BY MAYOWA SAMUEL
A Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, has declared that the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, is not entitled to the current seat he is occupying.
The pronouncement was made by Justice Fatun Riman who stated that Baba’s stay in office is against the provisions of the Police Act, 2020.
Riman said the Police IG’s stay is “unlawful and unconstitutional,” insisting that Alkali Baba is an illegal occupier of the IGP’s office.
The court ruled in its judgment in a suit marked FHC/AKW/CS/58/2023, filed by Okechukwu Nwafor, a taxpayer.
According to the judgment, the court held that only an officer within the listed rank, with four years in service, can be appointed as IG of Police, not one with less than four years.
Earlier this year, in January, Buhari had extended the tenure of the Police boss.
Although the judgment was delivered on Friday, May 19, 2023, a certified copy of the judgment was released on Saturday, May 27, 2023.
The plaintiffs in the suit dragged President Muhammadu Buhari, the IGP, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Council before the court, seeking an order to stop Baba from continuing in office as his tenure has expired.
In his judgment, after hearing the counsel on the matter, Justice Riman explained, “It is important to observe that the Inspector General of Police is a public servant and by virtue of the fact that he is a member of the staff of the Nigeria Police Force, an authority established from the Federation by Section 214 (1) of the Constitution and in the subject of the Federal Public Rules 299 (PSR) thereof, which provides for the compulsory retirement of all grades of public service officers at the age of 60 or 35 years of service, whichever comes first.
“I also observe that despite the prerogative power of the President, he is limited to the provisions of the Constitution. The Inspector General of Police retirement is a statutory and constitutional issue and no other law of the land can change the ground norm,” the Justice ruled.
Baba clocked 60 years on March 1, 2023, which is the compulsory year for his retirement.