Minister of works and housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola has stated that it is surprising that many Nigerians don’t know that the president doesn’t have the power to sack police officers.
Fashola made this known on Friday while speaking on the topic, ‘What can the president do for me?’ at the Yoruba Tennis Club annual lecture which held in Lagos.
The minister, who was addressing concerns raised during the #EndSARS protests in October 2020, which led to the disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS), stated that many Nigerians don’t fully understand governance structure.
Fashola stated that some persons wanted the president to issue a directive for the outright dismissal of officers.
He, however, explained that there are limits to what the president can do based on the provisions of the constitution.
“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,” the minister said.
“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.”