President Goodluck Jonathan has just nominated a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Mike Okiro as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission.
In line with the provisions of the Constitution the nomination has been forwarded to the Senate for confirmation. While the former Inspector-General of Police might have been qualified for the post on account of his experience in the Nigeria Police Force he is disqualified by virtue of his membership of the ruling party. Until last month Mr Okiro was the Chief of Staff to the embattled PDP chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
The Police Service Commission is one of the Federal Executive Bodies established under section 153 of the Constitution. Section 156 thereof provides that a member of any of such bodies "shall not be required to belong to a political party". More importantly, section 42 of the Constitution provides that no citizen of Nigeria shall be conferred with any advantage or privilege that is not accorded to citizens of other political opinions.
Furthermore, article 13(3) of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights Act stipulates that all citizens shall have equal access to the public service of the country without discrimination whatsoever.
By the combined effect of the clear provisions of the afore-mentioned laws a body which is empowered to recruit and discipline all police personnel other than the Inspector-General of Police is expected to be constituted by non partisan individuals of unimpeachable integrity. As a loyal party member of the PDP Mr Okiro is politically aligned and biased. Accordingly, he is not competent to head the Police Service Commission which is part of the public service of the country to which all Nigerian citizens have equal access regardless of political affiliations. Knowing his antecedents in the Nigeria Police Force Mr Okiro is going to manipulate the members of the Police to serve the parochial interests of the People Democratic Party.
Having regard to the fact that President Jonathan has in the past removed registered members of the PDP from the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCP) Mr Mike Okiro's nomination should be withdrawn from the Senate and replaced with the name of another competent Nigeria who is not a card carrying member of any of the registered political parties in the country.
Femi Falana SAN.
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