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#EndSARS: Many Nigerians don’t know President Muhammadu Buhari can’t sack police officers – Babatunde Fashola

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Some Nigerians are unaware that President Muhammadu Buhari cannot fire police officers, according to Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola.


The Minister announced this in response to the #EndSARS demonstrations in October 2020, which resulted in the disbandment of the elite anti-robbery unit (SARS).


Fashola claimed that some demonstrators wanted the president to fire some police officers, including the Inspector-General of Police since many Nigerians do not comprehend the country’s governance system.

In his words, 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.”

Some Nigerians believe Fashola has sole authority over monetary allocations as Minister, according to Fashola.

“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.”

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