Three former Inspectors-General of Police and a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police are now competing to succeed ex-IGP Musiliu Smith as Chairman of the Police Service Commission.
Former police chiefs were believed to have sought the help of high government officials in order to be considered for the top post.
Smith, who took office with the other commissioners on July 25, 2018, was expected to finish his five-year term in July 2023, but he resigned approximately two weeks ago due to health concerns.
His term was plagued by a squabble with police officials over the recruitment of police constables.
Clara Ogunbiyi, a former Supreme Court Justice and Commissioner 1 on the board, has taken over in an interim capacity.
“There is intense jostling for the position of PSC chairman,” a senior source stated. The candidates have sought the support of top government officials in the Presidency.
“As we speak, one of the candidates is in New York meeting with President Buhari to finalize the arrangement. “On his return to the country, the retired police officer may be announced as the new chairman of the commission.”
“The development is causing tension among the PSC workers because they fear that the situation that pervaded the agency under Smith would continue if another retired IG is appointed as the chairman.”
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has set a hearing date for the police appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision upholding the PSC’s constitutional power to recruit constables.
According to the PUNCH, the matter, which had been dormant for almost two years, has been resurrected and is now scheduled for hearing in the Supreme Court early next month.
On September 30, 2020, a three-member panel of the appellate court led by Justice Olabisi Ige issued a unanimous decision holding that the IGP lacks the authority to recruit for the police force. The court ruled that the Police Service Commission had sole authority to recruit.
The ruling overruled a December 2, 2019 ruling by a Federal High Court in Abuja that supported the IGP’s authority to hire 10,000 constables.
Ikechukwu Ani, a PSC spokeswoman, confirmed the development, adding that the police appeal will be considered in October.
The acting PSC chairman, Ogunbiyi, recently sought to meet with IG Usman Baba and the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi, to settle the recruiting situation, according to Punch.