*A mockery of logic and an irritating display of ignorance
From Pelumi Olajengbesi
It has become crucial as a patriotic public interest lawyer to enlighten the Nigeria Police Service Commission on some crucial points of law as it has evidently misconstrued it’s purpose and authority by law in the ongoing melodrama between Senator Misau and the Nigeria Police Force.
Just last week, we all woke up to the news that the Police Service Commission had invited Senator Misau for appearance before it on Wednesday 6th September, 2017 for investigation and clarification over the allegation by the Police Force of the forgery of his resignation letter from its employ.
By the context and content of that summon, the Commission turns logic on its head. That invitation and it’s purpose is a show of ignorance and an admission of administrative ineptitude.
How on earth would the expected and legitimate custodians of a document, where same emanates from their authority, call upon an outsider to produce his copy of same ostensibly to prove it’s authenticity rather than go through their record to ascertain the validity or otherwise of the document, if same ever existed or emanated from them. The Police Service Commission could have simply said we have or we do not have Senator Misau ‘s letter of resignation.
Is this then a case of an improper record system? Could this be an admission by the Police Commission that even they cannot be relied upon for information about serving and retired employees? While these questions beg for answers, the Commission and the Force continue their public dance of shame unabashed.
It is our intention to espouse the position of the law as opposed to lay views on the legitimacy or otherwise of the invitation of Senator Misau by the Police Service Commission.
The Police Service Commission is an establishment of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) by virtue of Section 153(1)(m) and by a further provision of the Third Schedule. Part 1(30)(m) of the 1999 CFRN provides for the powers of the Commission which includes and is restricted to:
- Appoint persons to office (other than the office of the Inspector-General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force; and
- Dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding any office referred to in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph.
These provisions invariably restricts the scope and jurisdiction of the Commission to wit:
- Officers within its employment save the Inspector-General.
- To matters of appointment, dismissal and disciplinary control and nothing more.
It is therefore clear and obvious to the blind to see and audible to the deaf to hear that the action of the Police Service Commission inviting for investigation a person who has left their services is not only a contravention of the law but a gross over-reach of permitted constitutional limits.
In fact, the Police Service Commission should take a research recourse to the cases of Tony Momoh v Senate of the National Assembly (1981) NCLR 105 and El Rufai v. House of Representatives ((2003) FWLR (Pt. 173) 162), which even though not in all fours with the present case deals with the powers of the National Assembly and Senate to invite a citizen or investigate same, the common applicable wisdom is the statements of the court thus that all creations of the constitution (as with other statutes) are bound to the limits set by their enabling laws and provisions.
We therefore make bold to state that same position applies to the Police Service Commission. The Police Service Commission should either release a publication as to the authenticity or otherwise of Senator Misau’s resignation letter or apologise to the public for making a collective mess of a national agency.
On the other hand, it is imperative at this juncture to reiterate that the alleged desertion as provided in the Police Regulations pursuant to the provisions of the Police Act is not a criminal offence under our penal laws particularly in the Penal Code applicable in the north inclusive of Abuja save for the Criminal Code by virtue of Section 46, hence the Police can neither arrest nor question Senator Misau on this allegations as, assuming without conceding that the provision of desertion applies to him, having resigned as Deputy Superintendent of Police, it’s prescribed punishment has long been overtaken by events.
This is as a result of the fact that the Senator has neither requested for any entitlement in this regard nor has he suggested that he was still in the service of the Police as an officer, he has rather furthered his service to contributing his quota towards purging our dear nation of the terminal ailment of corruption in the strata of the Police Force.
That seems to be his offence, but unfortunately and most unfortunately for the authorities of the Police Force, revealing the rot within the Police Force is NOT an actionable but rather a commendable endeavour. Nigerians are not unaware of the timing of this summons and the real reason for which it was issued.
We are not impressed and are particularly nauseated by the apparent abuse of power by the Commission and the Police Force. We demand that this dance of absurdity be properly investigated by a special commission and all culpable parties be served their due by law without fail. We are approaching the dawn of a new reality in the acceptable standards of all national institutions and thus refuse to accept the attempt by recalcitrant persons within the Service Commission and the Police Force to undermine the constitution and insult the collective intelligence of us all. This must not continue.
Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq. is a public interest lawyer and the Principal Partner of Pelumi Olajengbesi & Co. Law Corridor.