The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu has faulted argument that his continued stay in office was unlawful having attained the maximum 35 years in service on February 1, 2021.
Adamu argued the new Nigeria Police Act gave him a four-year tenure, which would only lapse in either 2023 or 2024.
He insisted that his tenure will lapse in 2023 if counted from 2019 when he was appointed as the IGP, or 2024, if counted from 2020 when the new Nigeria Police Act came into force.
The IGP’s position is contained in the counter-affidavit and notice of objection he filed against a suit filed by a lawyer, Maxwell Opara before the Fedetal High Court in Abuja, challenging Adamu’s. continued stay in office beyond February 1.
In the documents filed by his lawyer, Alex Iziyon (SAN), Adamu contended that the office of the IGP is not governed by the general provisions applicable to the rest of the police force.
The IGP noted 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.”
He argued the effect of section 7(6) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 “is that immediately a person is appointed into the office of the Inspector-General of Police, a new legal regime is triggered off.”
The IGP stated that, from the various provisions of the law, it was “discernible” that “the office of the Inspector-General of Police is conferred with a special status, unique and distinct from other officers of the Nigeria Police force.”
Adamu stated that the IGP upon appointment “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 tenure of four (4) years pursuant to Section 7(6) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.”
He further argued: “Therefore based on our submission above, the combined effect of Sections 215 and 216 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, is that the 2nd defendant can validly function as the Inspector General of Police after midnight of February 1, 2021 in so far as he was a serving member of the Nigeria Police Force during the period of his appointment, as his tenure in office is specially regulated by Section 7(6) of the Nigeria Police Act which stipulates in unambiguous terms that upon his appointment he stays in office for four(4) years.
“Therefore, if the 2nd defendant’s tenure in office is calculated from January 15, 2019 when he was appointed into the office of the Inspector General of Police, his tenure lapse in 2023.
“However, if his tenure in office is calculated from 2020 when the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 came into force. his tenure in office ends in 2024.”
In further faulting the plaintiff’s contention, the IGP argued that Opara, who deposed to the affidavit filed in support of the suit was “not directly in a position to know” if the IGP’s tenure had ended.
He added that Opara could not have known when his tenure expired because he “is clearly not a staff member of the 2nd defendant (IGP) and the Nigeria Police Force.”
“He failed woefully to state in his affidavit how he got the information that the 2nd defendant had retired from the Nigeria police. He also failed woefully to tender any document to support his claim.”
He contended that President Muhamadu Buhari did not abdicate his duty by not immediately naming a new IGP on February 1.
In his notice of objection, the IGP questioned the competence of the suit and prayed the court to reject it.
According to him, the Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit since its subject matter is related “to employment and condition of service of the 2nd defendant.”
He added that by virtue of section 254(c)(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) only the National Industrial Court has the jurisdiction to hear the suit.
It is the plaintiff’s contention that by virtue of section 215 of the Nigerian Constitution and section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, Adamu could not validly continue to function as the IGP having retired as a member of the Nigeria Police Force as from midnight of February 1, 2021.
Opara wants the court to among others, hold that the failure of Presidnt Buhari and the Nigeria Police Council (NPC) to name a new IGP on February 1 when Adamu allegedly completed his tenure amounted to abdication of duty.
The plaintiff wants the court to compel President Buhari and the NPC to immediately appoint a new IGP.