Lawyers divided over IGP’s tenure


The controversy over the tenure of the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has yet to abate, following an announcement that he would not be retiring by March 1, when he would clock 60 years.

The Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi said the IG will not be retiring when he turns 60 on March 1, 2023.

Dingyadi stated this sequel to concern about the IGP’s possible retirement in the middle of the forthcoming general election.

The minister said, “By the provision of the Police Act 2020, the IG is now supposed to have a kind of four-year period and Mr President has already given him a letter of appointment in that regard. So, the issue of IG going out during this election period does not arise.

Baba was appointed the IG by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on April 6, 2021, and confirmed as the substantive police boss by the Police Council two months later.

But speaking with The PUNCH on Thursday, a legal practitioner, Oludare Williams, said the IG’s appointment was not guided by the civil service rules as it is at the discretion of the President.

Williams noted “The appointment of the IG is not guided by Civil Service rules. It is at the discretion of the President and the confirmation of the National Assembly. It is an appointment and not a promotion.

“At times, the President has the discretion not to choose the most senior officer and can decide to choose any person to be IG. He also has the discretion to extend.”

In the same vein, another lawyer, Victor Giwa, said the Police Act was created in cognisance of the constitution.

Giwa explained “We need to put it under the Civil Service rules; the IG is supposed to retire on March 1, 2023. But they argue that under the Police Act, once a person is appointed under the Act, he or she is appointed for a term of four years.

‘’Now, the question is whether the appointment as contemplated by the Police Act does not take into consideration retirement because the appointment as contemplated by the Police Act must take into cognisance the fact that an IG must be a serving IG.

“So, they do not give room for a retired IG because under the Civil Service Act that the IG was recruited, it has set out when he should retire. It, therefore, means that the Police Act is not subject to the Civil Service rule because the Police Service was created in cognisance of the constitution.

Another lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, insisted that the President does not have the power to extend Baba’s tenure beyond his (Buhari’s) tenure.

Meanwhile, the minister has clarified his statement on Baba’s tenure, saying the provisions of 2020 amended Police Act should not be misconstrued for tenure extension as reported in some sections of the media.

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