Lawyer Sues Nigeria’s Police Chief, Usman Baba For Staying In Office Beyond Retirement Date, Wants Salaries, Allowances Refunded

Aconstitutional and human rights lawyer, Festus Ogun has sued Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police Usman Baba over his continuous stay in office after his retirement.

Ogun wants the court to declare that his continuous stay in office after his constitutional retirement age is illegal and unconstitutional.

The lawyer is asking the court to order the police boss to refund all payments received as salaries and allowances after the date of retirement. He is insisting that the rule of law must be obeyed and respected irrespective of the person involved.

Ogun who posted the court documents on his Twitter handle on Friday wrote: “I have now filed a lawsuit against the IGP at the Federal High Court seeking for the court’s intervention over his continuous stay in office after his retirement. I firmly believe that his continuous stay in office is illegal and unconstitutional. Rule of law must reign supreme.”

In April 2021, SaharaReporters reported that Baba cannot be confirmed as the Inspector General of Police in the eyes of the law after President Muhammadu Buhari asked him 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 was 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, had swiftly described the appointment of Baba as unconstitutional.

Executive Director of RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma, in a statement, said President Buhari lacks the power to singlehandedly appoint an IGP.

Ogun’s suit marked FHC/AB/CS/24/23 was filed on Thursday, April 20 at Abeokuta Judicial Division of the Federal High Court.

The suit which commenced through Originating Summons is brought pursuant to Sections 1, 5(1), 6(6), 215(1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended), sections 3(1), 7(3), 18(8) and 136 of the Police Act, 2020, order 3 rules 6-9 of the Federal High Court Civil procedure rules 2019 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the honourable court.

The activist stated, “Nigeria’s IGP has reached his retirement age. Yet, he is not willing to step out of the Police Force. He says he has a four-year tenure like an elected President. Why should a retired Policeman continue in office as Inspector General of Police? Rule of Law is now a joke in Nigeria.”

He insisted that the Inspector General of Police cannot stay in office after turning 60, adding “that the position of the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi, that the IGP must complete his 4 years tenure despite clocking retirement age is rooted in grave misconception of our extant laws.”

He continued, “Section 7(6) of the Police Act, 2020 provides that a person appointed as IGP shall hold office for four years. However, S. 18(8) provides that every police officer shall serve in the Police Force for a period of 35 years or until he attains the age of 60 years, whichever earlier.

“The simple interpretation of the above is that upon attainment of age 60 in March, the IGP ceases to be a police officer, let alone an IGP. Staying in office a day after clocking 60 years of age will, therefore, be illegal and unconstitutional.