Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu whose tenure elongation led to filing of a lawsuit by an Abuja-based lawyer Maxwell Opara, has told the Federal High Court in Abuja that the law permits him to remain in office till either 2023 or 2024.
The IGP in a notice of preliminary objection along with the accompanying documents filed by his lawyer Alex Izinyon, stated that his tenure never ended on February 1.
According to Adamu, the new Nigeria Police Act gives him a four-year tenure which would elapse 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.
“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.
“Therefore, if the 2nd defendant’s tenure in office is calculated from January 15, 2019, when he was appointed into the office of the inspector-general of police, his tenure lapse in 2023.
“However, if his tenure in office is calculated from 2020 when the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 came into force. his tenure in office ends in 2024.”
IGP Adamu further countered Opara’s submission by stating that he (Opara) was “not directly in a position to know” if his tenure has ended.
“He is clearly not a staff member of the 2nd defendant (IGP) and the Nigeria Police Force.
“He failed woefully to state in his affidavit how he got the information that the 2nd defendant had retired from the Nigeria police. He also failed woefully to tender any document to support his claim.”
Adamu also argued that the IGP office is not governed by the general provisions applicable to the rest of the police force.
According to him, “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” and he is only answerable to the President.
“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.”
Mr Adamu also argued in his suit that the suit by Mr Opara was not competent to be heard on merit. He urged the court to dismiss the suit at t 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.” He added that 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.