PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has extended the tenure of Mohammed Adamu as the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) for three months.
Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi, made the announcement during a briefing of State House correspondents on Thursday. He said the extension was necessary to give room for the proper selection of a successor.
The announcement was, however, greeted with condemnation from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos-based lawyer and activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and a constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome.
While announcing the tenure extension, the minister said: “Mr President has decided that the present IGP, Mohammed Adamu, will continue to serve as the IG for the next three months, to allow for a robust and efficient process of appointing a new IG.
“This is not unconnected to the desire of the president to not only have a smooth handover, but to also ensure that the right officer is appointed into that position.
“The president is extending by three months to allow him get into the process of allowing a new one.”
When asked to explain the lacuna as the announcement came days after Adamu was due to retire, the minister remarked: “There’s no lacuna. Mr President can decide to extend his tenure for three months.”
On the reported appointment of a new IGP, Dingyadi pointed out that there was no such thing, adding that “It was one of those social media stories that one cannot control.”
Adegboruwa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), however, declared the purported extension of the expired tenure of Adamu as the police boss as illegal and unconstitutional, adding that it defied the provisions of Section 215 (1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution. He said consequently, the Federal Republic of Nigeria presently has no IGP properly so recognised by law. According to Adegboruwa, the president’s action run foul of every provision of the constitution with regards to the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police, as the tenure of a serving IGP expires on the ground of completing the mandatory 35 years of service and he cannot be asked to continue in office beyond his mandatory tenure.
He explained that the law, in the 1999 Constitution, provides that: “There shall be an Inspector-General of Police who, subject to Section 216(2) of this Constitution, shall be appointed by the president on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council from among serving members of the Nigeria Police Force.
“Section 216(2): says before making any appointment to the office of the Inspector-General of Police or removing him from office, the President shall consult the Nigeria Police Council.”
Paragraph 27 of Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution: “The Nigeria Police Council shall comprise the following members: the President who shall be the chairman; the governor of each state of the federation; the chairman of the Police Service Commission and the Inspector-General of Police.
“From all the above: 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 ceased 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 on February 2, 2021, cannot be appointed as IGP from outside the force.
“The president lacks the power to reabsorb a retired police officer 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.”
Corroborating him, Ozekhome, another SAN, noted that for now, Nigeria does not have a legal Inspector-General of Police backed up by the constitution. In an interview on Channels Television on Thursday, the constitutional lawyer described the position being occupied by the retiring IG as illegal.
“In the eye of the law, we do not have an inspector-general of police because the IGP has retired by the effusion of time, statutorily and constitutionally,” he said.
Ozekhome noted that the inspector-general will retire from office when he would have spent 35 years or attained the age of 65, adding that Adamu had served Nigeria for 35 years and ended his service period by the effusion of service time.
He said the retired IGP had done his best in serving the nation, though he might not have been the best Nigerian IGP so far, adding that the president has no right to singlehandedly appoint or remove the inspector-general. He advised President Buhari to withdraw the appointment of Adamu, adding that the president should meet the police council and appoint one of the serving AIGs or conduct an examination for them with the best emerging. In a reaction to the tenure elongation, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alleged that it is in tune with the tendency of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to violate the law.
The PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the president is not a respecter of the constitution.
He said: “This government has never respected our constitution. 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 are laws unto themselves.”