Currently, ex-IGP Musiliu Smith is being challenged by three other former inspector generals of the police and a retired deputy inspector general of the police for the position of chairman of the police service commission.

According to reports, the former police chiefs asked senior government figures for their assistance in their bid for the top position.

Smith, who began his five-year term as a commissioner on July 25, 2018, along with the other commissioners, resigned due to health concerns around two weeks ago.

A dispute with the police authority over the hiring of police constables ruined his tenure.

Clara Ogunbiyi, a retired justice of the Supreme Court and Commissioner 1 of the commission, has subsequently taken over in an interim capacity.

There is fierce competition for the role of PSC chairman, a senior official declared. Top presidential candidates have been asked for their support by the candidates.

One of the candidates is currently in New York for a meeting with President Buhari, where the agreement will be signed. The retired police officer might be named the new chairman of the commission when he returns to the nation. The change is upsetting PSC employees because they worry that if another retired IG is named chairman, the chaotic environment that characterized the organization under Smith may return.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court has set the police appeal against the Court of Appeal decision upholding the PSC’s constitutional duty to hire constables for a hearing.

The matter, which had been put on hold for about two years, has been picked back up and is now scheduled for hearing before the Supreme Court early next month, The PUNCH learned on Thursday.

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A three-member panel of the appellate court, chaired by Justice Olabisi Ige, ruled unanimously on September 30, 2020, that the IGP lacks the authority to hire new police officers. The court determined that the Police Service Commission alone had the authority to hire new employees.

The ruling overruled the Federal High Court’s December 2, 2019, decision in Abuja, which supported the IGP’s authority to carry out the hiring of 10,000 constables.

The news was confirmed by the PSC’s spokeswoman, Ikechukwu Ani, who also said that the police appeal would be heard in October.

In an effort to address the recruiting situation, the interim PSC chairman, Ogunbiyi, recently made arrangements to meet with the IG, Usman Baba, and the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi.

Africa Today News, New York

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