The Police Service Commission, PSC, has denied ever endorsing the tenure elongation of the Inspector General of Police, who is to attain the retirement age of 60 years in March, 2023.
The commission in a statement issued yesterday, also said it would commit itself to the letters and spirit of the laws of the land and would not at any time support or encourage any attempt to subvert the law.
The statement read: “The attention of the Police Service Commission has been drawn to an online publication where the commission was said to have endorsed the tenure elongation of the current Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba.
”The online publication in a supposed interview with AIG Lawal Bawa, retired commissioner in the commission, representing the Police, stated that the PSC commissioner confirmed that the commission is not against the extension of the tenure of the Inspector General of Police.
“It went further to quote the commissioner, ‘If the IGP feels that it will affect effective monitoring of the elections, let him write to the President for their extension, We, PSC, have no objection’.
“The commissioner has since denied making such statement , stressing that he was obviously misquoted.
“According to him, he told the online publication that it was the prerogative of Mr. President to decide.
The commission, therefore, wishes to state that it has not endorsed any tenure elongation for the current Inspector General of Police.
“As a matter of fact, the commission was never contacted on this subject at any time. It notes that it will always commit itself to the letters and spirit of the laws of the land and will not at any time support or encourage any attempt to subvert these laws.
“The commission wishes to appeal to the media to avoid unnecessary sensationalism in an attempt to attract huge readership.
“The commission will also continue to work to ensure an effective and efficient Nigeria Police rooted in the rules and regulations governing it’s operations.”
Meanwhile, Civil Society Organization, the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, RULAAC, in Nigeria has described as illegal, the reported extension of the tenure of the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba.
Recall that Police Affairs Minister, Mohammed Dingyadi, had said last week that the IGP would not be retiring when he turns 60 years on March 1, 2023, noting that his appointment was for a single tenure of four years.
President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Baba as IGP in April 2021 after former IGP, Mohammed Adamu turned 60 years.
Speaking with journalists on the expected retirement of Baba, Dingyadi said the Police Act 2020 allowed the IGP to serve a four-year tenure, which could not be interrupted by retirement age.
According to section 7, sub-section 6 of the Police Act 2020, the person appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years.
However, RULAAC’s Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma, faulted President Buhari’s appointment of Baba in 2021 as he (Baba), at the time of his appointment had only two years left to serve in the force.
‘This is what we have always seen with successive presidents; they would handpick whoever they want. There are cases where they have handpicked a commissioner of police and given them rapid promotion and then appointed them inspectors general of police, and these are usually for political motives,” Nwanguma said.
He said the President did not consult with the Police Council as demanded by the Act before appointing the current IGP, noting that it was of concern to the CSO that the president’s reported decision to extend the tenure of the serving IGP, irrespective of what the Act says, was illegal.
‘He [Baba] is due to retire either by virtue of having attained the age of retirement or having reached the limit of the number of years of service which the Police Act made reference to,” Nwanguma said.
He added that obeying the rule of law guaranteed stability in the polity, hence the President violating the law was an action that should be frowned upon.
“People talk about the need for stability but the greatest guarantee for stability is the rule of law, and because we know that the President has been violating the law, so even if it is for the purpose of the future, we need to point out that it is not correct that the President violates the law to perform any act,’ he said.