Daily Trust

IMF cuts Nige­ria’s 2021 growth out­look to 1.7% Po­lice re­form suf­fers set­back as A/Court voids Act

We can’t re­form po­lice by leg­is­la­tion – Lawyers No ex-SARS op­er­a­tive will be part of SWAT – IG Pro, anti-SARS protests con­tinue

- By Mau­reen Onochie, John Chuks Azu, Muideen Olaniyi, Ab­dul­la­teef Salau, Terkula Igidi, Abubakar Sadiq Isah, Ab­bas Ji­moh, Olayemi John- Men­sah (Abuja), Sani Ibrahim Paki (Kano) & Ti­tus Eleweke (Awka) Nigeria Politics · Nigeria News · Police brutality · Crime · U.S. News · White-collar Crime · Discrimination · Politics · African Politics · Human Rights · Society · International Monetary Fund · Nigeria · Muhammadu Buhari · National Assembly of South Africa · Ministry of Justice (Ukraine) · Atiku Abubakar · Media Trust · Femi Adesina · Lagos · U.S. Supreme Court · England · People’s Democratic Party (Nigeria) · Democratic Party (United States) · Sokoto · Tambuwal · Abuja · Nigeria Police Force · Abubakar Malami · Gwandu · PDP Governors Forum · Sokoto State

The Court of Ap­peal has de­clared that the Po­lice Act 2020, en­acted in Septem­ber this year as it af­fects the con­sti­tu­tional man­date of the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (PSC) is un­con­sti­tu­tional and void.

An­a­lysts be­lieved the nul­li­fi­ca­tion of the act was a se­ri­ous set­back for Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari who as­sented to the bill and the Na­tional Assem­bly, which signed it into law.

Pres­i­dent Buhari had promised re­form of the Nige­ria Po­lice Force amidst con­tin­ued #EndSARS vi­o­lent protests across the coun­try de­spite the scrap­ping of the anti-rob­bery out­fit.

It was gath­ered that the de­tails of the Ap­peal Court judg­ment, which nul­li­fied the Po­lice Act, 2020, were con­tained in the Cer­ti­fied True Copy re­ceived by the PSC yes­ter­day.

A state­ment signed by the PSC’s Head of Press and Pub­lic Re­la­tions, Mr Ikechukwu Ani, said the Court of Ap­peal judg­ment ruled that the pro­vi­sion of the act was ob­vi­ously in con­flict with 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 In­spec­torGen­eral of Po­lice.

He said Jus­tice Em­manuel Ako­maye Agim, one of the three Jus­tices of the Court, in his con­cur­rent judg­ment, ruled that Para­graph 30 of Part 1 of the Third Sched­ule to the 1999 Con­sti­tu­tion has given the power to the com­mis­sion to ap­point per­sons into of­fices in the Nige­ria Po­lice “and did not ex­clude con­sta­bles and cadets to Nige­ria Po­lice Academy from of­fices in the Nige­ria Po­lice into which the Ap­pel­lant can ap­point per­sons.”

Ani stated that Agim de­clared that no act of the Na­tional Assem­bly or law could take away or cur­tail such power.

Ac­cord­ing to him, Agim noted that even if the Nige­ria Po­lice car­ried out the dis­puted en­list­ment pur­suant to a direc­tive or ap­proval of the pres­i­dent of the fed­er­a­tion, “the en­list­ment would re­main con­trary to the con­sti­tu­tion and there­fore un­con­sti­tu­tional and void. Such a direc­tive can­not re­pair its un­con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity and il­le­gal­ity.”

Ani men­tioned that the com­mis­sion would soon make pub­lic its pro­gramme of ac­tion in re­spect of re­cruit­ments into the Con­sta­ble Cadre of the Nige­ria Po­lice Force and ad­mis­sion into the Po­lice Academy.

