Justice Fatun Riman of the Federal High Court in Awka has ruled that the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Baba Alkali, is illegally and unconstitutionally remaining in office.
News About Nigeria reports that the court held that President Muhammadu Buhari does not have the authority to extend Alkali’s tenure as the IGP beyond the mandatory retirement age of 60.
According to Justice Riman, as a public servant, the IGP should have stepped down on March 1 when he reached retirement age.
The judge emphasized that Alkali, as a member of the Nigeria Police Force, is bound by Rule 229 of the Police Service Rules, which requires the compulsory retirement of public service officers at the age of 60 or after 35 years of service, whichever comes first.
The court further stated that the retirement age provision in the Police Service Rules aligns with Section 18(8) of the Police Act, where the word “shall” is used, indicating its mandatory nature. Section 7(6) of the Police Act also specifies a four-year term for the Inspector General of Police, again using the word “shall” to denote the mandatory nature of the provision.
The court criticized President Buhari’s decision to retain the IGP in office beyond the retirement age, stating that it violates the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Nigeria Police Act.
The appointment of Alkali was deemed unlawful and invalid because he does not fulfill the mandatory tenure requirement for the position of the Inspector General of Police.
The court referred to Section 215(1)(6) of the Constitution, which stipulates that the President appoints the Inspector General of Police from serving members of the Nigeria Police Force based on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council (NPC).
The NPC comprises the President, Governors, Chairman of the Police Commission, and the Inspector General of Police.
Considering the timeline, the court pointed out that the tenure of the Inspector General of Police would end in February 2020, four years from February 2021.
By March 1, 2023, the IGP turned 60 years old and two weeks later completed 35 years of service in the Nigeria Police Force.
In light of these findings, the court issued an order prohibiting Alkali from continuing to act as the IGP and exercising command or control over the Nigeria Police Force.
The court also ordered the President of Nigeria to promptly convene a meeting of the Nigeria Police Council to appoint a new Inspector General of Police who can serve a fixed term of four years without hindrance.
The judgment was delivered on May 14 in response to a suit filed by a taxpayer named Okechukwu Nwafor.
Justice Riman found that the plaintiff had the legal standing to seek the court’s interpretation of the constitution regarding the IGP’s tenure.