The foremost and leading civil rights advocacy group; the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has lamented the wrongful dismissal of ASP Ekpenyong Inyene Nkereuwem from the Nigerian Police Force and the failure of the police force to reinstate her despite an order from the Police Service Commission (PSC) asking the police authorities to do so.
HURIWA on Tuesday in a statement signed by the National Coordinator; Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko accused Inspector General of Police (IGP); Usman Alkali Baba of deliberately witch-hunting the said ASP Iyene probably for refusing the IGP’s sexual advances as alleged.
Onwubiko’s HURIWA added: “It is unfortunate that the chief enforcer of the law is being accused of a sex scandal and his deliberate refusal to comply with the orders of the PSC only strengthens the allegation. It is important to state that obedience and respect to rule of law is fundamental to the good order, peace, and stability of a nation,”
Commenting that ASP Iyene was dismissed from the Force without official notification of the reason(s) of dismissal, HURIWA further lamented that the circumstances fall short of the standard procedure for the discipline of Police Officers under the Police Act 2020 and section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
While highlighting the facts of a petition by the said Officer, HURIWA recalled the series of wrongful dismissals of the said Officer over unsubstantiated facts and queried the rationale behind the deliberate witch-hunt against an Officer, probably because she is a lady.
“On 24th April 2017, ASP Iyene was maliciously and falsely alleged to be pregnant in the Academy and later referred to a Disciplinary Committee for investigation where she was dismissed from the Academy on 25th May 2017. On the 9th of June, 2017, she forwarded an appeal against the punishment to the Office of the IGP, and a Special Investigative Panel was directed to investigate my appeal.
“Upon the completion of the investigation by the Special Investigative Panel, the then IGP Ibrahim approved her reinstatement into the Nigeria Police Academy as Cadet ASP to enable her to continue her training program along with her training cohorts as contained in a letter addressed to the Commandant, Nigeria Police Academy and referenced: CR: 3000/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.2/20 dated 7th July 2017.
“She resumed her academic and Police Professional training program and concluded her academic training in fulfillment of an award of a B.A. Degree in English under NUC amended act no. 48 of 1989, 2007, and cadet handbook 2015 – 2018.
“Upon completion of her academic and Police Professional training program, she was commissioned into the Nigeria Police Force on 20th December 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and posted to FCT command.
“On 4th July 2020 in a press release from the Nigeria Police Academy, it was made public that she had been dismissed from the Force without official notification of the reason(s) for her dismissal.
“As a law-abiding citizen and a loyal member of the Nigeria Police Force ASP Iyene sought the intervention of the Police Service Commission (PSC) and was reinstated into the Force in a decision held between 27th and 28th January 2021 in its 11th Plenary Meeting of the Police Service Commission and at the Commission’s 15th Plenary Meeting of 11th, 12th and 13th May 2022 reaffirming her reinstatement”, HURIWA recalled.
Frowning at the refusal of the IGP to obey a legitimate decision of the PSC; a constitutional supervisory body over the Police despite several writings, which amounts to impunity and disrespect of law and order, HURIWA cautioned that the Nigeria Police Force is a creation of the Nigeria Constitution has been upholding the rule of law and respecting judicial decisions of competent courts of the land in matters of this nature.
“The Police service Commission is the sole Statutory body exclusively empowered and responsible for the appointment, promotion, dismissal, and exercise of disciplinary control over persons holding or aspiring to hold offices in The Nigeria Police Force except for the Inspector-General of Police”.
HURIWA, therefore, called on the National Assembly to intervene in compelling the IGP to obey the order of the PSC and reinstate ASP Ekpenyong Inyene Nkereuwem, who at the time of her dismissal, was not tried but dismissed for an undisclosed offense.