Participants in the 7th Policing Executive Forum held on Tuesday, 30thApril 2013 have proposed amendment of the Police Service Commission Act to make the Commission more effective in the discharge of its duties. They called on the National Assembly to begin the process of amending the Police Service Commission Act in order to enhance its independence.
In a communiqué issued after the meeting at the Bolton White Hotels, Abuja, the experts noted that the Commission has serious constraints in dealing with public complaints against the police or complaints by police officers, which this undermines confidence in the Commission.
According to the communiqué signed by Kemi Okenyodo, the Executive Director of CLEEN Foundation, organizers of the Policing Executive Forum, “Section 19 of the Police Service Commission Act which stipulates that the Commission can receive directives from the President and is duty-bound to comply with such directives impedes on the independence of the Commission and diminishes its powers. The provision should be abrogated as the Constitution conceives the Commission as an independent institution.” The forum also proposed that the PSC should be given adequate budgetary allocation and financial independence and that a retired police officer should not be appointed as Chair of the Commission, in order to ensure effective oversight over the police.
Participants in the 7th PEF were drawn from the Ministry of Police Affairs, civil society groups from across the country and the Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria. Under the Chairmanship of Mr Fola Arthur Worrey of the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, the participants deliberated on issues relating to efficiency, effectiveness and the significance of the oversight function of the Police Service Commission. Papers were presented by a renowned criminologist, Professor Etannibi Alemika, and civil rights lawyer and activist, Mr Bamidele Aturu, as well as a former Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Chief Simeon Okeke. The Chairman of the House Committee on Police Affairs, Hon. Usman Bello Kumo, represented by Obadiah Mbila, also made contributions to the deliberations.
The Police Service Commission was re-established in the year 2001 after an 18-year military hiatus and it is charged with issues of appointment, promotion and discipline in the Nigeria Police.The CLEEN Foundation is a nongovernmental organisation working to promote public safety, security and accessible justice through the strategies of empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes and publications, in partnership with government and civil society.
Odoh Diego Okenyodo