Supernumerary Police Officers in the Nigerian Police Force: Appointment, Duties, Powers, Emoluments And Entitlements

0

By Okorafor Chidiebere John

1.0 INTRODUCTION

The Nigerian Police Force (NPF) is one of the security agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria charged amongst others with the duty of securing life and Property.[1] The NPF may be viewed as being broadly divided into the General/Regular Police on the one hand and the Supernumerary(SPY) Police on the other hand. In this paper, there is no business with the General Police Arm of the NPF. If any, mere cursory reference may made to the General Police Arm in the discourse as the author may deem necessary to drive home his point.

The primary focus of this paper is the Supernumerary (SPY) Police Arm of the Nigerian Police Force. The aim of the writer is to explore what the Supernumerary Police Arm of the NPF entails, mode of Appointment into the Arm, the Duties of Supernumerary Police Officers, their powers, emoluments, entitlements and other incidental matters thereto.This will be done having full recourse to the Provisions of the Nigerian Police Act (the Act) 2020[2] which is the primary legal framework regulating the  Nigerian Police; the Force Administration Instruction No. 26/Force Order 436 (the Instruction/Order), the Nigeria Police Guidelines for Recruitment/Promotion/Discipline of Supernumerary Police (SPY) 2013 (The Guidelines)[3] and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to which every other law must agree with or suffer the inconsistencies death penalty. Case laws on the matter will also be analyzed particularly the locus classicus case of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited v Okon Johnson.[4]

2.0 SUPERNUMERARY POLICE: WHAT AND WHO ARE THERE

In its ordinarily usage, the word, “Supernumerary” means “excess, redundant, superfluous, extra, spare”. In similar sense, the Supreme Court defined ‘Supernumerary’ as ‘beyond number’ and bearing this in mind, the Court per OKORO JSC further construed Supernumerary Police Officers as “police officers beyond the regular number of the Police Force”.[5] This author adopts intoto the above definition of the Court but further adds that Supernumerary police officer refers to a special class of police officers other than the general police officers that may be appointed periodically[6] for one assignment or the other particularly for the protection of a person or the property of a particular person or institution (private/government). It is noteworthy that Supernumerary police officer appointment is temporary in nature. This explains why notwithstanding that  Supernumerary Police Officers are viewed in all respects as if though general police officers, they are, to all intent and purposes, not the same as general police officers within the confines of the law. The Supreme Court made this stand clearer in the following words:

I do not think anybody would like to leave the regular, permanent and more rewarding (General) police force to a temporary, restrictive supernumerary police arrangement”.[7]

In the Police Act, Supernumerary Police is classified as a Unit in the Nigerian Police Force.[8]

2.1 APPOINTMENT OF SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICERS

Earlier, it was pointed out that the Police Act 2020 is the extant law for the regulation of police in Nigeria including the Supernumerary Police. Sections 21-25 of the Act adequately provides for the general administration of Supernumerary Police.[9] In addition to the foregoing Provisions of the Act, there are also the Force Administration Instruction No. 26/Force Order 436 and the Nigeria Police Guidelines for Recruitment/Promotion/Discipline of Supernumerary Police (SPY) 2013 that also regulate the appointment of Supernumerary Police Officers. The Instruction/Order/Guidelines differ from the Act in that the former provide in detail, the step by step approach to be followed by the stakeholders ( the Inspector General of Police, the Police Service Commission, the appropriate authority, etc) in the appointment whereas the later focuses more on how the process of appointment is initiated ab initio. This being the case, an applicant for the service of Supernumerary Police officer must comply strictly with the Police Act first. Where there is no compliance with the Act in the process of Appointment, it goes to no issue that there were full compliance with the Instruction/Order.[10] The point is not hard to understand given that the Instruction/Order/Guidelines are mere subsidiary legislation that find their fulfillment in the substantive Act in such manner that if the Substantive Act is not complied with, then the Subsidiary legislation themselves would have no basis whatsoever.[11] This was the waterloo  that Appellant Multi-National company found itself in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited Case.

