By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court, has ordered parties in the suit challenging the recruitment of 10,000 police constables to in the interim, maintain the status quo.
Giving the order, Justice Inyang Ekwo held that as far as the parties have approached the court for settlement, the recruitment should be on hold until the hearing and determination of the matter.
The Police Service Commission (PSC) had dragged the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to court over the recruitment of 10,000 constables as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Inspector General of Police (IG) Adamu Mohammed and the Minister of Police Affairs were mentioned as defendants in the matter.
Kanu Agabi SAN, had in the motion on notice filed on September 24, filled on behalf of the commission, premised on order 28 rule 1.
The commission is praying the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants/respondents, their officers and representatives including anybody or person acting on their behalf from appointing, recruiting or attempting to appoint or recruit by any means whatsoever any person into any office by the NPF pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
However, when the matter was called up, counsel to the defendants, Alex Izinyon (SAN), informed the court of an application seeking to join the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice as a party in the suit.
In reaction, the counsel to the plaintiff did not object to the joining of the AGF.
In the absence of any objection, the court accordingly granted the request and joined the AGF as a party, adding that the joining of the AGF would give expeditious disposition to the suit.
Justice Ekwo also ordered the plaintiff to amend, file and serve the amended process on all the defendants within four days, while the respondents are to also reply within four days and adjourned the matter to November 4, for mention.
Justice Ekwo, therefore, urged the counsel as senior members of the bar to, “stay within bound until the matter is determined”.
“You have submitted yourself to court, abide by the rule of the law,” the court held.
Efforts by the counsel to the respondents, Izinyon, to prevail on the court that the police had already concluded the recruitment and that the list of successful candidates have been released was rebuffed by the court.
“Parties should not go beyond what it is now,” the court held.
The main suit with number : FHC/ABJ/CS/1124/2019 is predicated on the grounds that by virtue of the provisions of section 153 sub section (1) (m), section 153 subsection (2) and section 215 subsection (1)[b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Paragraph 30 Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution as well as Sections 6 and 24 of the Police Service Commission (Establishment) Act, the plaintiff/applicant is the sole statutory body vested with the exclusive powers to appoint, promote, dismiss and discipline persons holding offices in the 1st defendant except the office of the Inspector General of Police.
The commission also maintained that none of the respondents is authorised by law to play any role in the appointment, promotion, dismissal or exercise of disciplinary measures over persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in the Nigeria Police Force.
“Unless restrained by an order of this court, the respondents appointments/recruitments is capable of foisting a fiat accomplish on the judgment of this honourable court in this matter,’’ the commission submitted.