MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
All serving police lawyers currently on low rank may soon smile as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Dr. Solomon Arase, has promised to lookinto the status of qualified lawyers serving in the Nigeria Police Force and appearing in Courts with the ranks of Corporals, Sergeants and Inspectors.
He has also pledged to look into the cases of other junior Police officers who acquired additional certificates in other disciplines while in service but left to serve on low ranks. He noted that this will give the Officers the required self confidence to perform better.p
The PSC boss; a former Inspector General of Police spoke in Abuja when he received in audience, the leadership of the Unity Bar, (Nigerian Bar Association Abuja branch) led by Barr. Afam Okeke.
The NBA Chairman who led the delegation had complained that Lawyers who came into the Police Force as junior officers but over the years improved their qualifications are currently appearing and defending cases in Courts for the Nigeria Police Force still wearing junior ranks.
The PSC Chairman told the delegation that the Commission may decide to send these categories of Police Lawyers and other junior Police Officers with additional qualifications on a short Service training after which they would be properly placed as Officers.
He said the Nigeria Police needs the services of more Lawyers stressing that the Commission would come out with a decision that will leave all parties in a win-win situation.
Dr. Arase used the opportunity of the courtesy visit to call on the Nigerian Bar Association to advise practising Lawyers to stop criminalising civil matters. “It is wrong and should be discouraged, civil matters should be treated as civil matters and arbitration should serve the parties and the society better”, he noted.
We should avoid time wasting in criminalising civil matters and sending them to the Police when it can be better handled outside of the Police.”
Dr. Arase called for a robust legal system in Nigeria that inspires the citizens to seek for redress and justice. He noted that offenders must be arrested and prosecuted to restore confidence in the system.
He informed his visitors that the Commission is setting up a Compliance Monitoring Unit to ensure the Police Complaints Response Units promptly attends to public complaints. This new Unit, he said will be directly under his supervision for effectiveness and efficiency.
The Commission according to him will henceforth ensure that it prevents a system that does not attend to public complaints.
The PSC Chairman also spoke of the Commission’s desire to collaborate with the Nigeria Bar Association and organise some training programmes on human rights so as to expose its staff Lawyers to a better appreciation of its duties.
He promised the participation of the Commission and its Staff Lawyers in the Law Week of the Abuja branch and the National body’s convention in Abuja.
Barr. Okeke, the Chairman of the Unity Bar had earlier congratulated the PSC Chairman on his appointment and pledged the Union’s support.