Pres­i­dency, Se­nate de­cline com­ment

When con­tacted for com­ment, the spokesman of the pres­i­dent, Malam Garba Shehu asked our reporter to con­tact the At­tor­ney Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion and Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Abubakar Malami.

How­ever, Malami’s spokesman, Dr Umar Gwandu, said they needed to see the de­tails of the judg­ment be­fore com­ment­ing on the mat­ter.

“We haven’t seen the report but we will make our opin­ion known as soon as we see it,” he told the Daily Trust last night.

There was no com­ment from the Force Head­quar­ters at the time of fil­ing this report.

Pres­i­dent Buhari had in a memo dated Septem­ber 16, 2020, com­mu­ni­cated his as­sent to the Po­lice Act 2020, to the Na­tional Assem­bly.

His Special Ad­viser on Me­dia, Femi Adesina, in a state­ment is­sued on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 17, 2020, said the Act re­pealed the Po­lice Act Cap. P19 Laws of the Fed­er­a­tion, 2004.

Adesina added that the Act pro­vides for a more ef­fec­tive and well or­gan­ised Po­lice Force, driven by the prin­ci­ples of trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity in its oper­a­tions and man­age­ment of its re­sources.

When ap­proached to com­ment on the mat­ter, Se­nate Spokesper­son, Aji­bola Basiru, in a re­sponse to Daily Trust in­quiry, said he would only re­act when he reads the judg­ment.

‘We can’t re­form po­lice by leg­is­la­tion’

Se­nior lawyers have called for holis­tic con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment that would in­cor­po­rate re­forms of the Nige­rian Po­lice Force, which they said can­not be done by acts of par­lia­ment.

Paul Anan­aba (SAN) said Nigerians must learn to act in ac­cor­dance with the con­sti­tu­tion in re­form­ing the Nige­rian Po­lice.

“It has to be by proper re­view of the con­sti­tu­tion by amend­ment; we have done four al­ter­ations al­ready and now the Na­tional Assem­bly is em­bark­ing on an­other al­ter­ation of the con­sti­tu­tion.

“Many times, we try to do the same thing the wrong way. You re­call that in 2005, the Na­tional Assem­bly en­acted a Mone­tary Act for Lo­cal Govern­ment Funds, and you saw that the At­tor­neys Gen­eral of Abia, Delta and La­gos went to the Supreme Court to chal­lenge it. And the Supreme Court said ‘yes, you can­not use an Act of Par­lia­ment to amend the con­sti­tu­tion’,” he said.

In his con­tri­bu­tion, Yusuf Ali (SAN) said when it comes to ap­point­ment into the Nige­rian Po­lice, the con­sti­tu­tion must pre­vail over the Po­lice Act as pro­nounced by the Court of Ap­peal. He called for an amend­ment to en­sure that state gov­er­nors, who are the chief se­cu­rity of­fi­cers of their states, have the au­thor­ity to give law­ful or­ders to the po­lice and other se­cu­rity agen­cies.

“One of the things we have to do is to copy what they do in Eng­land and other places where they have the po­lice om­buds­man out­side the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, that will a body of in­de­pen­dent Nigerians who have been tested. They have the pow­ers to rec­om­mend dis­missal,” he said.

For his part, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) said the pro­nounce­ment of the Court of Ap­peal on the Po­lice Act is fi­nal even on an Act of the Na­tional Assem­bly based on the doc­trine of sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers.

“The func­tion of the ju­di­ciary un­der Sec­tion 6 of the Con­sti­tu­tion is to in­ter­pret laws made by the leg­is­la­ture un­der Sec­tion 4, which are en­forced un­der Sec­tion 5 by the ex­ec­u­tive. Once the court has pro­nounced on any is­sue that is fi­nal in the sense of fi­nal­ity,” he said.

“Once the Court of Ap­peal has ruled that that sec­tion is null and void and that it is only the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion that can re­cruit and not the In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice that is the end of the mat­ter un­less that judg­ment is over­turned by a su­pe­rior court. So, the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion is right,” he said.

