Tenure extension for IGP is fraudulent, unconstitutional:- says HURIWA

Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint a fresh Inspector General of Police and let the current holder of that office ‘who no longer has enough in the tank’ to lead the police to proceed on his statutory retirement.

Besides HURIWA told President Muhammadu Buhari that his ill-conceived decision to extend the tenure of the worst performing Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba will create deep atmosphere of internal schism within the Police, demoralise those better qualified than the current Inspector General of police and will further erode the capacity of the Police to combat crime and criminality.

HURIWA through the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko also faulted the claim of the Police Affairs minister that the IGP Usman Alkali Baba will serve for four years under the extant Police Act of 2020, but HURIWA said the Police Act is not superior to both the constitution and civil service rules which predate it because it did not annul those two law and statute.

HURIWA said the current IGP Usman Alkali Baba should be retired in March on attainment of 60 years because of the following cogent, verifiable reasons thus: “The President shpuld know that he cannot, through fiat or a letter of appointment, amend the Constitution of Nigeria. Section 215(1)(a) of the Constitution 1999, states that the appointment must be made ‘from among serving members of the Nigeria Police Force.’ Again, the Nigeria Police Act 2020, signed into law by the Sitting President, states that the IGP must be a serving Police Officer not below the rank of an AIG. See section 7(2). And from available records the present IGP ceases to be a Serving Officer from 1st March 2023 when he is statutorily retired from Service by  the operation of the Public Service Rule no 020810 which terminates tenure of all public officers after 35yrs of service or 60yrs of age. Therefore, whether it is the Public Service Rule, the Police Act 2020, and the Constitution of Nig 1999, the President cannot legally override all the laws of the land  by or through a mere letter of appointment. Again using the excuse of the national election is a mockery of the Force from whatever perspective we look at it. In other words, that the Nigeria Police Force cannot function well without one Baba Alkali Baba as the IG. This is a nonsensical argument because thousands of better qualified, better fit, better educated and more competent guys are in the Police waiting to take over, to give the Country a more efficient NPF.”

HURIWA wonders why President Muhammadu Buhari is extending the tenure of the IGP under whose watch attacks on police stations by gunmen have continued and pose severe  threat to security of lives and properties in the South East and other parts of Nigeria.

HURIWA said it is shameful that President Muhammadu Buhari wants to kill off the Nigeria Police Force by illegally extending the tenure of such a weak head of the police force who did nothing as his operatives and police assets are attacked by terrorists just as between October 2020 and May 2021, at least twenty-one police stations were attacked by the unknown gunmen in South Eastern Nigeria with police officers killed, others injured and many police stations burnt. Visits also show that the attacks on police stations have impacted the confidence of policemen to work, with officers at stations visited by some media investigators seen dorning mufti as against their official uniforms during official hours.

HURIWA said Nigeria needs an effective, efficient, result oriented and proactive head of the Nigerian police force who will initiate and activate the development of communication strategies to strengthen policing nationwide and to start to solve the issues affecting the inefficient policing including the observation of transparency and accountability in the management of men, officers and assets belonging to the Nigeria Police Force.

publish on 19 January 2023

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