2.1.1. THE PROCEDURE FOR APPOINTMENT UNDER THE POLICE ACT 2020

More robust Provisions are made in the new Police Act on the appointment of Supernumerary Police Officers. Appointment is divided into four based on the purpose of appointment. The diverse purposes of appointment also necessitate slight differences in the mode of application and appointment. The classifications based on purposes of appointment are:

  1. Appointment of Supernumerary Police Officers to protect property by Private/government Institution.[12]
  2. Appointment of Supernumerary Police Officers for Employment on Administrative Duties on Police Premises[13]
  3. Appointment of Supernumerary Police Officers where necessary in the public interest.[14]
  4. Appointment of Supernumerary Police Officers for attachment as Orderlies.[15]

Note should be taken that other than purpose of appointment and the slight difference in application process, all Supernumerary Police Officers appointed under the different headings are treated the same and equal as none of the categories is treated preferentially over another.

2.1.1.1. APPOINTMENT OF SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICERS TO PROTECT PROPERTY UNDER SECTION 21 OF THE ACT.

This head covers application for appointment of Supernumerary Police Officers made by Private persons, private or government Institutions. Any of the persons specified in the section who has need for police officers to protect his/its property may apply to the IGP for appointment of Supernumerary Police Officer(s) for the use of that person/institution. Although the draughtsman uses the word “May” in reference to the application to be made in the section, this writer holds the view that the word is used in mandatory sense so that no appointment is capable of being made without prior application to the IGP.[16] The application must state the nature of the property and provide enough particulars that will aid the IGP in determining the character/qualification of the person to be appointed.[17] Upon application to the IGP, the IGP may on the approval of the Police Service Commission (PSC) direct the Appropriate authority[18] to appoint as Supernumerary Police Officers such number of persons as may be deemed proper by the IGP.[19]

In the old Police Act, the IGP on the approval of the President (the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) is to direct the ‘appropriate authority’ with ‘appropriate authority’ interpreted under that Act to mean ‘Police Service Commission (PSC) or any superior police officer’.[20] In the 2020 Act, no mention is made to the President. Rather, the IGP is to act on the approval of the PSC in directing the ‘Appropriate authority’ but curiously, the Act omitted to define who the Appropriate authority is under the new Act. Whatever the intention of the draughtsman may be in omitting to define the expression and subject to such interpretation as may be given to the expression by the court if called upon to do so, it is the firm view of this writer that strict recourse to the Provision renders it incapable of appointment of a Supernumerary Police officer under the section. This view flows from the fact that no Supernumerary Police Officer is capable of being appointed under Section 21 and indeed under the entire heads without having regards to the appropriate authority. Unfortunately, the appropriate authority is not known under the Act.

2.1.1.2. APPOINTMENT OF SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICERS FOR EMPLOYMENT ON ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES ON POLICE PREMISES UNDER SECTION 22.

Appointment under this head is done by the Appropriate authority at the request of a senior police officer provided that the appropriate authority sees the need for such appointment.[21] Under this head, the premises/property to be protected by the Supernumerary Police Officer(s) is police premises. The IG has no role to play in appointing SPY officers under this head. Only the appropriate authority and a senior police officer are involved. Again as in preceding section 21, appropriate authority is not defined. Who then is the appropriate authority to whom the senior police officer will channel the request for the appointment of SPY under this head? The Act did not disclose.

ALSO READ   Legal Implication of FIRS Appointing Banks as Collecting Agents for Recovery of Tax

2.1.1.3. APPOINTMENT OF SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICERS WHERE NECESSARY IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST UNDER SECTION 23 OF THE ACT

Supernumerary Police Officers may be appointed where public interest demands. The process for appointment under this head is that the IGP with the consent of the PSC may authorize  an appropriate authority to appoint such number of Supernumerary Police Officers as are necessary to protect a particular area/property in the interest of the public. The authorization shall describe the premises to be protected by the Supernumerary Police Officers sought to be appointed. As in the preceding sections, Section 23 does not describe or give any cue on whom the appropriate authority is.

2.1.1.4 APPOINTMENT OF SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICERS FOR ATTACHMENT AS ORDERLIES UNDER SECTION 24 OF THE ACT

The Orderlies attached to judicial officials and other official bodies are captured under this heading. The modus operandi of appointment under this head is that the IGP or a Commissioner of Police (COP) may request the appropriate authority to appoint Supernumerary Police Officers to be attached as orderly to Ministers, Commissioners, and Police Officers of or above the rank of Assistant Commissioner (ACP).[22]

As pointed earlier, the process of appointment of Supernumerary Police Officer for whatever purpose is ignited by anyone who has the need for such appointment as specified in the Police Act. It is only when this first stage has been complied with religiously that the Force Administration Instruction No. 26/Force Order 436 comes into play to guide the appropriate authority on the step by step approach in making the appointment. The writer laments deeply on the serious oversight of the draughtsman’s failure to define who the Appropriate authority is under the Act. The lamentation becomes more pathetic when one considers the enormous responsibilities conferred on the appropriate authority as used in the Act. The Police Act 2020 is due for amendment albeit, in this regards.

