A Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, has declared the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, continued stay in office is illegal.
The court presided over by Justice Fatun Riman ruled on Friday that Baba was no longer entitled to the current office he was occupying, as it was against the provisions of the Police Act, 2020.
According to Riman, the Police IG’s stay is “unlawful and unconstitutional,” even as he was an illegal occupier of the IGP’s office.
Justice Riman was giving his ruling in a suit marked FHC/AKW/CS/58/2023, filed by a taxpayer, Okechukwu Nwafor.
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 in January, the outgoing President, Muhammadu Buhari had extended the tenure of the Police boss.
Although the judgment was delivered on Friday, May 19, 2023, a certified true copy of the judgment was released on Saturday, May 27, 2023.
The plaintiffs had in the suit, dragged President 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 Alkali-Baba from continuing in office as his tenure had expired.
After hearing 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, PSR, 299, 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.”
Alkali-Baba clocked 60 years on March 1, 2023, which is the compulsory year for his retirement.