IGP’s Tenure And Section 7(6) Of The Police Act 2020, By Adewole Kehinde

I was among those who commended President Muhammadu Buhari on April 6, 2021, when he announced the appointment of Usman Alkali Baba as the new Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP).

I remembered vividly that Baba replaced Mohammed Adamu, who retired from the police and as the inspector-general.

Nigerians will recall that the Nigeria Police Force (Establishment) Act, 2020, which came into force on September 17, 2020, repealed the Police Act of 2004, and the Police Act 2020 also says that the Inspector General of Police shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Police Council from among serving members of the Police Force.

On November 30, 2021, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, via an appointment letter with reference: SGF.20/S.6/83 dated 30th Nov 2021, says the IGP appointment is for a 4-year tenure, which is in line with Section 7 paragraph 6 of the Police Act, which says the person to be appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years.

Section 7 of the Police Act, paragraph two, says that the person to be appointed as Inspector General of Police shall be a senior police officer not below the rank of an Assistant Inspector-General of Police.

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IGP Usman Alkali Baba had served as the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in Edo State and the FCT; Commissioner of Police FCT and Delta Commands, amongst others; Ag. DIG in charge of Finance and Administration; and Force Secretary. Until his appointment, Baba was the deputy inspector-general of police, force criminal investigation department, and police headquarters.

The law further says that the person to be appointed to the position of Inspector General must have the requisite academic qualifications of not less than a first degree or equivalent professional and management experience.

Usman Alkali Baba obtained a BA (ED) in Political Science from Bayero University, Kano, in 1985. He has a Masters Degree in Public Administration (MPA) obtained from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, in 1997. He holds a Teacher’s Grade II Certificate (TC II) from Teachers College, Potiskum, Yobe State, in 1980.

I want to remind those calling for the head of the IGP that the appointment of IGP Usman Alkali Baba is not a normal promotion; it is a political appointment, so Section 18 of the Constitution does not apply to IGP Usman Alkali Baba.

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After all, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali, is a retired Army Colonel, and he was appointed to oversee the overall management and direction of the Customs Service.

Some so-called activists have even gone to court to challenge the IGP, and I recalled that Justice James Omotosho of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja dismissed a suit seeking the sack of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Alkali Baba Usman.

The suit instituted against President Muhammadu Buhari and four others by an Abuja-based activist, Michael Sam Idoko, was dismissed by the court for lack of locus standi.

In his judgement, Justice Omotoso invoked Section 7(6) of the Police Act 2020, which puts the tenure of office of any IGP at four years.

The judge held that the retirement of Usman from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has nothing to do with his appointment on the ground that the four-year tenure is sacrosanct.

Besides, Justice Omotoso said that the plaintiff, who claimed to be a social crusader, has no jurisdiction to institute the case under the guise of public interest.

He held that the plaintiff failed to establish any peculiar or special interest over and above other Nigerians.

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Specifically, Justice Omotoso described the plaintiff as a busybody and meddlesome interloper, adding that he was not a serving police officer qualified for appointment or had ever applied for the IGP’s position.

Idoko, through his counsel, Chief James Ogwu Onoja, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had filed the suit challenging the legality of the continuous stay of the IGP in office after having served out his tenure.

The suit marked FHC/CS/31/2023 was subsequently dismissed without any cost against the plaintiff.

I hope that the relevant sections of the Nigeria Police Force (Establishment) Act, 2020, cited, including the judgement of Justice James Omotosho of a Federal High Court, will put an end to those seeking the head of IGP Alkali Baba Usman.

On a final note, the four-year tenure is the best for an Inspector General of Police, as this affords the IGP time to actualize his plans for the overall management and direction of the Nigeria Police.

Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached via 08166240846, kennyadewole@gmail.com

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