No ex- SARS op­er­a­tive will be part of SWAT - Po­lice

The Force Head­quar­ters said yes­ter­day that no for­mer op­er­a­tive of the dis­banded Special Anti-Rob­bery Squad (SARS) will be part of the new Special Weapons and Tac­tics (SWAT) unit.

The com­ment came fol­low­ing ag­i­ta­tions that the SWAT would be made up of the dis­banded SARS of­fi­cials.

In a se­ries of tweets yes­ter­day, Frank Mba, who is the pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer of the po­lice said “the Man­date of the new tac­ti­cal team is strictly re­stricted to; Re­sponse to rob­bery at­tacks, Re­sponse to scenes of weapon-re­lated crimes, Res­cue oper­a­tions, [and] Special oper­a­tions in­volv­ing high pro­file crim­i­nals.”

Ac­cord­ing to him, “No per­son­nel of the de­funct SARS will be se­lected to be part of the new tac­ti­cal team. Oper­a­tions of the new tac­ti­cal team will be strictly in­tel­li­gence-driven.

“Mem­bers of the new tac­ti­cal team will by no means em­bark on rou­tine pa­trols. Mem­bers of the new tac­ti­cal team are barred from in­dis­crim­i­nate and un­law­ful search of phones, lap­tops and other smart de­vices.

“Op­er­a­tives of the new tac­ti­cal team must be free of any pend­ing dis­ci­plinary mat­ter es­pe­cially those touch­ing on mis­use of firearms and abuse of hu­man rights,” he said.

PDP govs de­mand re­peal of new Po­lice Act

How­ever, gov­er­nors elected on the plat­form of the Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) yes­ter­day de­scribed as ‘un­con­sti­tu­tional’ some sec­tions of the newly signed Po­lice Act, 2020, which was set aside by the Court of Ap­peal.

The PDP gov­er­nors dur­ing a meet­ing that was held via Zoom, called for the im­me­di­ate re­peal of all con­tro­ver­sial sec­tions over al­leged con­sti­tu­tional breaches.

A com­mu­niqué signed by the Chair­man of PDP Gov­er­nors

Fo­rum and Gover­nor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tam­buwal, at the end of the meet­ing, which was made avail­able to news­men noted that there were dis­crep­an­cies in S.12(2) and S.12(4) of the Act.

They specif­i­cally im­plored the pres­i­dent and the Na­tional Assem­bly to re­peal Sec­tion 4(1) of the Nige­ria Po­lice Trust Fund (Es­tab­lish­ment) Act, 2019, which “pur­port­edly au­tho­rises the pres­i­dent to deduct 0.5% of the to­tal rev­enue ac­cru­ing to the Fed­er­a­tion Ac­count for the ben­e­fit of the Nige­ria Po­lice Trust Fund.”

Ac­cord­ing to them, the said de­duc­tion was patently un­con­sti­tu­tional.

“The Fo­rum fur­ther ob­served the dis­crep­an­cies in S.12(2) and S.12(4) of the Act on the ap­pro­pri­ate au­thor­ity with re­spon­si­bil­ity to de­ploy Po­lice Com­mis­sion­ers to the re­spec­tive States. Whereas S.12 (2) gives the re­spon­si­bil­ity to the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion, S. 12(4) gives ei­ther the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion or In­spec­tor-Gen­eral of Po­lice the same re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“This is even more re­gret­table as the con­sti­tu­tion gives this re­spon­si­bil­ity to the Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (S. 215) (1)(b). We ad­vise that the con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sion be up­held.

“Fur­ther­more, the fo­rum can­vassed for ap­pro­pri­ate con­sul­ta­tions with the gov­er­nors of var­i­ous states on the de­ploy­ment of po­lice com­mis­sion­ers to the states since the po­lice is a com­mon in­sti­tu­tion that ex­e­cutes the laws of both the fed­eral and state gov­ern­ments,” the gov­er­nors said.