3.0 DUTIES AND POWERS OF SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICERS IN NIGERIA

The duties and powers of the various heads of Supernumerary Police Officers are specified in the sections that provide for their appointments. As pointed out earlier, all the Supernumerary Police Officers perform the singular role of protecting either persons, properties or premises-the generic duty of all the Supernumerary Police Officers. Beyond this blanket generic duty, there are specific duties and powers attached to every class of Supernumerary Police Officers appointed under the foregoing Provisions and that is exactly what this part of the paper x-rayed.

SPY officers appointed by Private/public institution under Section 21 of the Police Act are:[23]

  1. Appointed in respect of the area of the Police zone, state, area or divisional command in which the person and property which is to be protected are located.
  2. Exclusively employed in relation to the administration, management and maintenance of the property.
  3. Within the area of employment and adjacent police area, to exercise all powers; enjoy every privilege and have all the powers of a general police officer.
  4. Police officers to all intent and purposes and are subject to the Provisions of the Police Act particularly in regards to discipline of police officers under the Act.[24]

One of the events leading to MPUN Case as revealed in the facts before the court was that the Commissioner of Police, Akwa-Ibom state (the 17th Respondent) attempted to transfer the 1st-15th Respondents outside their primary place of assignment in Akwa-Ibom state , a move which was fiercely opposed by the Respondents on the ground that the 17th Respondent was not their employer.

No such detail is provided as regards SPY police officers appointed to work within police premise under Section 22 and SPY police officers appointed on ground of public interest under section 23.[25] As for SPY police officers appointed to work as Orderlies under Section 24 of the Act, their jurisdiction extends to the entire country so that they (why so employed) can exercise their powers, perform their duties and enjoy their privileges in any part of the country.[26]

With respect to the power to carry arm, Supernumerary Police Officers appointed on ground of public interest are expressly excluded from carrying arm.[27] SPY police officers appointed as Orderlies may be trained to carry arm with the approval of the IGP.[28] The Act is silent on the power of SPY appointed to work in police premises to carry arm but it seems that since the SPY appointed under that section are to work where most if not everyone around them carry arm, the SPY officers should for practical purposes, carry arm. This will not be out of place. The Act also does not expressly authorize SPY police officers appointed for private/private institution to carry arm. One wonder how the property or persons of such employer institutions would be protected without such arm. The matter is more complicated than it seems given that if arm finds its way into the hands of a person who does not know how and when to use it, it would do more harm than good. A careful approach must therefore be employed in determining the matter one way or the other bearing in mind the incessant incidences of happy killer cops replete in Nigeria.

4.0 THE EMOLUMENTS AND ENTITLEMENTS ACCRUING TO SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICERS IN NIGERA.

This part of the paper will consider the emoluments and entitlements of Supernumerary Police Officers. The bodies/persons with the responsibility of providing the emoluments to the Supernumerary Police Officers vis-à-vis the status of the employment of Supernumerary Police Officers are also highlighted.

4.1 REMUNERATION OF SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICERS

A worker deserves a worker’s wage/salary but who pays the Supernumerary Police Officers. As a general rule, a police officer whether supernumerary or general shall not be paid salary that is below what is paid to other security agencies.[29]  For SPY police officers appointed at the request of Private or government institution, such institution is responsible for paying all the entitlements including monthly salary to that SPY police officer.[30] Although the Act is silent on the person with the responsibility of paying Supernumerary Police Officers appointed under the other sections of the Act, it seems logical to this writer that the body/persons receiving their services  should pay their salaries.

4.2 UNIFORM AND BADGES OF SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICERS

We have had cases where the IGP suspended Supernumerary Police Officers for adorning themselves with Conventional/regular police uniform on the ground that such conduct runs foul of the Police Act.[31] What then is the Uniform of SPY Police Officers and how do they obtain same? This issue is important when regard is had to MPNU Case where the Appellant Company provided SPY Police Uniforms to the Respondents. Indeed, the court queried the onus upon which the Appellant not being the IGP or the Appropriate authority provided the said uniform.

