THE Court of Appeal has declared the Police Act 2020 unconstitutional, null and void on matters of appointing police officers.
Appeal Court ruled that the provision of the Act, which was enacted in September 2020, was 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 the Office of the Inspector General of Police.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, who led a three-member panel of Justices of the Court, held 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.”
He further declared that no Act of the National Assembly or Law can take away or curtail such power.
Justice 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.”
Another member of the panel, Justice Olabisi Ige, also gave his verdict in a declaration that by virtue of section 1 subsection 3 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) “any piece of legislation or instrument relied upon by the Defendants (including but not limited to the Police Act and the Police Regulations) in exercising or purporting to exercise the powers to appoint, promote, dismiss or discipline persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force, being inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution particularly section 153 subsection (1)(m), section 153 subsection (2) and section 215(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Paragraph 30 part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution, is invalid, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.”
It also gave an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Police, and other defendants, jointly and severally, from interfering or further interfering in any manner howsoever with the commission’s discharge of its constitutional and statutory functions in “respect of the appointment, promotion, dismissal, or exercise of disciplinary control over persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force other than the Inspector General of Police.”
But a statement released by the Head of Press and Public Relations of Police Service Commission, Ikechukwu Ani, yesterday, said they would soon make public its programme of action in respect of recruitments into the Constable Cadre of Nigeria Police Force and admission into Police Academy.