Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police (IGP), says the law permits him to remain in office until either 2023 or 2024
Adamu, who was appointed in 2019, clocked the mandatory 35 years in service on February 1, and was expected to have been replaced by the president.
But, on February 4, President Muhammadu Buhari extended Adamu’s tenure by three months.
Maxwell Opara, a legal practitioner, in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/106/21, took the IGP to court contending that by virtue of section 215 of the Nigerian constitution and section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, Adamu cannot continue to function as the IGP, having retired as a serving member of the force.
However, in his defence, the IGP told the federal high court that 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.
In the counter affidavit filed by Alex Iziyon, defendant counsel, Adamu contended that the office of the IGP is not governed by the general provisions applicable to the rest of the police force.
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.”
He also said 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 said from the various provisions of the law, it was “discernible” that “the office of the IGP is conferred with a special status, unique and distinct from other officers of the Nigeria Police force”.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Faulting the submissions of Opara, IGP said the plaintiff was “not directly in a position to know” if his tenure has ended.
“He is clearly not a staff member of the 2nd defendant (IGP) and the Nigeria Police Force,” he said.
“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.”