It should be noted that the uniform for the Supernumerary Police Officers is different from the general/conventional police uniform. Hence, it amounts to impersonation for a SPY Police to wear the general police uniform. The proper uniform for a SPY Police Officer is ‘ash coloured shirt with “SPY” inscriptions all over, over black with shoulder badge carrying the word “SUPERNUMERARY”.[32] Consequently, Supernumerary Police Officer is not permitted to wear the usual police black, neon blue or camouflage uniforms and any form of non-compliance run afoul of the law and would be adequately sanctioned..

Upon appointment and enlistment of Supernumerary Police Officers on the request of the private/government institution, the private/government Institution requesting their services shall pay  into an Account designated by the IGP such amount that will suffice to purchase the uniform including ceremonial wears and other accoutrements for the SPY Police Officer.[33] For SPY Police Officers appointed for other purposes under the other heads, the bodies/persons requesting their appointment will most likely pay for their uniform. In any case, the Act is silent on this. Statutorily, the SPY police officers uniform is to be supplied by the Police Force Quarter Master.[34] The law is now clear and express that neither Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited or any other person whether private/government institution can by itself provide the Supernumerary Police Officers employed in its service with uniform or accoutrements of any kind as all uniforms shall now be supplied by the Nigerian Police Force through the Force Quarter Master.

ALSO READ   The Cleansing of the Judiciary

The badge to be worn by a Supernumerary Police Officer shall be the same as that worn by general/regular police officer.[35]

4.1.3 RANK AND PROMOTION OF SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICERS

Again, it is hereby pointed out that a Supernumerary Police Officer to all intent and purposes is a police officer of the Nigerian Police Force under the Act to be subjected to all disciplinary action as contained in the laws of Nigeria but how are Supernumerary Police Officers ranked? Are Supernumerary Police Officers capable of promotion like the general police officers?

It should be made clear at this stage that it is in not in dispute that the general/permanent police officers are preferred to the Supernumerary Police Officers. The Supreme Court in MPNU Case queried thus: ‘who will opt for SPY rather than the permanent police force’? Notwithstanding the foregoing, the SPY Police Force is not without some rank. SPY police officers are equally capable of been promoted although not higher than certain level.

The law empowers the IGP to prescribe such ranks that a Supernumerary Police Officer can attain but such rank shall not extend beyond the rank of a Commissioner of Police through out his lifetime and there shall be only one Commissioner of Supernumerary Police in the Federation at any particular point in time.[36] The above provision is clear enough to the effect that the IGP shall provide such levels and ranks which the Supernumerary Police Officers appointed shall be placed but that such rank shall at all times not be above the rank of a COP. There will always be just one Commissioner of Supernumerary Police for the Federation. Obviously, the Supernumerary Police Force being a unit in the police would operate all ranks of the police provided that the ranks operated shall not exceed the rank of Commissioner of Police. For instance, in June 2022, some  SPY officers who passed out from the Police Teaching School, Ikeja were variously promoted to the ranks of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Superintendent of Police (SP), Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), and Inspectors[37]

4.1.4. PENSION AND OTHER RETIREMENT BENEFITS FOR SUPERNUMERARY POLICE

Section 25(1) of the Act expressly provide that the enlisting of a SPY police officer is from month to month. This is also the holding of the Supreme Court in MPNU Case. There is no gain repeating that SPY officers are on temporal engagements. The Court faulted the ruling of the Court of Appeal that Supernumerary Police Officers are appointed from members of general police force. If SPY police officers are temporary members of the Force, are they entitled to pension and other retirement benefits? First, SPY officers appointed under Section 23 of the Act on ground of public interest, the Act expressly preclude them from pension provided under section 15 of Act. The said section 15 provides generally for pensions, gratuities and other retirements benefits accruing to the members of the Force. Again, the Act went further in section 25(5) to extend the provision denying pensions, gratuities and other retirement benefits to SPY police officers. Section 25(5) provides:

A supernumerary police officer has no claim on the Police Reward Fund; and, without prejudice to any liability under the Employee’s Compensation Act, to be paid compensation to or in respect of any person by virtue of his employment as a supernumerary police officer, a person’s service as such as officer shall not render him or any other person eligible for any pension, gratuity or annual allowance under this Act or the Pensions Act.

