A Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra state, has removed Usman Alkali Baba from his position as the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
The court stated that Alkali is unlawfully holding the office and declared his appointment and continued stay as unconstitutional. The judgment was delivered in response to a suit filed by Okechukwu Nwafor, a taxpayer (FHC/AKW/CS/58/2023).
The court ruled that only an officer within the specified rank and with a minimum of four years of service can be appointed as IGP, disqualifying Alkali, who has less than four years of service. Alkali Baba was also ordered to cease identifying himself as the Inspector-General of Police. The court further directed the President to convene a meeting of the Nigeria Police Council to appoint a new IGP, who will serve for four years.
The defendants in the case were the President of Nigeria, Usman Alkali Baba, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Council.
The court’s judgment, issued on May 19 and seen on Saturday, stated that Alkali’s appointment violates the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the Nigeria Police Act, 2020. The court emphasized that Alkali’s lack of qualifications to fulfill the mandatory tenure requirements for the position of Inspector-General of Police was evident.
Additionally, the court ruled that the President does not have the authority to extend the retirement conditions for a police officer, as outlined in the Nigeria Police Act, 2020. Justice Riman, the presiding judge, carefully examined the arguments presented by both parties and noted the absence of relevant judgments from the Federal High Court Abuja Division in the counter affidavit or court filings. The judge stated that these judgments did not provide guidance to the court.
Justice Riman highlighted the constitutional provisions regarding the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police, with the President relying on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council. He also referred to the Police Act, 2020, which specifies the tenure of the Inspector-General of Police.
The court determined that Alkali’s tenure as IGP ended in February 2023, four years from February 2021. As of March 1, 2023, Alkali had reached the age of 60 and completed 35 years of service in the Nigeria Police Force. Justice Riman concluded that Alkali, as a public servant bound by the Federal Public Rules 299 (PSR), which mandates retirement at 60 years of age or after 35 years of service, must step down on March 1, 2023.