Human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s extension of the tenure of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, is both illegal and unconstitutional.
Adegboruwa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, quoted Section 215 (1)(a) and Section 216(2) of the 1999 Constitution to state that Buhari lacks the power to extend the tenure of service of an IGP.
He said, “When the tenure of a serving IGP expires on the grounds of completing the mandatory 35 years of service, he cannot be asked to continue in office beyond his mandatory tenure.
“An IGP who has served the mandatory years of service ceases to be a member of the Nigeria Police Force from the date of his completion of his service. In this case, Mr Adamu ceases to be a member of the NPF from February 2, 2021.
“Under and by virtue of section 215(1)(a) of the Constitution and section 7(3) of the Police Act, 2020, only a serving member of the Nigeria Police Force can be appointed as IGP. Mr Adamu having completed his mandatory years of service in February 2, 2021, he cannot be appointed as IGP, from outside the force.
“The President lacks the power to reabsorb a retired police officer back into the NPF through a purported tenure extension, which is not contemplated by law.
“The President cannot appoint an IGP or extend the tenure of a retired IGP without the advice of the Nigeria Police Council, which in this case has not met to consider, let alone approve such tenure extension.”
Adegboruwa noted that the Federal Republic of Nigeria therefore presently “has no IGP properly so recognised by law.”
Buhari had earlier extended the tenure of the IGP, Adamu, for three months.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, disclosed this on Thursday while briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said that the decision of the President to extend the IGP’s tenure for another three months was to give time for proper selection of the new helmsman.
This, however, would be contrary to the provisions of the Police Act 2020, which in Section 7 (6) fixes a single term of four years without an option of extension of tenure for the holder of the office of the Inspector-General of Police.
“A person appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years,” it read.
Section 18 (8) of the Act signed by the President on September 15, 2020 also read, “Every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the police force for 35 years or until he attains the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier.”