The foregoing provision is clear that SPY Supernumerary Police Officers are not entitled to any form of retirement benefits, whatever nomenclature that such entitlement is called: pension, gratuity, Reward Fund, etc. It is a cardinal principle of interpretation that where the words of the statute are clear and unambiguous, then they must be given their literal-ordinary meaning except where such literal-ordinary meaning will wrought hardship in which case the court will consider other cannons of interpretation in order to avert such hardship/injustice.[38] This writer holds the view that there is some sort of justice in the law denying pension and retirement benefits to the SPY officers but it seems that it is not enough to warrant the pronouncement of the court in MPNU Case. In any case, pension and retirement benefits were not directly in issue in the case. That Supernumerary Police Officers are not entitled to pension and retirement benefits is more serious than it appears. One would immediately ask, does it accord with reason that the above persons apointed variously into the rank of CSP, SP, ASP,DSP, etc do not enjoy any pension or any benefit on their retirement? What then is the essence of the entire engagement? In other words, except for any available employee compensation arrangement between the SPY police officer and the employer, the SPY officer has no other benefits than his/her salary and allowance. The law appears unbalanced in this perspective.

Another corollary issues that flows from the foregoing analysis on pension and other benefits is the import of the Appointment and Enlistment of SPY officers being temporary. The word, “Temporary” means  ‘short duration’. Thus, the Appointment and Enlistment of SPY police officers are for short duration (Monthly duration). After the month, what next? Is it a cases of automatic re-appointment and re-enlistment? If this correct, how many times is a SPY Officers entitled to be re-appointed and re-enlisted into the Force? The author asks, ‘How temporary is the temporary nature of the Appointment and Enlistment of Supernumerary Police Officers in Nigeria? No answer is forthcoming.

5.0 GENERAL ADMINISTRATION OF SUPERNUMERARY POLICE FORCE UNDER THE ACT.

For the umpteenth time, it should be noted that the Supernumerary Police Officers are subjected to the same discipline as the regular police officers.[39] Since the SPY is a Unit in the Police Force, the General Administration of the unit rests squarely on the Commissioner of Police for Supernumerary Police Force who shall be responsible to the IGP and the PSC. This is particularly as it relates to appointment. However, it seems that when a Supernumerary Police Officer has been appointed and enlisted and further deployed to the Place of Assignment/employment, the General Administration of now extends to accommodate the person/institution to whom the SPY Police Officer is attached. In any case, the nature and extent of such involvement of the employee  is not clear in the Act.

5.1 DISCIPLINE: SUSPENSION AND DISMISSAL OF SUPERNUMERARY POLICE OFFICER.

A Supernumerary Police Officer is amenable to suspension where the need arises like every other officer of the Nigerian Police Force and indeed every other kind of disciplinary action specified in the Act.[40] The Act is more specific on the dismissal of Supernumerary Police Officers appointed under section 21. Where the person/institution that engaged the service of a Supernumerary Police Officer no longer desire the services of that officer and wishes to discharge the officer, the institution/person shall give at least two months’ notice in writing to the IGP intimating the IGP of such intention.[41] The IGP upon receiving the notice shall approve the application but in so doing, the IGP shall ensure that all the entitlements of the said SPY officer due to him/her is fully discharged by the person/institution within one month of the release of the Officer.[42] The above provisions only relate to SPY officers appointed pursuant to Section 21. There is no such Provisions for SPY officers appointed under the other heads. It is submitted that there is no reason why the same approach should not be adopted in dismissing SPY Officers appointed under the other heads.

SPY Police Officer appointed under any of the heads may resign the employment by giving at least one month’s notice to the employer and a senior police officer in charge of the area where the SPY officer is serving.[43] Upon such notice, the employment of the SPY officer shall be determined by the appropriate authority on one month’s notice  in that behalf or on payment of one month’s salary in lieu of the notice.

The question of the status of the Supernumerary Police Officer pops up again in this part. What becomes of the Supernumerary Police Officer when disengaged by the employer? Does the officer cease from being a police officer or will the Police Force retain the SPY officer for subsequent deployment to serve another person/institution who may have the need for services of  SPY police officer. Indeed, how temporary is the temporary nature of the Appointment and Enlistment of SPY Police Officers? Does disentitling Supernumerary Police Officers from pension and other retirement benefits not amount to discrimination of the highest Order? Little wonder that SPY police officers are treated less and lower than other Police Officers even by members of the Force? The foregoing analysis clearly show that there is no honour in being a Supernumerary Police Officers. These highlighted questions and issues raised call for determination as soon as practicable. Although the Provision is express and clear enough, yet, the prophecy of what the Court will do is what is meant to be law and nothing more pretentious. So, the court is not handicapped on the matter.

