A lawyer has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to order the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to stop parading himself as the IGP after attaining the mandatory 35 years in service.
The Abuja-based lawyer, Maxwell Okpara, on Wednesday, approached the court, asking it to declare as illegal, all actions IGP Adamu took as head of the Nigerian Police Force after February 1, 2021.
Adamu, who was officially due for retirement on Monday, has not handed over the reins of leadership to the most senior officer as expected as President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to delay the appointment of a new IGP.
The IGP, who joined the service on February 1, 1986, has attained the mandatory 35 years in service.
Aside from Adamu, three Deputy Inspector-Generals of Police and 10 Assistant Inspector-Generals of Police have also attained the maximum years of service.
While the other top police officers have all proceeded on retirement, sources at the Louis Edet House on Wednesday told SNLINKZ that the IGP is still performing his official duties as he has refused to hand over.
The plaintiff, in the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/106/2021, urged the court to restrain Adamu from exercising any form of command over officers of the NPF.
He described his continued stay in office as IGP, after spending 35 years in service, which is the maximum period he is allowed to spend by law, as illegal and unconstitutional.
Aside from Adamu, other defendants in the suit are President Muhammadu Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, and the Nigeria Police Council.
The plaintiff, in the affidavit he deposed to, argued that Adamu ceased to be a police officer from midnight of February 1, 2021, when he spent 35 years in service, which is the retirement period by virtue of the Police Act.
He said, “That the 2nd defendant, though no longer a serving police officer, continued to function as the Inspector General of Police, sitting in the office of the Inspector General of Police and adorning the official uniform of an Inspector General of Police.”
He prayed the court to determine whether by the provisions of section 215 and 216 of the Constitution and section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act 2020, Adamu can validly continue to function as IGP, since he stopped being a serving member of the Nigeria Police Force after the midnight of February 1, 2021.
He also asked “whether the failure of the president and the Nigeria Police Council to appoint an IG on February 1, 2021, does not Constitute abdication of their duties under Section 215 of the Constitution and Section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020”.
According to the plaintiff, if Adamu can no longer lawfully continue to function as the IGP as from midnight of February 1, 2021, then all actions he took thereafter should be termed as illegal, null and void and considered to be a breach of the Constitution and the Police Act.
He, therefore, prayed the court to restrain Adamu from parading himself as IG or exercising any form of command or control over the Force since he is no longer a serving police officer.
He also asked the court to mandate the President to immediately appoint a new IGP in line with the provisions of Section 7 of the police act.
But no date has been fixed for hearing of the matter.
The police boss was at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport on Tuesday to receive President Muhammadu Buhari who returned to Abuja after a four-day trip to his hometown Daura.
Also, on Wednesday, Adamu again showed up at the Force Headquarters in Abuja wearing his uniform despite attaining the statutory age of retirement, SaharaReporters gathered.
Although there have been speculations over who will replace Adamu, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, insisted that the choice of a new IGP would not be based on ethnicity.
“If you are going to appoint the service chiefs from every ethnic group in this country, you are going to have more than 250 inspector-generals of police, 250 chiefs of army staff, 250 chiefs of naval staff. It’s not going to work like that. And they have their own systems of producing leadership,” Shehu said in an interview on Channels Television on Monday.
“If we say we are going to use ethnicity or region as the basis, then we have lost it. This is about law and order; it is not about ethnic identity. This country finished with tribalism in the 1960s; why are we back to it now?
“But if you have two, three positions — look at what happened with the service chiefs just appointed. Two from the south, two from the north. If you are talking about religion, two Muslims, two Christians. So, what do you want again?
“The president will rather have an inspector-general of police who will make you and I safer, protect lives and property, than one who is more pronounced by his tribal marks.”
Findings showed that Adamu’s refusal to hand over is contrary to the provisions of the Police Act 2020 which in Section 7 (6) fixes a single term of four years without an option of extension of tenure for the holder of the office of the Inspector-General of Police.
“A person appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years,” it read.
Section 18 (8) of the Act signed by President Buhari on September 15, 2020 also read, “Every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the police force for 35 years or until he attains the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier.” – SMLINKZ ON FACEBOOK