The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has sued President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the Inspector General of Police, Muhammadu Abubakar, another three months in office to pilot affairs of the law enforcement rather than approve his retirement after statutory 35 years in service.
Buhari, alongside Abubakar and the Police Service Commission, was dragged before the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/214/2021.
The NBA President, Olumide Akpata, while explaining the rationale behind the legal body’s action said that suing the president would help in asserting the supremacy of rule of law in the face of growing impunity and the seeming reluctance of law officers in government to give proper counsel
According to him, the NBA is wary that the more government officials casually violate the law, the harder it would become to expect citizens to be compliant.
“Citizens take their cues from their leaders and public office holders who flout the laws of the country that they are meant to uphold will discover sooner or later that their examples will be followed by those that they purport to govern.
“The ubiquity of acts of impunity, especially by those in high public offices, portends an existential threat to the survival of this country and her hard-won democracy. The NBA, now more than ever, is firmly committed to changing this narrative.
“As the outcome of the suit is awaited, the NBA will continue to condemn and confront lawlessness in any form and from all quarters,” he said.
Akpata added that the NBA through the suit was seeking a judicial determination on whether the president has constitutional powers to extend by three months, the tenure of the IGP who had on February 1, 2021, attained 35 years of service as a member of Nigeria Police Force.
He noted that the body was also seeking amongst other things, a declaration that the act of the president purporting to extend the tenure of the IGP after his retirement from the service of the Nigerian Police Force is in contravention of the provisions of Section of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended and therefore illegal and void.
Other demands of the NBA, Akpata said, include: ”A declaration that the a of the 1st defendant in purporting to extend the tenure of the 3rd defendant as the Inspector General of Police after his retirement from the service of the Nigeria Police Force is in contravention of the provisions of Sections 7(3) (6) and of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, and therefore unlawful, null and void.
“A declaration that the 1st defendant lacks the authority, vires, and power to extend the tenure of the occupant/holder of the office of the Inspector General of Police. An order setting aside the purported elongation of the tenure of the 3rd Defendant as the Inspector General of Police of Nigeria.
“An order directing the 3rd defendant to vacate forthwith the office of the Inspector General of Police and refund all salaries, allowances, and benefits received from February l, 2020 (when he retired from the Police Force) to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st Defendant either by himself and/or acting through any of his Ministers, officers, servants and/or under any guise further breach the provisions of Section 215(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended by extending the tenure of the occupant of the office of the Inspector General of Police of Nigeria.”