CSOs congratulate Arase over appointment as PSC Chairman, express some reservations


… Urges him to end unnecessary struggle between IGP and PSC

Civil Society Organizations, CSOs have congratulated a former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase on his appointment as the new Chairman of the Police Service Commission, PSC.

The Rule of Law Accountability and Advocacy Centre, RULAAC and 22 others which disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, explained that they congratulated him not because they had shifted from to their earlier position against the practice of appointing serving or retired Police officers as Chairman of the PSC, but because they consider Arase’s antecedents and his high approval rating as an up-beat police officer and a record-breaking IGP for the relatively short time he spent in that office.

The CSOs maintained that they remain firmly committed to their well-considered standpoint against the appointment of retired police officers or anyone with military/paramilitary training as Chairman of the PSC.

“Yes, we can relatively vouch-safe Arase’s high probability of making a success of this appointment but hasten to strongly point out that it is better and most rewarding for nations to be built upon strong institutions rather than strong personalities. This is why we must, going forward, adopt and stick to the international best practice of having a competent and unbiased person (external to the police) as the chair of PSC, being a civilian external oversight and accountability mechanism for the Nigeria police.

“We hope Arase will be the last retired Police Chief to be appointed to head the PSC”, they said.

While applauding Arase’s vision of modern and democratic policing that is transparent, responsible, accountable and respectful of human rights, the CSOs charged him to bring his vast and versatile exposure, his intellectual competences and professional expertise to bear on this new assignment with a view to asserting the constitutional and legal authority of the PSC over the recruitment, motivation, promotion and discipline of officers and men of the Nigeria Police.

The CSOs averred that he must strive to bring to a decisive end, the unnecessary, diversionary and totally uncalled-for struggle between the office of the IGP and the PSC noting that “the unsavoury situation has cost Nigeria so much and everything must be done to ensure a seamless relationship, without demeaning the legal and constitutional superintending powers of the PSC.”

“Achieving this will make policing in a constitutional democracy more meaningful, satisfactory and rewarding”, they added.

They further urged Arase and the PSC to encourage and insist on transparent internal accountability mechanisms within the Nigeria Police so as to help the PSC effectively perform its oversight functions, with a view to having an accountable police establishment.

Recounting some of the commendable and innovative steps Arase took upon his assumption of office as the Inspector General of Police to include setting up of a Strategy Advisory Committee comprising of police officers, representatives of CSOs and other critical stakeholders; establishing the Complaints Response Unit (CRU) – a veritable internal accountability legacy he bequeathed the NPF but which according to them, at the moment was straggling to survive owing to neglect and internal obstacles, the CSOs posited that the CRU was an improvement on existing public complaints mechanisms.

“It introduced the use of technology and expanded the platforms through which members of the public could send complaints against police misconduct and receive timely feedback and redress.
Succeeding IGPs have not given the CRU the needed support to retain and maintain the lofty vision that propelled its establishment. The CRU has a committed and professionally minded leadership but lacks police management support”, the CSOs stated.

The Civil Society Organizations assured of total support for Arase to succeed hoping that under him, the urgently needed reforms of the PSC which started last year with a Bill for an Act aimed at overhauling its legal infrastructure, will be pushed through under his leadership.

“These reforms revolve around leadership qualification and appointment procedure, strengthening the investigative powers and competences of the PSC and streamlining the mandate of the PSC with regards to police recruitment and appointment, discipline and promotion”, the CSOs submitted.

Photo: Mr. Solomon Arase, former Inspector General of Police and new Chairman, Police Service Commission, PSC.

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