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Nigerians kick as Buhari extends IG’s tenure

By Joe Onyekwere, Odita Sunday, Tosin Adams (Lagos), Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Terhemna Daka (Abuja)
05 February 2021   |   3:40 am
Nigerians, yesterday, kicked as President Muhammadu Buhari extended the tenure of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, and forwarded the names of the immediate past service chiefs to the Senate

Nominates service chiefs as ambassadors • PDP accuses Presidency of shielding ex-service chiefs from probe
• Lawyers declare extension illegal, unconstitutional
• Police officers say new IGP needed to boost morale
• Elongation necessary for proper selection of new helmsman says minister

Nigerians, yesterday, kicked as President Muhammadu Buhari extended the tenure of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, and forwarded the names of the immediate past service chiefs to the Senate as non-career ambassadors-designate.

Buhari extended Adamu’s tenure, which ended on Monday, by three months. The extension was announced to correspondents yesterday by the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The elongation became necessary, according to him, to allow for a robust and efficient process of appointing a new IG.

He said: “This is not unconnected to the desire of Mr. President to, not only have a smooth handover but to also ensure the right officer is appointed into that position. Mr President is extending by three months to allow him to get into the process of appointing a new one.”

The minister dismissed insinuations that the extension had created a lacuna in the system, adding that it was within the President’s constitutional prerogative.

He dismissed as social media creation earlier stories that the IGP had been retired.

“It was one of those social media stories that one cannot control,” he said.

THE nomination of the ex-service chiefs was contained in a letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.

The nominees are: Gen Abayomi G. Olonisakin (rtd), Lt Gen Tukur Y. Buratai (Rtd), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (rtd), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (rtd), and Air Vice Marshal Mohammed S. Usman (rtd).

The President, according to the letter, said the proposal is in accordance with Section 171 (1), (2) (c) & sub-section (4) of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

The President stated: “I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed five names of nominees as Non-Career Ambassadors-Designate.”

The office extension and nomination came at a time some Nigerians had called for the prosecution of the ex-service chiefs for alleged infractions committed in office; and the replacement of the IGP, having clocked the mandatory retirement age.

Prominent among them was a former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose. He called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other relevant authorities to begin the immediate probe of the tenure of the former service chiefs for alleged human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings under their watch.

The ex-governor also accused the ex-service chiefs of serving Nigeria with pecuniary gains and exposed the citizens to Boko Haram insurgents and other criminal elements.

Similarly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had demanded an immediate probe into the tenure of the former service chiefs to unravel the circumstances behind security lapses and compromises in the country during their tenure.

Reacting to the development, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) described the extension of the expired tenure of the IGP as illegal and unconstitutional.

According to him, Section 215 (1)(a) of 1999 Constitution states: “There shall be an Inspector-General of Police who, subject to Section 216(2) of this Constitution shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council from among serving members of the Nigeria Police Force.”

Adegboruwa pointed out that section 216(2) stipulates that: “Before making an appointment to the office of the Inspector-General of Police or removing him from office, the President shall consult the Nigeria Police Council.”

He stated that paragraph 27 of the third schedule to the 1999 Constitution states: “The Nigeria Police Council shall comprise the following members: (A) the President who shall be the Chairman; (B) the Governor of each State of the Federation; (C) the Chairman of the Police Service Commission; and (D) the Inspector-General of Police.”

Relying on the above citations, he argued that when the tenure of a serving IGP expires on the ground of completing the mandatory 35 years of service, he cannot be asked to continue in office beyond his mandatory tenure.

He insisted that an IGP who has served the mandatory years of service ceases to be a member of the Nigeria Police Force from the date of the completion of his service, adding that Adamu ceases to be a member of the NPF from February 2, 2021.

“Under and by virtue of Section 215(1)(a) of the Constitution and Section 7(3) of the Police Act, 2020, only a serving member of the Nigeria Police Force can be appointed as IGP. Mr Adamu, having completed his mandatory years of service on February 2, 2021, he cannot be appointed as IGP, from outside the force.

“The President lacks the power to reabsorb a retired police officer back into the NPF through a purported tenure extension, which is not contemplated by law. The President cannot appoint an IGP or extend the tenure of a retired IGP without the advice of the Nigeria Police Council, which in this case has not met to consider, let alone approve such tenure extension.”

A Lagos lawyer, Chima Adiele, also described the appointment as improper.

“It kills the ambition of other officers who are also qualified for the job. It seems as if it is only the current IGP that is qualified for the job. It looks like he wants to humiliate a particular set of persons because two years is enough for them to have fished out some else.

“More so, it is unconstitutional. What is the essence of the Constitution and statutes if not to regulate orderliness, conducts and actions? Someone’s tenure expires and you recalled him as if there are no other persons in that establishment that could handle the job. As far as I am concerned, such conduct is not in order,” he stated.

Similarly, a former second vice president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani, said the reason given for the extension was untenable.

“Does that mean that the President was not aware of when the tenure of the IGP will end? It will be better for the President to just say he wants to extend his tenure rather than saying he needs ample time to select the new helmsman for the police because there was enough time to do that.

“Although the President has the discretion to appoint, remove and extend appointments, the new police act, which he signed, limited the act of extending tenures in my view. So, I am wondering whether his action is not a clear violation of the act he signed recently,” he stated.

The Guardian gathered that Commissioners in Police Service Commission, including its chairman, Musiliu Smith frowned on the decision to allow Adamu another three months.

Some police officers contacted by The Guardian expressed displeasure over the extension.

The officers who spoke on condition of anonymity said a new IGP was desperately needed to rekindle the long lost morale of officers and men after the carnage experienced as a result of #Endsars protest.

Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Taiwo Lakanu, however, said it was a welcome development.

Lakanu, “This IGP is one of the best IGP that the country has ever produced. The extension would allow him to consolidate on infrastructural development for the force. He is articulate and he knows what he is doing. The extension will also give the Federal Government ample time to select the best officer to succeed him.”

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Rtd), Abdulmajid Ali also told The Guardian that the extension was the right decision by the Federal government.

“There are a lot of projects, which he initiated, he needs time to complete them. He would now have time to stabilise his community policing project and complete some of the good works he started. I am highly in support of it,” the DIG said.

According to security expert and publisher of Chief Detective magazine, Dipo Kehinde, “It is most likely the President has given this three-month tenure extension to buy time for proper security checks on the list of candidates presented to the President.

“You will notice that some of the candidates are very desperate in their bid. This cautious step by President Buhari is in order”.

Publisher of Crime World magazine, Albert Uba criticized the extension.

According to him, “The evolving scenario is a confirmation that we may not find a solution to the problem of insecurity in the country for as long as President Buhari remains in office.

“With this, staff morale will further nose-dive because there are so many odds operationally against IGP Mohammed Adamu, who was supposed to vacate office and allow fresh ideas into the Force.”

Former Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Sir. Mike Ejiofor simply told The Guardian, “I am short of words.”

MEANWHILE, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of trying to use ambassadorial appointments to shield the immediate past service chiefs from the investigation over alleged killing of innocent Nigerians and crimes against humanity.

The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, charged the Senate to eschew all partisan considerations and stand on the side of the people by rejecting the demand by President Muhammadu Buhari to confirm them as ambassadors.

“It is indeed sacrilegious and a horrible assault on the sensibility of Nigerians that the APC government is seeking to use ambassadorial appointments as a desperate measure to secure diplomatic immunity for the former commanders and protect them from investigation, arrest and possible prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the atrocities committed against innocent Nigerians under their command,” he said.

The PDP asserted that appointing the former service chiefs as ambassadors would confer diplomatic immunity on them and provide them with a route for escape.

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