According to President Muhammadu Buhari and Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami, the law allows Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), to stay in office until 2023 or 2024.
On February 1, Adamu, who was appointed in 2019, completed the necessary 35 years of service and was scheduled to be replaced by the president.
President Muhammadu Buhari, on the other hand, extended Adamu’s term by three months on February 4.
In a suit signed FHC/ABJ/CS/106/21, a legal practitioner sued the IGP, claiming that because of section 215 of the Nigerian constitution and section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, Adamu cannot continue to serve as the IGP after retiring as a serving member of the force.
The IGP, on the other hand, informed the federal high court that the new Nigeria Police Act granted him a four-year term that would end in either 2023 or 2024.
The IGP, through his lawyer, Alex Iziyon, argued that his term will expire in 2023 if counted from the date of his appointment as IGP in 2019, or in 2024 if counted from the date the new Nigeria Police Act took effect in 2020.
He said the provision of “section 18(8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 which is that ‘Every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the Nigeria Police Force for a period of 35 years or until he attains the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier,’ is with due respect, inapplicable to the office of the inspector-general of police in the circumstance.”
The IGP, according to Iziyon, “is only accountable to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Nigeria Police Council, and this fact, we submit, makes his office a quasi-political office with a four-year term pursuant to Section 7(6) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.”
In a joint response to the plaintiff’s complaint, the president and AGF said they fully agree with all of the IGP counsel’s points.
My Lord on the above issue, it is our position that we will be relying and aligning with the argument canvassed by the 2nd defendant’s (IGP’s) counsel as their issue two in paragraphs 1.18 to 1.49 of their written address and we shall be adopting same as ours and urge this honourable court to uphold our argument and dismiss the plaintiff’s case as same is frivolous,” the written address read in part.
According to them, the president has the authority to “appoint a serving police officer as the inspector-general of police in consultation with the police council” under the constitution.
In response to allegations that the IGP is no longer a police officer, the president and AGF claimed that 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.
“That question if the 2nd defendant is still a serving police officer is a question of fact.
“That it is a fact that the Nigeria Police Act 2020 is a subsidiary legislation passed by the National Assembly.
“That it is a fact that the appointment of an inspector-general of police is by the constitution conferred on the president of the federal republic of Nigeria.”
They demanded that the court “dismiss this suit and uphold our claim in favor of the view that the plaintiff’s case is frivolous, unmeritorious, and unworthy of this honourable court’s consideration.”
They have asked for “heavy cost” to be imposed on the plaintiff.