President Muhammadu Buhari and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has contended it is constitutional for the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu to remain in office until either 2023 or 2024, according to the new Police Act.
The IGP who joined the service in 1986 was set to retire February 1, following his completed 35 years in office and was expected to have been replaced by the president, notwithstanding it has been only a year since his appointment as IGP in 2019.
President Muhammadu Buhari, however extended Adamu’s tenure by three months on February 4. As of Tuesday, March 16, the IGP has spent half of the three months extended tenure announced by the president.
A legal practitioner, Maxwell Opara, had sued the IGP in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/106/21. The senior lawyer said by virtue of section 215 of the Nigerian Constitution and section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, Adamu cannot continue to function as the IGP in Nigeria, having retired as a serving member of the force.
However, in his defence, the IGP told the federal high court that the new Nigeria Police Act gave him a four-year tenure, which would only lapse in either 2023 or 2024.
The IGP through his counsel, Alex Iziyon, argued that his tenure will lapse in 2023 if counted from 2019 when he was appointed as the IGP or 2024 if counted from 2020 when the new Nigeria Police Act came into force.
Supporting Adamu’s position in a joint response to the plaintiff’s suit, the President and AGF said they are in total support to all points made by the IGP counsel.
Their joint response was filed by Maimuna Shiru, a lawyer in the AGF’s office.
Iziyon submitted that the IGP “is only accountable to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Nigeria Police Council. He argued that the office of the IGP is “quasi-political” and “is conferred with a special status” with a tenure of four (4) years and “distinct from other officers of the Nigeria Police Force pursuant to Section 7(6) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.”
Responding to the claim that the IGP is no longer a police officer, the President and AGF said neither the Nigeria Police Council nor the Police Service Commission “have disclosed any contrary fact that the 2nd defendant (IGP) is not a serving police officer.”
“The plaintiff has failed to discharge the legal burden of proof that the 2nd defendant is not a serving police officer for the purposes of extension of his tenure in office”, they said.
Source: The cable