Rather than correct anomalies with three-month tenure extension of former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, President Muhammadu Buhari has again contravened provision of Amended Police Act 2020 in appointing Adamu’s successor, Usman Baba.
Baba, a Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG) before his appointment, was born on March 1, 1963, in Geidam Local Government Area of Yobe State, signifying that the new police boss has only two years in active service.
With Baba’s appointment, the president once again contravened Section 7 (6) of the Amended Police Act 2020 that fixed a single term of four years without an option of extension of tenure for holder of office of the Inspector-General of Police, a bill assented to by Buhari himself.
With two active years to reach the mandatory retirement age of 60 years, the new police boss might also get tenure extension, a largesse enjoyed by his predecessor before his eventual removal from office yesterday despite having over 20 days completion timeline.
“A person appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years,” it provision reads.
“Every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the police force for 35 years or until he attains the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier,” Section 18 (8) of the Act also stated.
The new development was said to have been greeted with mixed reactions by those that could take over from the new police boss on March 1, 2023, when he must have attained 60 years of age, less than three months president Buhari would also be leaving office having completed second term in office.
If not corrected, the concerned officers, who crave anonymity argued that such could dampen the morale of those in line to succeed the sitting IGP since the president could decide to elongate tenure without recourse to constitutional provision on appointment for the position.
They added that it was imperative for the president to promote equity and fairness and followed due process in appointing officers who have no fewer than four years in active service for the position in ensuring that others beneath the officeholder would get to be appointed IGP at the appropriate time.
Those concerned argued that since the amended act stipulated four years single term for holder of the office, it was important that all provisions of the law are followed in preventing possible friction among senior officers, a development they argued, might affect efficient police force in the country.
Police officers across the nation, particularly those in the force headquarters frowned at the development, saying the appointment was against the run of play and expectations.
Their position was that the president did no respect provision of the Police Act that was recently introduced to guide appointment, removal, functions, and powers of the IGP. They also argued that that the amended Act in itself was not well thought out before it was approved.
Also, the aggrieved officers maintained that with the contravention, it would be agreed that the new Act has been discarded and replaced with old one where officers can umeritoriuously lobby for positions and ranks even when they are not deserving of such.
A source from the force headquarters who confided in our correspondent said that the new act only favours officers who are beneficiaries of double promotion and others are only left to their fate and may not get new ranks with the current arrangement except for miracles.
The top police officer who craves anonymity maintained that despite an approved timeline of three years for particular ranks before being promoted to higher ones, many officers have spent eight years on the same ranks without moving to the next level.
The source admitted that there was a need for review of the amended Act such that would allow merits and would not be flouted either by any sitting president or the presidency in ensuring all police officers remain patriotic and professional at all times in hope that their years of service would amount to something with deserved ranks and appointments.
However, justifying Baba’s appointment yesterday, the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi, said that the new police boss nomination was subjected to thorough consideration and consultation before the president approved him for the job.
According to him, President Buhari took his time to select the best amongst the options brought before him. Just like it is provided in the Act, the president chose from within Deputy Inspector General (DIG’s) and Assistant Inspector Generals (AIG’s).
“After a thorough check of a shortlist of suitably qualified police officers from the rank of DIGs and AIGs, who are eligible police officers, eligible for appointment as IGP, in line with Section 7, subsection 2 of the Nigeria Police Act (2020), and having regards to seniority, professionalism, record of service and competence, President has approved the appointment of an acting IGP, in the person of Usman Alkali Baba, PSE, FDC, with immediate effect.
“These changes are in line with the determination of Mr. President to rejig the security architecture country, to ensure that the security challenges bedeviling the nation are brought to an end.
“Mr President has therefore charged the new appointee to rise to the challenge to ensure policing reform policy of this administration are fully prioritised and implemented to enable the police to perform most effectively for the peace and security of lives and property of all Nigerians.
“Mr President thanks the outgoing IGP, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, for his professionalism and dedication to duty during the period of his tenure. He wished him all the best in his future endeavors,” the minister said.
On why the president did not allow the outgoing IGP to complete the three months extension, the minister said that the president has the prerogative to hire and fire.
“Mr President is aware of this and you cannot take away that responsibility from him; he’s the one who is in charge of appointing or extending tenures. He has now decided to appoint a new person. So please allow him that responsibility and we cannot do anything about it,” he said.