Police commissioners shun promotion interview
The power tussle between the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, and the Police Service Commission deepened on Friday as Commissioners of Police and Deputy Commissioners of Police failed to appear before the commission for their promotion interview.
It is believed that the senior officers boycotted the exercise on the directive of the IG.
It was gathered that the latest development was informed by the IG’s opposition to the PSC’s insistence on deciding the posting of CPs to states ahead of the election.
The police boss had been having a running battle with the PSC over the recruitment of constables.
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Last week, he wrote to the commission to suspend the promotion interview for CPs and DCPs pending the resumption of the new PSC Chairman, Mr Solomon Arase.
Arase, a retired IG, was appointed as the commission’s substantive chairman by the President Muhammadu Buhari last month.
The appointment of the former police boss has since been approved by the Senate and he is expected to be sworn in soon.
Arase will take over the leadership of the commission from the acting chairman, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court.
Ogunbiyi replaced the former chairman, Musiliu Smith, who resigned in September, 2022, on the grounds of ill-health.
However, the commission had directed Baba to ask the officers who were due for promotion to their next rank to appear for interview at its plenary on Friday where the transfer of CPs to two state commands would also be decided.
But the IG in a letter to Ogunbiyi dated January 30, 2023 objected to the planned deployment of CPs to states and asked the commission to suspend its plenary until Arase assumes office.
The letter, signed by the Force Secretary, AIG Hafiz Inuwa, was titled, ‘Re: Promotion Interview for Officers from the Rank of CP to AIG and DCP to CP.’
It read, “Following the appointment of IGP Solomon Arase (retd.), by the President as the substantive chairman of the PSC and his subsequent confirmation by the Senate on 24th January, 2023; the IGP respectfully advise that the commission should suspend its plenary to allow for the new chairman of the commission to resume office.”
But the PSC in its response described the IG’s letter as an affront to the law.
The commission’s letter signed by Ogunbiyi, further informed Baba that PSC plenary scheduled for February 2 and 3 would go on as planned.
In addition, the retired jurist insisted that officers invited for the promotion interview slated for Friday (February 3) must appear for the exercise.
The letter stated in part, “For the avoidance of doubt, the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act, 2001, section 6, subsection 2, states that ‘The commission shall not be subject to the direction, control or supervision of any other be authority or person in the performance of its functions other than is prescribed in this Act’. The Inspector-General of Police has not been stated as an exception to this provision of the law.