Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Friday welcomed the resignation of IGP Musiliu Smith (retd) as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, PSC.
The group described his exit as a golden opportunity to restructure the Commission along its constitutional mandates of recruiting constables, making appointments of senior officers apart from IGP as stipulated by law, and taking disciplinary action against erring police officers.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, demanded that the next substantive Chairman of the PSC should be appointed from the Southern part of Nigeria, particularly the South-West, in line with the principle of federal character and equity.
Following Smith’s resignation, the Management of the Commission, on September 14, 2022, nominated a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice (Mrs) Clara Ogunbiyi, as the acting Chairman, pending the appointment of a new Chairman by President Muhammadu Buhari. Ogunbiyi, who represents the Judiciary, is from the North Eastern zone of Nigeria.
Already, there is an ethnic imbalance in the top echelon of police hierarchy in Nigeria with the lopsidedness in favour of northerners.
For instance, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund, Suleiman Abba, is a northerner, just like the NPTF Secretary, Abdullahi Bala. Similarly, the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi, is a northerner, just like the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba.
Commenting on the resignation of Smith, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “We endorse the resignation of ex-IGP Musiliu Smith (retd.) as chairman of the Police Service Commission even though we would have wished that he is investigated and prosecuted if found wanting.
“HURIWA also wish to remind President Muhammadu Buhari that the vacancy in the commission now with the exit of Smith belongs to the South-West zone and should not be alloted to Northern Nigeria again because the North-West and North-East and other parts of the North already have their slots occupied at the commission except the South-West.
“The acting Charman, Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi (retd.), who just stepped in to act for the meantime, occupies the position of North-East because she is from the North-East and born in Lassa Borno State and went to schools in Kano, Kaduna and Borno states.
“President Muhammadu Buhari should appoint a public admininistrator of high reputation as PSC substantive chairman. The President should appoint a bridge-builder who understands his job as PSC chairman so that the many conflicts between the PSC and the Nigeria Police Force will be a thing of the past, especially who should be responsible for the recruitment, promotion, and appointment of constables and officers.
“On no account should a former police officer be made chairman of the PSC if that constitutional body created to instill sanity and professional discipline is to be allowed to work.
“All past chairmen who are former Deputy Inspector General of Police or Inspector General of Police cumulatively undermine and killed off the independence of the PSC.”
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