From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Ndubuisi Orji, Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja, Lukman Olabiyi
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, extended the tenure of Mohammed Adamu as Inspector General of Police (IGP) for three months, but it is a decision that has been greeted by mixed reaction from Nigerians.
It was also learnt that several groups and influential persons have commenced the lobby for the position once Adamu’s extended tenure ends.
This comes even as Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) described as illegal, the decision to retain the retired Adamu saying it was a breach of the Nigerian Police Act, 2020, as amended.
Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi, who briefed State House Correspondents, yesterday, at the presidential villa, Abuja said: “Mr President has decided that Adamu will continue to serve as the IGP for the next three months, to allow for a robust and efficient process of appointing a new one. This is not unconnected to the desire of Mr. President to, not only have a smooth handover, but to also ensure the right officer is appointed into that position. Mr. President is extending by three months to allow him get into the process of allowing a new one.”
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in its reaction said the extension of Adamu’s tenure was an indication that President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) lacked respect for laws.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, told Daily Sun: “Buhari and the APC have no respect for the 1999 Constitution. A party and a government that have no respect for its own rules, that has no respect for its own constitution that it promised to obey, how can you expect them to respect the 1999 Constitution? They cannot. They are not used to obeying laws. They are laws unto themselves,” Ologbondiyan said.
Former inspector general of police (IGP), Mike Okiro, however, threw his weight behind the extension.
“It is the prerogative of the president. It is a decision taken in the right direction,” Okiro said.
Asked if he was worried about the security situation, Okiro said: “Of course, I am worried. I am a Nigerian and I live in Nigeria. So, I am worried.”
Leading the proetst by senior lawyers, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, declared that the tenure extension of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Muhammed Adamu by President Muhammadu Buhari is illegal and unconstitutional.
“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.”
Afam Osigwe( SAN) who was a former Secretary General of the Nigerian Bar Association, said Adamu, was no longer a police officer capable of being appointed in acting or substantive capacity to head the Nigerian Police Force.
“The action of the President is in violation of Police Act 2020. The Act expects a police officer to retire upon the attainment of 60 years or after 35 years in service. It appears that the ex-IGP has attained that position. I have read the provision of the Act and it says that only a person who is a police officer can be the IG.”
Similarly, a renowned constitutional lawyer, Mr. Dayo Akinlaja, SAN, noted that it was not in doubt that Adamu had reached the mandatory retirement age.
He argued that the action of President was contrary to the provision of both the Police Act and the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
“I would not know, probably, there is a law that I am not privy to that allows the President to extend the tenure of a retired IG. But going by the Constitution and the amended Police Act, it is very clear that anybody who would be qualified for appointment to the office of the IGP must be a serving member of the Nigerian Police Force.”
Daily Sun learnt that in recent weeks some APC party faithful from the South East have demanded that the President appoints someone from the zone to the position of IGP having not considered anyone worthy from the region among his recently appointed service chief.