The Federal High Court in Akwa, Anambra State, has ordered the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba to stop parading himself as the country’s number one police henceforth and declared his (Baba’s) extended stay in office illegal.
Penpushing reports that a litigant, Okechukwu Nwafor, who is displeased by the extension of his(Baba) tenure by outgoing President, Muhammed Buhari had gone to court to challenge the extended order and also sued the Attorney-General of the Federation and the police boss.
The litigant prayed the court to declare Baba’s continued stay in office illegal and unconstitutional, arguing that President Muhammed Buhari, in breach of the law, retained Baba in office as Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police.
Penpushing further reports that the judge, Justice Fatun Riman, while granting the litigant request held that Baba’s tenure elongation was unlawful and ordered him to stop parading himself as Nigeria’s police boss.
The judge in the same vein directed President Buhari to convene a meeting of the Nigeria Police Council to appoint a new Inspector General of Police, pointing out that Baba’s tenure violated the provisions of the Police Act 2020.
“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’.
‘In the instant case, the 2nd Defendant’s (Mr Baba) birthday comes first. By the said Rule, the 2nd Defendant is obliged to step down on March 1st 2023. The PSR retirement age provision is mirrored in section 18 (8) of the Police Act, on the word “Shall” is used in the provision, it is mandatory’.
‘See the case of ISHOLA V. AJIBOLA 1994 4 NWLR PT 352 para 506 by Rhodes Vivour JCA (as he then was) and also IBRAHIM & ANOR V. AKINRISOLA (2010) LEPLR 444 CA, Section 7 (6) at the Police Act provides for a four-year term or tenure for the Inspector General of Police and the word “Shall” is also used in the said provision’.
‘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,” the judge declared.
Penpushing also reports that in a related development, a lawyer Festus Ogun in another suit challenged Baba’s continued stay in office and called on the court to determine the propriety of the action, citing some sections of the constitution and the Police Act 2020.
The legal practitioner in the suit filed on 26 April, 2023 urged the Federal High Court in Abeokuta, to determine whether the Inspector General of Police should have left office on clocking the statutory retirement age.
Penpushing reports that Ogun urged the court to declare that Baba is ineligible to continue functioning in office as the Inspector General of Police, in view of the statutory fact that he has retired from the force.
The record has it that Baba who was born on1 March 1963 (60) , in Geidam, Yobe State, was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari on 6 April 2021, and replaced Mohammed Adamu, whose three months tenure extension was truncated midway.
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