7 Controversies That Toppled Former PSC President Musiliu Smith

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Following the resignation of former Inspector General of Police Musiliu Smith as Chairman of the Police Services Commission (PSC), the real reasons that led to his exit have begun to surface, reports Daily Trust on Sunday .

AAlthough management, through commission spokesman Ikechukwu Ani, told reporters that Smith had resigned for “health reasons”, the Daily Trust’s findings on Sunday however revealed that the accumulation of a wide range of issues had led to his ousting.

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Ideally, Smith, who was inaugurated on July 25, 2018, alongside other commissioners, was supposed to lead the commission until July 24, 2023 to complete his five-year term in accordance with the laws that established the organization.

Other commissioners appointed in 2018 alongside Smith and Ogunbiyi include Lawal Bawa, a retired assistant inspector general of police (full-time commissioner, North West); Mohammed Najatu (member, North West); Braimoh Austin (member, South-South); Rommy Mom, Lawyer (Member, North Central) and Dr Nkemka Jombo-Ofo (Member, South East).

This newspaper had exclusively reported how Smith was forced to resign at a board meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, after which he was tasked to hand over to Commissioner 1 and next in line, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi. (retired).

Ogunbiyi, who retired from the Supreme Court, had since taken office on an interim basis. She is expected to exert her influence while President Muhammadu Buhari makes a substantial appointment to the commission.

One of multiple sources who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday said the board meeting discussed the possibility of amending the PSC Act to remove a section which states that an Inspector General of Police retired be appointed to chair the commission.

“Right from the start of the meeting, one of the commissioners said that the defining characteristic and mission of the commission was that it was a civilian oversight body, outside the police. This requires that the PSC be independent and impartial. It can be neither if it is headed by a retired police inspector general.

“This mission is destroyed by the appointment of a recent or former IGP to the presidency of the PSC. After careful deliberation of these matters, a commissioner advised Smith to stand down, after which another commissioner proposed a motion, and he accepted,” the source said.

With the commission’s new development, where “a breath of fresh air” is expected to be seen, the Daily Trust on Sunday highlights seven controversies that brought the former chairman’s five-year term to an abrupt end.

The controversies relate to two main headings, namely: the effective application of the constitutional mandate of the commission and questions of the internal functioning of the commission.

Recruitment

At the height of several attacks, crimes and other security issues in 2018, stakeholders, along with Nigerians, called on President Buhari to inject more personnel into the force.

Shortly after Buhari’s approval at the Federal Executive Council meeting to recruit 10,000 constables every year for four years, the recruiting exercise hit troubled waters when police insisted that she had the mandate to recruit.

But the CPS also stood its ground, insisting it was constitutionally empowered to carry out police recruitment.

The insistence of the police, according to CPS staff, amounted to a usurpation of the commission’s mandate and a “gross and shameful disrespect for the constitution”.

The exercise quickly became a matter of contention, with the police led by a former Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu winning the first round in a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The High Court’s decision was later overturned by the Court of Appeal, which declared that the Police Services Board had constitutional authority to carry out the recruitment of police officers.

promotions scandal

Despite the existence of policies for the processes leading to the promotion of Nigerian Police (NPF) men and officers, audits showed that the commission continued to abdicate its responsibilities to the police under the Smith-led administration.

The evolution, according to some Commissioners who spoke with Daily Trust on Sunday anonymously, gave rise to complaints about acerbic practices and unbalanced opportunities within the NPF.

Checks carried out by our correspondent showed that of all government employees in Nigeria (including the armed forces and other paramilitary organizations), only members of the NPF do not sit for promotion exams because there is no law to this effect.

On June 30, this newspaper reported how the “undue” promotions granted to Ayoola Oladunni and Usman Shugaba, respectively aides-de-camp to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and First Lady Aisha Buhari, had caused concern within the Force. .

MM. Both Oladunni and Shugaba have reportedly been promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) from their previous rank of Chief Superintendents of Police (CSP) with the recommendation of Inspector General of Police Usman Baba. without much input from the PSC.

In lucid terms, the duo were promoted two steps ahead of their colleagues who joined the Force as ASPs. They have remained at the rank of DSP or SP since joining the Force. This offense, according to PSC officials, is not unrelated to the nonchalant attitude of the administration led by Smith.

Dismissal of police officers

Recently, Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba fired some Force officers for offenses that would discredit the Force.

Nigerian police sacked an officer, Richard Gele, in July who justified the extortion in a video clip that went viral on social media.

The IGP has also approved the sacking of a Cross River Command police officer, Liyomo Okoi, after he was recently filmed in a viral video beating a civilian with a cutlass on July 31, 2022.

The developments, some officials say, are some of the main reasons why other commissioners and staff have raised eyebrows at the former CPS chairman.

They alleged that the commission had totally abdicated its responsibility for the police in this regard, claiming that only the commission had the power to discipline offending police officers in accordance with the 1999 constitution as amended.

Non-regular meeting

Along the same lines, some commissioners who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday explained that during the former IGP’s reign as commission boss, their meeting was not until five times.

The official said, “I don’t think our meeting took place up to five times during the term of the outgoing president. Usually, we are supposed to meet regularly to settle some pertinent issues, but this has never happened.

“This issue of recruitment is not supposed to get to this level where the workers of the commission would paralyze our activities before responding to their grievances in this regard.

“There are many decisions that members of the management were supposed to have made that affected the commission before, but we didn’t make them because of the former chief’s body language. The good thing is that everything seems to have come to an end.

Amendment to the PSC Act

Stakeholders on the commission seemed uncomfortable with parts of the PSC law, particularly the part that says a retired police inspector general should lead the agency.

Checks by Daily Trust on Sunday showed that in 2017, among the recommendations of the Bureau of Civil Service Reforms, prominently featured the amendment of the 2001 law establishing the PSC.

Pages 61-71 of the as-obtained document recommends that the PSC Chairman not be a retired police officer.

Several reasons have been given for this recommendation, the main one being the obvious inability of a former police chief to manage impartially the affairs of the commission and the police staff, with whom he worked before his retirement.

Suspected fraud and unfinished office complex

Speaking to reporters at a press briefing last week, Joint Union Congress, PSC Chairman Adoyi Adoyi said workers suspected that funds for completing their office complex had been mishandled. managed by the administration headed by Smith.

Although Daily Trust on Sunday was unable to independently verify Adoyi’s claim, however, he referred our reporter to the commission’s permanent site, located at Jabi in Abuja City Council.

He said one of the reasons they passed a vote of no confidence against Smith was the building’s non-completion despite the huge funds allocated to the project.

“It is quite unfortunate that staff from some departments were invited to resume work at the commission headquarters in Jabi a few weeks ago, but were turned away by the site engineer, who claimed that the organization had failed to meet essential financial commitments,” Smith said.

Staff well-being

Almost daily, commission workers bemoan the negligence of management under the leadership of the former president.

Speaking on the matter, Adoyi said, “As a responsible union, we are bold in declaring that all conditions necessary for continued labor harmony have been violated by management; hence our recourse to continue our agitation until our previous agreements are fully implemented.

“As a result of the above, the union and all staff hereby serve an indefinite strike notice on management, effective August 29, 2022.”

PSC to screen candidates for police jobs next month

Meanwhile, PSC leadership says its portal for applying police officers is still running until September 26, after which the new leadership will shortlist successful candidates.

Ikechukwu Ani, the spokesperson for the commission, in an interview with our reporter on Friday, explained that the recruiting is done according to Federal Character Commission (FCC) laws.

“The portal is still working. The exercise is proceeding as planned. Shortlisting will be done after September 26, when the portal should have been closed,” Ani said.

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