ALSO READ   Bilyamin Bello and Maryam Sanda's Saga; A Reasonable Doubt – Sani Ammani

6.0 WHAT THEN IS THE NATURE OF THE SERVICE AND EMPLOYMENT OF A SUPERNUMERARY POLICE FORCER IN NIGERIA

In the light of the foregoing analysis, how can one describe the Supernumerary Police Force in its entirety vis-à-vis the nature of the service and employment of a Supernumerary Police Officers under the Nigerian Police Force? Until the law changes, fundamentals of Supernumerary Police in the Nigerian Police Force may be summarized in the following numbered paragraphs:

  1. The Supernumerary Police Force is a unit in the Nigerian Police Force.
  2. The Nigerian Police Force through the Supernumerary Police Unit trains persons appointed as Supernumerary Police Officers and enlist them as such. Appointment and Enlisting is on the application of persons/institutions in need of the services of Supernumerary Police Officers or on public interests.
  3. The persons/Institutions who need the services of Supernumerary Police Officers pay for the uniforms (the uniform is different from that of the general police officers) of the Supernumerary Police Officers which are supplied by the Force Master.
  4. The Supernumerary Police Officers are then sent to the persons/institution requesting their services. The Supernumerary Police Officer may or may not carry arm depending on where the officer is serving or nature of service.
  5. The appointment and enlistment of Supernumerary Police Officers are temporary. Supernumerary Police Officers are not Permeant police officers as their engagement is on monthly basis.
  6. The Supernumerary Police Officers are not employees of the Nigerian Police Force but are employed by the Employees of the person/institution that requested their service.
  7. The Nigerian Police Force has no retirement benefits package in favour of the Supernumerary Police Officers.

7.0. CONCLUSION

The Supernumerary Police Unit of the Nigerian Police Force was established to augment the General Police Force. The members of the Unit are in all ramifications deemed as police officers subject to the Provisions of the Police Act and other regulating laws (albeit, in theory). The Police Act 2020 contains clear Provisions on the subject matter and also captures the decision of the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited v Okon Johnson and Ors. The law is no longer the same as it was prior to the case. Under the new Act: the Supernumerary Police is Unit in the Force: appointment and enlisting into the Unit as well as duties; powers; entitlements of SPY officers are clearly set out. The hurdle attending the new Provisions of the Act however lies in the omission of the Act to define who an appropriate authority is. One is left with great bewilderment as to why the draughtsman decided to not disclose who the appropriate authority is in the new Act. To put it mildly, the omission is a serious oversight on the part of the draughtsman given the enormous responsibilities which the appropriate authority has to play generally under the Act and more particularly in relation to the Supernumerary Police. The least conclusion to be drawn is that the Act is due for amendment albeit, to remedy this anomaly. The Court is also called upon to determine the fairness of precluding SPY police officers from any kind of retirement benefits under the Act.

Okorafor Chidiebere John is a law graduate presently working at Pegasus Legal and Associate, Ogun State. Phone No: 08144228146; okaforcj.johnny@gmail.com


Footnotes

[1] The Police Act 2020, s4.

[2] The Police Act 2020 is the extant law regulating the Nigerian Police Force. The 2020 Act repealed Cap 19 LFN 2004 and provides for more effective well organized Police Force driven by the principles of transparency and accountability in its operations an management of its resources; See the long title to the new Act.

[3] The Force Administration Instruction No. 26/Force Order 436 and the 2013 Guidelines are subsidiary legislation made pursuant to section 46 of the Repealed Act that provides for step by step procedure and process in the appointment of the Supernumerary Police Officer in Nigeria. The Instruction/Order is saved by saving clause in the new Act; See The Police Act 200, s140(6).

[4] [2018] LPELR-SC.33/2010.

[5] Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited v Okon Johnson and Ors [2018] LPELR-SC.33/2010  Per OKORO JSC pg 40. (MPNU Case).

[6] The period of appointment of Supernumerary Police Officers is from month to month and may be renewed; See The Police Act 2020, s25(1).

