A federal high court in Abuja has affirmed the power of the president to extend the tenure of a retiring inspector-general of police (IGP) pending when the process of appointing a successor is completed.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on February 4 extended the tenure of Mohammed Adamu as inspector-general of police by three months after he clocked the mandatory 35 years in service on February 1.
Maxwell Opara, a legal practitioner, subsequently took the president and IGP to court, contending that by virtue of section 215 of the Nigerian constitution and section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, Adamu cannot continue to function as the IGP, having retired as a serving member of the force.
In his defence, the IGP told the federal high court that the new Nigeria Police Act gave him a four-year tenure, which would only lapse in either 2023 or 2024.
Supporting Adamu’s position, President Buhari and Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation — who are the second and third defendants in the matter — told the court through their lawyer that the law permits the IGP to remain in office until either 2023 or 2024.
In his judgment on Friday, Ahmed Mohammed, the presiding judge, held that since the constitution and the police act empower the president to appoint an IGP, by implication, he could extend the tenure of a retiring IGP before concluding the required consultation with the police council and other processes required for the appointment of a substantive replacement.
The judge also observed that the constitution and the police act are silent on the issue of whether or not the president could extend the tenure of a retired IGP.
Alkali Usman Baba has since been appointed as the acting IGP.