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Government’s penchant for illegal recruitment

The Police Service Commission (PSC) may have bent over and absorbed 925 recruits who were smuggled into the list last year, but one fact that must be put on record is that government seems to have a penchant for secret recruitment. Absorbing some individuals who are probably candidates of top government officials into the force without going through such time-tested procedures like screening, aptitude test, fitness and medical examinations, which were fulcrum of the recruitments all over the world, is shameful, to say the least.

We deplore such lawlessness by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) under the leadership of the former IGP Mohammed Adamu, because it amounted to usurpation of the constitutional duties of the Police Service Commission (PSC) and Court of Appeal’s judgement nullifying the hijack of the recruitment exercise by the Nigeria Police Force. While some might argue that the recruitment was carried out during the superiority battle between the Inspector-General of Police and the PSC, we hasten to state that such action gave unfair advantage to some individuals in the country over others. It also raises serious integrity question about the leadership of the police and the IGP, and both are most reprehensible for this.

The singular act is reminiscent of a number of subterranean nepotistic promotions in the Force, which have been the basis for disaffection in the Force, having catapulted some junior officers over and above their seniors. So, often said, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands and, more than any other agency, the Nigeria Police Force, the most visible law enforcement agency in the country, must be above board like Caesar’s wife.

We commend the Commission for the action taken in the overall interest of the nation in deciding to rescreen them, especially considering that resources had been expended in the training of these candidates and that these candidates had been exposed to weapon and weaponry. Unlike the outright sack in 2015 by this current administration of about 900 recruits into one of the security agencies after over eight months into their training, it is noteworthy that the PSC has screened the candidates and those with evidence of criminality in any form have been shown the way out, while the rest are expected to be absorbed into the Force.

Most importantly, rather than being bugged by rivalry, NPF and PSC should perform complementary roles for the overall development and transformation of the Force, while the former focuses on the serious issue of maintaining internal security currently spiralling out of control. Interestingly, in the last few years, the PSC has been headed by former Inspectors-General of Police, who possess undeniable historical and contemporary knowledge of NPF and is capable of utilizing such knowledge and experience for the betterment of the Force. It is shocking that this administration is becoming notorious for secret recruitments into juicy ministries, department and agencies (MDAs), skewed to favour some people against others.

This is very insidious because it not only flaws the process, but denies other qualified Nigerians opportunities to compete for such positions. A similar secret recruitment has allegedly occurred in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and several others.

These critical agencies are ironically flooding with incompetent or average individuals who would be promoted periodically to occupy the nation’s top level bureaucracy in the future. Recruitment as a strategic management function is critical for the success of any organization, because without the right and qualified personnel for any job, such organization is doomed right from the onset. Sourcing and selecting of talents out of millions of applicants on the basis of needs is vital and cannot but produce only the best.

Most importantly, Nigeria has an army of qualified youths from various disciplines from where only the best and most capable can be selected for the vital duties of policing more than what any backdoor or secret recruitment can provide the nation. Looking back into the 60s through 80s, we recall that only the best were head-hunted and recruited into the public service right from the universities, because of the importance Nigeria’s founding fathers attached to public service as the engine room of policy formulation, implementation and development.

Today, such philosophy has been jettisoned or given back seat as standards and merit have been replaced with political partisan- ship and nepotism, with imaginable consequences on national development. So deep has the nation sunk into this abyss of favouritism that the former Director-General of Nigeria Space Agency, and Deputy Senate Majority Leader, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, lamented the recruitment of graduates of religious studies in the agency recently.

This secret recruitment and hiring of misfits in a nation of over 200 million, hordes of whom possess requisite qualification vital for national transformation, should be thoroughly investigated and erring individuals and groups should face the consequences, because their action is manifestly and latently dangerous.

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