Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector-General of Police, has insisted that the new Police Act, 2020, empowers him to remain in office for the next four years.
In the documents filed by his lawyer, Alex Iziyon (SAN), before the Federal High Court, Abuja, in response to a suit against him, Adamu argued that 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.
This position is contained in the counter-affidavit and notice of objection the IGP filed against a suit by a lawyer, Maxwell Opara, challenging Adamu’s continued stay in office beyond February 1.
Adamu was expected to retire from the Nigeria Police Force having attained the maximum service period of 35 years on 1 February.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari extended the IGP’s tenure by three months in order to find a competent replacement.
But responding to Opara’s suit, Adamu argued that the office of the IGP is not governed by the general provisions applicable to the rest of the police force, noting that his office is “a quasi-political office”.
According to him, “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 contended 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 stated that from the various provisions of the law, it is evident 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”.
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,” he argued in the document.