Under the auspices of the Rule of Law Accountability Advocacy Centre, civil society groups have urged President Bola Tinubu to avoid the mistakes made by the previous administration in the appointment of the Inspector General of Police.
“The newly sworn-in President, Bola Tinubu must avoid the wrongful, patently illegal and unconstitutional steps of the past Buhari regime which led to controversies and judicial challenge of appointments made by the President,” they said in a joint statement dated June 2, 2023.
The groups noted that the appointment of IGPs by successive administrations has often “triggered avoidable controversies that have been allowed to fester over the years,” which had now led to the call for the intervention of the President as Chairman of the Police Counsel.
They argued that the appointment of IGP Usman Baba by President Muhammadu Buhari had been untidy, following the shock sacking of his predecessor, former IGP Muhammed Adamu, while on assignment in Imo State on April 6, 2021, adding that IGP Baba’s appointment was also nepotistic, “against the letter and spirit of Nigeria’s Federal Character, a constitutional imperative”.
Again the CSOs said the IGP’s appointment and extension of tenure, contravened section 18, paragraph 8 of the Police Act 2020, which stated that every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment serve in the Nigeria Police Force for 35 years, or until the age of 60, whichever is earlier.
“As at the date of his appointment Usman Baba was 58 years old and following the rules, should have retired in two years, while he was stepping into an office with a four-year tenure.
In appointing Baba or extending his tenure – as with previous similar appointments or extensions, there was no evidence that President Buhari sought the concurrence of the Police Council as is required by both the Constitution and the Police Act”.
The groups also faulted the appointments of all three IGPs of Police appointed by the Buhari administration, noting that the President had prematurely retired the Assistant and Deputy Inspectors-General of Police to fulfil the requirements of paragraphs 2 and 6, Section 7 of the Police Act 2020, which required that officers must be no less than the rank of an AIG to be appointed Inspector-General of Police.
The CSOs therefore called on the President to avoid the pitfalls of the previous administration, and ensure adherence to the Police Act 2020, adding that appointments must only be based on capacity and ability.
“In appointing a new IGP to replace Baba, President Tinubu should avoid a repeat of the pitfalls, errors, and brazen illegalities of the past. In short, appointments must be based on legal and constitutional stipulations, merit, competence, qualifications, seniority, and existing line of succession.
We offer this advice to help this new administration chart a refreshingly new course, which, to us, is in tandem with the President’s commitment to the rule of law and the undertaking he publicly gave in his inauguration address on May 29, 2023”.