The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has submitted that the IGP’s office and appointment is not governed by general provisions of the law which apply to the rest of the police force.
Adamu argued that the tenure of his appointment as the Police IG would only lapse in either 2023 or 2024 depending on when counting started.
He added that a special status which supersedes normal rules has been accorded to him following his appointment as the Police IG which can be regarded as a quasi-political appointment with a four-year tenure.
According to him, the 35 years in service which ended on February 1, 2021, has no effect on his appointment as the Police IG, noting that the office of the IG is only answerable to the President of Nigeria and the Nigeria Police Council.
Adamu further noted that the new Nigeria Police Act gave him a four-year tenure which would only lapse in 2023 if counted from 2019 when he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari or in 2024 if counted from 2020 when the new Nigeria Police Act came into force.
IGP Adamu made the submissions in the counter-affidavit and notice of objection filed by his lawyer, Alex Iziyon (SAN) in response to a suit filed by a lawyer, Maxwell Opara before the Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging Adamu’s continued stay in office beyond February 1 when he clocked 35 years in service.
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 added that section 7(6) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 translates to the fact that “immediately a person is appointed into the office of the Inspector-General of Police, a new legal regime is triggered off,” noting further in the affidavit 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.”
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.”
“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,” his lawyer noted before the court.
He argued further that Opara as a lawyer is not in a position to directly know if the IGP’s tenure had ended and also failed to prove how he knew Adamu’s time in service has ended as the lawyer “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.”
Furthermore, the IGP in his notice of objection to the suit on why he has remained in office beyond February 1, 2021 said the Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter 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.
Opara wants the court to among others, hold that the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigeria Police Council (NPC) to name a new IGP on February 1 when Adamu allegedly completed his tenure amounted to an abdication of duty.
He, therefore, wants the court to compel President Buhari and the NPC to immediately appoint a new IGP.
Meanwhile, the lawyer who filed a lawsuit against 50 people, including celebrities during the EndSARS protest, Kenechukwu Okeke, has been confirmed fake and never called to the bar.
The development was confirmed by the Nigerian Bar Association on Monday, adding that Okeke is not on the list of directory of lawyers in Nigeria.