#EndSARS: Many Nigerians don?t know Buhari can?t sack police officers - Fashola

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has said that some Nigerians do not know that President Muhammadu Buhari can’t sack police officers. 

 

The Minister who spoke on the topic ‘What can the president do for me?’ at the Yoruba Tennis Club annual lecture which held in Lagos on Friday November 5, said this in reaction to the #EndSARS protests of October 2020, which led to the disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS). 

 

Noting that many Nigerians do not understand governance structure, Fashola alleged that some of the protesters wanted the president to sack some policemen, including the inspector-general of police.

 

He said; 

 

“At the onset of the protest against the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) when five demands were made in respect of the police and SARS, President Muhammadu Buhari weighed in on the side of the protesters.

“In my interaction with some of them, young and not so young, they wanted the president to sack some policemen, in some cases, even the inspector-general of police.

“During this interaction, I referred them to the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended, that I pointed out to them that the president of Nigeria cannot sack a policeman because a policeman is not the employee of the president, but rather the employee of the police service commission.

“In my interaction with some of them, young and not so young, they wanted the president to sack some policemen, in some cases, even the inspector-general of police.

“During this interaction, I referred them to the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended, that I pointed out to them that the president of Nigeria cannot sack a policeman because a policeman is not the employee of the president, but rather the employee of the police service commission.

“The president can only sack ministers and other appointees that he personally appoints to assist him and not any civil servant deployed to work for him such as a cook, driver, or administrative staff who are ordinary employees of the civil service commission.

“Not a few persons were surprised to hear this. Indeed, I have discovered that a sizeable number of our people express surprise when I explain the structure of government to them.”

 

Fashola also said that some Nigerians think he has the sole power to decide on monetary allocations as a Minister. 

 

He added; 

 

“For example, I explain to people that as governor or minister I do not sign cheques, vouchers or documents that directly involve the transfer of money.

“On the contrary, at certain levels of payment under the financial regulation, my powers as governor or minister are limited to approving recommendations for payment made to me through the permanent secretary, after he and I have satisfied ourselves that the government has received value for the payment or will do so.

“Although the federal ministry of works and housing has several directorates such as construction and rehabilitation, planning and development, bridges and design, materials geotechnics and quality control, finance and accounts, legal and procurement, many openly express surprise when I tell them that only engineers, architects, valuers, builders, town planners and those involved in the built industry are staff of the ministry of works and housing.

“What is true of the federal civil service system in this regard is largely true of the state civil service systems. This in part is why the public service is a bureaucracy.

“I am surprised that this surprises people and this is a part of the reason for choosing to discuss it at this public forum.

“So, very often, I hear general statements that the president of Nigeria is very powerful. Sometimes, they say the office is too powerful in some cases they even ascribe more powers to him than the United States president.”