[7] MPNU Case (n 5) 42.

[8]Police Act 2020, s21(7).

[9] See the Police Act, Part V (General Administration).

[10] See MPNU Case.

[11] The principle of law on the relationship between primary Act and subsidiary legislation made under it has been put forth thus : “Subordinate legislation must be consistent with the substantive or main legislation from where the enabling power is conferred. Where the substantive legislation is not complied with, there is no basis to consider the subordinate legislation because any subordinate legislation which is inconsistent with the substantive legislation is a nullity to the extent of its inconsistency” See Oloriegbe v Omotesho (1993) 1 NWLR (Pt. 270) 386.

[12] The Police Act 2020, s21.

[13] Ibid, s22.

[14] Ibid, s23.

[15] Ibid, s25.

[16] It is now a settked law that although in its generic meaning that the word, ‘MAY’ connotes permissivenes, it is yet capable of having mandatory meaning in certain instances; See the Supreme Court per Kariby Whyte in Adesola v Abidoye [1994] 14 NWLR (Pt 637) @ p. 56; See Further the Court of Appeal per BA GEORGEWILL in Prince Paul Omomzuawo and Anor v Chief Yakubu Ugbodaga (JP) and Ors [2021] Legalpedia CA )99013.

[17] The Police Act 2020, s21(1).

[18] Italicized for emphasis.

[19] Ibid, s21(2).

[20] See The Police Act CAP P19 LFN 2004, s22(4).

[21] Ibid, s22

[22] It is under this head that police officer of the SPY Arm are employed by most Nigerian Celebrities and VIPs and subjected to almost dogs and house helps. They are also being used as entourages and escorts to intimidate bloody civilians by those  who could afford them; See Ayodele Oluwagbemi, ‘Our Police, their Servants: How Nigeria’s VIPs use Police Officers, others as Domestic servants’ (7th February 2016, Punch Newspapers) <https://www.google.com/amp/s/punchng.com/our-police-their-servants-how-nigerias-vips-use-police-officers-others-as-domestic-servants/%3famp> accessed on 23rd September 2022; See Further Sahara Reporters New York, ‘Nigerian Female Professor, Zainab Dike Arrested for Assaulting Police Orderly, Directing Maids to beat her Up’ (22nd September 2022, Sahara Reporters) <https://saharareporters.com/2022/09/22/nigerian-female-professor-zainab-dike-arrested-assaulting-police-orderly-directing-maids> accessed 23rd September 2022.

[23] The Police Act 2020, s21(3).

[24] There is similar provision as regards SPY police officer appointed as orderly under Section 24 of the Act; See Section 24(2)(d).

[25] See sections 22 and 23.

[26] Police Act 2020, s23(2)b.

[27] Ibid, s23(3)a.

[28] Ibid, s25(2)c.

[29] Ibid, s20.

[30] The Police Act 2020, s21(4)a.

[31] Ayodele Oluwafemi,  ‘IGP Suspends SPY Officers for Wearing Conventional Police Uniforms’ (26th August 2022; The Cable) <https://www.thecable.ng/igp-suspends-two-spy-officers-for-wearing-police-uniforms/amp> accessed 22nd September 2022; See further, ‘IMPERSONATION: IGP ISSUES STRICT WARNING ON MISUSE OF POLICE RESTRICTED UNIFORMS’ (NPF Press Release, 26th August 2022)) <https://www.npf.gov.ng/information/pressdetails.php?news_id=711> accessed 22nd September 2022

[32] Italics added for emphasis.

[33] The Police Act 2020, s21(4)(b).

[34] The Police Act 2020, s21(6).

[35] Ibid, s25(4).

[36] Ibid, s25(2)(3).

[37] Agency Report, ‘Police Graduate Six PhD Holders, 169 Others as Spies’ (13th June 2022, Premium Times) <https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/more-news/536839-police-graduate-six-phd-holders-169-others-as-spies.htm> accessed 23 September 2022.

[38] African Newspaper Nigeria Ltd v Federal Republic of Nigeria [1985] 3 LPR 3 SC.

[39] The Police Act 2020 ss21(3)ii, 24(2)(b)&(d),

[40] See parts XII & XVI of the Police Act, 2020.

[41] Ibid, s24(5).

[42] Ibid.

[43] The Police Act 2020, s25(1).

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here