties and powers conferred on his offices and that of the IGP by the extant laws.

The IGP told Mr Smith that the functions, roles, inherent powers and duties of the offices of PSC Chairman and the IGP are unambiguous and are contained in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Police Act, Police Regulations and Police Service Commission Act.

“I appeal to the highly experienced Chairman of the Commission and a well-respected former IGP, not to allow the Police head for a collision.

‘’On my appointment as the IGP on the 22nd of June 2016, I assured President Muhammadu Buhari of my determination to confront crime and criminality in the country in line with the mantra of His Excellency. I have largely succeeded on this promise as there is hardly any major crime without a breakthrough.

“This was made possible with the support of highly dedicated, professional, efficient and committed officers who worked day and night to ensure their arrest and prosecution while others are lazing about in search of posting.

“The only way to encourage and motivate these officers for greater efficiency is to recommend them for a special promotion in line with the general principles of promotion”.

“These recommendations were duly approved by the Commission and letters of promotion issued to them and the officers posted accordingly and are performing efficiently. For the same Commission to demote them outside their power of discipline to say the least will be arbitrary, selective and discriminatory.

“I am however quite certain that the Chairman will not tow this line of action despite petitions from disgruntled officers. If it does, the Police Service Commission, the Nigeria Police and the affected officers will not only be locked in very serious litigations but in controversies and scandals that will not do the Police any good”.

Mr Idris, who stated that his office had not been duly contacted before embarking on such exercise as required by the laws and protocol, averred that he had to write to draw attentions of the PSC chairman and Justice Ogunbiyi, in that regard.

Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello has assigned the suit for the enforcement of fundamental right filed by a group of human right activists seeking to stop the planned demotion of the officers to Justice O.A. Adenyi sitting at Apo, Abuja.

The activists have asked the Abuja High Court to halt an exercise by the Police Service Commission to demote some police officers who enjoyed special promotion recently for gallantry and superlative performance.

However, efforts to reach Mr Smith’s personal assistant, Olayinka Balogun, proved abortive as at the time of filing this report.