Gift Joseph Okpakorese
The sudden removal of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu by President Muhammadu Buhari has been criticised by The Rule of Law Accountability and Advocacy Centre (RULAAC).
The Rule of Law Accountability and Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), a human rights advocacy group, called the decision unconstitutional.
They remarked that the President can only authorize a new police chief with the assistance of the Nigeria Police Council comprising him as chairman, all the 36 state governors, the chairman of the Police Service Commission, and the outgoing IGP.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday, asked Alkali to take over the office of the IGP with immediate effect. This decision by the President raised lots of questions and caused quite a stir even amongst the authorities of the police force.
Meanwhile, before his appointment, news sources had disclosed that Baba was the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department, Force Headquarters.
Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director, RULAAC, reacted to the recent development via a statement disclosing that President Buhari lacks the power to singlehandedly appoint an IGP.
The statement read, “The procedure for appointment and removal of the Inspector General of Police is spelled out in both the 1999 Constitution and the new Police Act 2020 which President Buhari signed into law in 2020.
“The procedure requires that the Police Council, comprising the President, the governor of each of the states of the federation and the FCT, the chairman of the police service commission and the sitting inspector general of police, would meet to consider the candidates and advice the President who will then appoint one of them based on the advice of the Council. The President also needs to consult the Police Council to remove a sitting IGP.
“The law does not empower the President to singlehandedly appoint or remove an IGP. There is no contemplation of an acting IGP whose appointment will be confirmed by the Council of State. The council of state has no role in the appointment process.
“President Buhari is currently out of the country on medical tourism. When then did the police council seat? The person appointed is not the most qualified among the potential candidates. The choice would probably have been different had the council sat. Minister of Police Affairs who announced the purported appointment is not even a member of the police council.
“President Buhari does not appear to be willing to break his streak of illegalities, from the illegal extension of the tenure of a retired IGP to the abrupt removal of the IG of police before the expiration of his illegal period of extension to the appointment of an acting IGP without recourse to the constitutional and statutory procedure.
“The purportedly appointed acting IG of police suffers irredeemable legitimacy deficit. He cannot command authority and respect because his appointment is illegal. It cannot stand. The President must begin to lead by example. He must put an end to the subversion of the law. Democracy is protected by the rule of law.”
Meanwhile, recent reports indicate that the handover ceremony to usher in the new IGP of Police has already been concluded on Wednesday the 7th of April, and that he has since resumed duties, with the official Nigeria Police Twitter handle announcing that “the Inspector-General of Police, Ag. IG of police Usman Alkali Baba, NPM, psc (+), FDC, today, 7th April 2021 assumed duty as the Inspector General of Police of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The new Inspector General of Police was the former Commissioner of Police for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and the Delta commands, among other previous appointments.
He was the Deputy Inspector General in charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department just before his appointment to the office of the IGP.
In a press release by the Nigeria Police Force after his appointment, it was stated that “He holds a policing vision of enhancing police primacy in the protection of lives and property. He believes in the provision of motivational and credible leadership driven by professionalism and strategic planning, all directed at stabilizing internal security and modernizing police operations within the framework of citizens’ consent, trust, and the rule of law. “