A Federal High Court sitting in Awka, has declared that the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, is an illegal occupant of the office he is currently holding.
Justice Fatun Riman, who gave the order, insisted that Baba’s continued stay in office is against the clear provisions of the Police Act, 2020, saying it is “unlawful and unconstitutional”.
The court made the order in its judgment in a suit marked FHC/AKW/CS/58/2023, filed by Okechukwu Nwafor, a taxpayer.
The court, in its judgment, further held that only an officer within the listed rank, with four years in service, can be appointed as IGP, not one with less than four years.
According to Daily Post, although the judgment was delivered on Friday, May 19, 2023, a certified copy of the judgment was cited on Saturday, May 27, 2023.
The plaintiffs in the suit dragged President Muhammadu Buhari, IGP, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and Nigeria Police Council before the court, seeking an order to stop the Baba from further occupying office as his tenure has expired.
In his judgement, after listening to Counsel in the matter, Justice Riman held, “It is important to observe that the Inspector-General of Police is a public servant and by virtue of the fact that he is a member of the staff of the Nigeria Police Force, an authority established from the Federation by Section 214 (1) of the Constitution and in the subject of the Federal Public Rules 299 (PSR) thereof, which provides for the compulsory retirement of all grades of public service officers at the age of 60 or 35 years of service, whichever comes first.
“I also observe that despite the prerogative power of the President, he is limited to the provisions of the Constitution. The Inspector General of Police retirement is a statutory and constitutional issue and no other law of the land can change the ground norm.”
Recall that Baba clocked 60 years on March 1, 2023, which is the compulsory year for retirement. But his tenure was extended by President Buhari in January this year.