From A Police Officer In Abuja,
The Nigeria Police Force, without mincing words, is the largest government security agency in Africa. Its work force comprising a large chunk of the rank and file, work assiduously in both fair and inclement season of the year, yet are at the receiving end of everything, yet against all odd, they struggled to earn a higher academic qualification with the belief that it will give them a hope of brighter tomorrow.
The Force has three (3) entry points viz: enlistment into the Constable, Cadet Inspectors, Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) cadres respectively. The Force has never been in short supply of those to fill the Constable cadres, obviously because of its low level educational requirements, unlike the ASPs cadre that entails higher academic degrees. Suffice to say, that was when it became imperative for the Police Acts and Regulation to state in Section 39 of Part IV (Appointments) that:
“When vacancies in the establishment of Assistant Superintendents of Police cannot, by reason of UNAVAILABILITY of SUITABLE candidates, be filled by promotions from within the Force, the Inspector-General shall so inform the Nigeria Police Council, and may request it to arrange for the posts to be filled by direct entry”.
From the above, one could clearly see that two key words: unavailability and suitability in time past, justified the actions of the Police Service Commission to source for ASPs materials, directly from among the educated civilians, through Direct Entry. But that cannot be said of the present crop of well-groomed and educated rank and file, some who are already holders of Masters degree; and who auspiciously thought that the journey of career progression for them as begun by two out-gone Inspectors-General of Police in 2014 – 2015 when they were told to file out for documentation exercise, would end up abruptly in 2016.
Needless to remind the PSC that Police Act and Regulation which governs the whole essence of policing in Nigeria, and allocates it with its powers to hire and fire, is in it very self, subject to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (commonly referred to as the grundnorm). And according to section 1(3) of the 1999 CFRN, if any other law (e.g. the Police Act and Regulation) is inconsistent with the provisions of this constitution, this constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.
Statistically, the Nigeria Police cannot at this time in its history, claim ignorance to the growing numbers of her well educated foot-soldiers i.e members of the Inspectorate and Rank and file. Ordinarily, the Police cannot absorb the 13,386 rank and file (as at 2014) who took part in the Cadet exercise, so they put up measures to prune the numbers, but shortly afterward the exercise was jettisoned, owing convincingly to interplay of powers between some forces, especially our dear politicians who are always hell bent on hijacking every process for their wards and cronies.
One would not be wrong also, if the present Police Service Commission Chairman (an IGP emeritus) is indicted for the fall-out of the ill-fated plans to upgrade rank and file who are eminently qualified, and in superfluous supply to fill what Section 39 of Police Regulation requires as per appointments into cadet ASP. Because as the seemingly mouth piece of the gods, he is already aware of the position of the Police Act and Regulation vis-a-viz appointment to the ASP cadre which is believed to be extant, coupled with the demoralized disposition of the rank and file who are holders of first, second and even third degrees in various academic discipline and obviously struggling to live above poverty line. Yet he wielded his powers arbitrarily on the Inspector General of Police, and denied the rank and file such golden opportunity.
The renewed agitation in the camp of the rank and file today, is not for the commission to deny civilian graduates their placement, or halt the already on-going process, but for the present IGP who has shown tremendous interest in the welfare of the downtrodden of the force, to re-present this issue before the PSC Chairman, so that the yearly enlistment, especially into the ASP cadre, will include in-service graduates in bits-and-batches. Once this is done, in no distant time, a large number of the well-educated members of the inspectorate and rank and file would be absorbed.
The essence of this piece is to re-awaken the consciousness of the PSC Chairman and the IGP, that though the rank and file may not have a legal backing to become dissidents overnight, or possess the strike action to engage in demonstrations, they will however do everything possible in line with the provision of Section 39 (i) (ii) of the 1999 Constitution which guarantees Freedom of expression and the Press, to enlist the support of international media organizations, to air our grievances against this perceived arbitrariness and absolute disregard to the provisions of section 39 of Police Act and regulation and section 1(3) of the 1999 CFRN which has the capacity to render the former null and void to the extent of its inconsistency.
It will interest them to note that if members of the rank and file (who have done basic training) are given this opportunity to fill this vacancies of cadet ASP, less money would be spent re-training them, as the only prerequisite would entail advanced training, against the backdrop of pure civilians whose mentality would needed to be “re-configured’ to think policeman-like.
Finally, help alert the powers that be, that it is not an offence to have chosen to serve Nigeria as a Policeman, therefore the present rank and file have done nothing deserving of the life of servitude they are currently been subjected to. If this trend is allowed to continue, the multiplier effects of this will be indiscipline, dejection, lack of motivation, loss of morale among the rank and file which would lead to breakdown of internal security, and those of our colleagues who took out time pursuing wealth whilst we struggled to get further academic qualification to be better police officers, will laugh us to scorn, that with all the educational attainment / qualifications, what is the difference between us and them. There is an undisputed reason(s) while the FUNDAMENTAL OBJECTIVES AND DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY has notably specified government’s commitment to her citizens’ education in section 18 of the 1999 CFRN, because a nation struggling to build up intellectually, must reward those who paid the price for education, this is only what will motivate others to strive, because ‘education is power’.
questions must also be ask of why the Nigeria Police is deciding to convert ASP course one 2010 while she has more than enough qualified rank and files to be elevated to same position
On our part we see this as an act of wickedness but still not unaware that some of this things are done without the knowledge of the IGP
As a good father the IGP should come to our rescue
We are losing all the motivation left within us that we may be forced sooner than later to rebel against authority.