The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has told the Federal High Court in Abuja that the law permits him to remain in office till either 2023 or 2024.
He said this in his court documents filed to counter a suit challenging the three-month extension granted him by President Muhammadu Buhari in February.
Adamu attained the maximum 35 years in service on February 1, but got a three-month extension of his tenure by President Muhammadu Buhari on February 3.
An Abuja-based lawyer, Maxwell Opara, had filed a suit on February 3 to challenge the tenure extension. Opara argued in his suit that by virtue of section 215 of the Nigerian Constitution and section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, Adamu could not validly continue to function as the IGP having retired as a member of the Nigeria Police Force as from midnight of February 1, 2021.
Opara sought, among others, in his suit, an order directing Adamu to stop functioning as the IGP. He asked the court to hold that the failure of Buhari and the Nigeria Police Council (NPC) to name a new IGP on February 1 when Adamu was said to have completed his tenure amounted to abdication of duty. He therefore urged the court to compel President Buhari and the NPC to immediately appoint a new IGP, PremiumTimes reports.
But Adamu arguing through his lawyer, Alex Izinyon, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, in objection to the suit, said that his tenure never lapsed on February 1. The IGP argued that the new Nigeria Police Act gave him a four-year tenure which would only lapse in either 2023 or 2024.
According to him, 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.
According to Adamu, the IGP office is not governed by the general law applicable to the rest of the police force.
He said the provision of the law in “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 argued that 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.”
He added that from the various provisions of the law, it was “discernible” 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.”
He insisted that 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.”
Adamu argued in his suit that the suit by Opara was not competent to be heard on merit. He urged the court to dismiss the suit at the preliminary stage on among other grounds that, the plaintiff “lacks the locus standi to institute this sunt.”
He also contended that the Federal High Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit since its subject matter is related “to employment and condition of service of the 2nd defendant.”
According to him, 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.