Usman Baba Alkali cannot be confirmed as Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) in the eyes of the law, a check by SaharaReporters on the Nigeria Police Act 2020 has revealed.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last Tuesday, asked Alkali to take over the office of the IGP with immediate effect.
Until his appointment, Alkali was the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department, Force Headquarters.
He is however up for retirement in March 2023 based on enlistment and age.
Alkali was born on March 1, 1963 (currently 58 years old), in Geidam, Yobe state and was enlisted in the Nigeria Police Force on March 15, 1988.
A check on the new police law signed by President Buhari in September 2020 mandated that only an officer with at least four more service years’ grace could be appointed as IG.
“The person appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years,” Section 7 (Part 6) of Act read.
Meanwhile, the Rule of Law Accountability and Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), a human rights advocacy group, has described the sacking of Adamu and his replacement with Alkali as unconstitutional.
Executive Director of RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma, in a statement said President Buhari lacks the power to singlehandedly appoint an IGP.
The group noted that the President can only appoint a new police boss with the help of the Nigeria Police Council comprising him as chairman, all the 36 state governors, the chairman of the Police Service Commission and the outgoing IGP.
The statement read, “The procedure for appointment and removal of the Inspector General of Police is clearly spelt out in both the 1999 Constitution and the new Police Act 2020 which President Buhari signed into law in 2020.
“The procedure requires that the Police Council, comprising the President, the governor of each of the states of the federation and the FCT, the chairman of the police service commission and the sitting inspector general of police, would meet to consider the candidates and advice the President who will then appoint one of them based on the advice of the Council. The President also needs to consult the Police Council to remove a sitting IGP.
“The law does not empower the President to singlehandedly appoint or remove. There is no contemplation of an acting IGP whose appointment will be confirmed by the Council of State. The council of state has no role in the appointment process.
“President Buhari is currently out of the country on medical tourism. When then did the police council seat? The person appointed is not the most qualified among the potential candidates. The choice would probably have been different had the council sat. Minister of Police Affairs who announced the purported appointment is not even a member of the police council.
“President Buhari does not appear to be willing to break his streak of illegalities, from illegal extension of the tenure of a retired IGP to the abrupt removal of the IGP before the expiration of his illegal period of extension, to the appointment of an acting IGP without recourse to the constitutional and statutory procedure.
“The purportedly appointed acting IGP suffers irredeemable legitimacy deficit. He cannot command authority and respect because his appointment is illegal. It cannot stand. The President must begin to lead by example. He must put an end to the subversion of the law. Democracy is protected by the rule of law.”