Hood­lums at­tack #EndSARS pro­test­ers, van­dalise cars

Hood­lums yes­ter­day at­tacked the #EndSARS pro­test­ers who formed a block­ade at the Berger in­ter­sec­tion in Abuja.

The hood­lums bran­dish­ing cut­lasses and cud­gels in­vaded the Berger four­way-in­ter­sec­tion where the pro­test­ers camped since last week­end.

Some of the pro­test­ers al­leged that the hood­lums were spon­sored con­sid­er­ing that they drove in buses and no­body ob­structed their move­ments up till the time they at­tacked their tar­gets.

An eye­wit­ness, Mr An­thony Iky­oive, said the thugs at­tacked and in­jured un­spec­i­fied num­ber of peo­ple and van­dalised at least five cars parked in the area.

Daily Trust learnt the pro­test­ers re­grouped and chased away the hood­lums. The pro­test­ers caused grid­lock in the city.

One of our re­porters who was caught in a sim­i­lar protest along Air­port Road in Abuja ob­served that hood­lums at­tacked the #EndSARS pro­test­ers with sticks and some dan­ger­ous weapons.

The FCT Po­lice Com­mis­sioner, Bala Ciroma, con­firmed the in­ci­dents say­ing five ve­hi­cles were van­dalised dur­ing the clash, which he said en­sued between sup­port­ers of SARS and the #EndSARS pro­test­ers.

He said the com­mand was not aware of any ca­su­alty recorded dur­ing the clash, even as he said the com­mand was still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent.

Ral­lies, protests in states

Hun­dreds of youths staged a peace­ful rally in Kano call­ing for the re­form of SARS in­stead of scrap­ping it.

The youths, un­der the um­brella of Coali­tion of Kano State Youths, matched from the state’s Min­istry for In­for­ma­tion at the Audu Bako Sec­re­tar­iat to the Govern­ment House car­ry­ing big banners with in­scrip­tions that called on Pres­i­dent Buhari and the IGP to re­con­sider the scrap­ping of ARS.

The leader of the youths, Sunusi Kani said the rally was to send a mes­sage to the fed­eral govern­ment that the po­lice SARS only needed re­for­ma­tion rather than end­ing it.

Gover­nor Ab­dul­lahi Umar Gan­duje in his re­sponse thanked the youths for their fore­sight and promised to for­ward their de­mands to Pres­i­dent Buhari for con­sid­er­a­tion. In Anam­bra, protests con­tin­ued yes­ter­day in Awka with a call for a to­tal re­form of the Nige­ria Po­lice Force. The pro­test­ers also de­manded for the pros­e­cu­tion of a for­mer SARS boss in the state, CSP James Nwafor, whom they ac­cused of killing and maim­ing count­less young peo­ple in the state.

La­gos CP cau­tions op­er­a­tives po­lice

The Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice in La­gos State, Ha­keem Odu­mosu, has warned of­fi­cers and men of the dis­banded SARS to de­sist from parad­ing them­selves as such in line with the direc­tive of IGP Adamu.

Odu­mosu gave this warn­ing while de­brief­ing op­er­a­tives of the dis­banded SARS in­clud­ing the Anti- Kid­nap­ping Squad, Anti -Cultism Squad and Raider at the Com­mand Head­quar­ters in Ikeja.

He said the de­brief­ing was in com­pli­ance with the direc­tive of the IG to dis­band and ground the ac­tiv­i­ties of the teams in the state.

He ad­vised the af­fected of­fi­cers to hand over all pend­ing cases to the State Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Depart­ment, Panti, Yaba, with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

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 ??  ?? In­spec­tor-Gen­eral of Po­lice, Mo­hammed Adamu
In­spec­tor-Gen­eral of Po­lice, Mo­hammed Adamu

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