The Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra State, has declared Usman Baba’s extended stay in office as Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police illegal.

President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Mr Baba on 6 April 2021.

He replaced Mohammed Adamu, whose three months tenure extension was truncated midway.

Born on 1 March 1963 (60 years old), in Geidam, Yobe State, Mr Baba should have statutorily retired from the force on 1 March this year when he clocked 60 years.

But Mr Buhari, in breach of the law, kept Mr Baba in office as Nigeria’s police chief.

Displeased with the President’s violation of the law, a litigant, Okechukwu Nwafor, sued Mr Buhari, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Mr Baba.Mr Nwafor urged the court to declare Mr Baba’s continued stay in office “illegal and unconstitutional.

“Granting Mr Nwafor’s request, the judge, Fatun Riman, held that Mr Baba’s tenure elongation was unlawful.

Mr Riman ordered Mr Baba to stop parading himself as Nigeria’s Inspector General.Also, the judge directed Mr Buhari to convene a meeting of the Nigeria Police Council to appoint a new IGP, The Will newspaper reported.

Delivering the verdict, Mr Riman said Mr Buhari’s extension of Mr Baba’s tenure violated the provisions of the Police Act 2020.

“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.

“In the instant case, the 2nd Defendant’s (Mr Baba) birthday comes first. By the said Rule, the 2nd Defendant is obliged to step down on March 1st 2023.

“The PSR retirement age provision is mirrored in section 18 (8) of the Police Act, on the word “Shall” is used in the provision, it is mandatory. See the case of ISHOLA V. AJIBOLA 1994 4 NWLR PT 352 para 506 by Rhodes Vivour JCA (as he then was) and also IBRAHIM & ANOR V. AKINRISOLA (2010) LEPLR 444 CA, Section 7 (6) at the Police Act provides for a four-year term or tenure for the Inspector General of Police and the word “Shall” is also used in the said provision.

“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 judge declared.

Similar suit challenging Mr Baba’s tenure elongation. In another suit challenging Mr Baba’s continued stay in office, a lawyer, Festus Ogun, called on the court to determine the propriety of the action.

Citing some sections of the constitution and the Police Act 2020, Mr Ogun urged the Federal High Court in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to determine whether Mr IGP should have left office on clocking the statutory retirement age.

In the suit filed on 26 April, the plaintiff begged the court to declare Mr Baba as a retired member of the police force.

Mr Ogun further urged the court to declare that Mr Baba is ineligible to continue functioning in office as the Inspector General of Police, in view of the statutory fact that he has retired from the force.

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