President Bola Tinubu has been advised to strictly adhere to the provisions of the law in the appointment of the next Inspector General of Police.
The Nigerian Civil Society Contact Group (CSCG), a body of non-governmental and civil society organisations, gave the counsel at a media briefing in Abuja.
The current IGP, Usman Baba, reached the compulsory retirement age of 60 years in March but was retained by former President Muhammadu Buhari.
CSCG Director-General, Taiwo Akindolu, knocked Buhari for “blatantly disregarded the law in the appointments of the three IGPs that served in his eight years, especially the current occupier”.
“President Tinubu must not emulate those unconstitutional steps that could reignite controversies and a judicial logjam that surfaced in the past administration,” he warned.
Akindolu pointed out that the Police Act 2020 signed into law by Buhari stipulates the requirements for the appointment of an IGP, warning that any action outside it could breed controversy.
He said the ex-president “was ignobly reputed for disobeying the law…demonstrated in the appointment of Usman Baba barely one year after he signed the new Police Act into law”.
IGP Baba was 58 years old when he stepped into an office with a four-year tenure when he had just two years left in the service, the CSCG lamented.
The coalition said the appointment has since been nullified by a high court in Anambra State, a “national embarrassment” that could have been avoided “if Buhari had done the right thing”.
Akindolu charged the President and the Police Council to ensure that whoever is chosen has at least four more years of service before retirement.
He said if security officers are to retire at age 60 or after serving 35 years in the police, remaining in service beyond the statutory age of retirement is tantamount to illegality.
The CSCG maintained that appointing a police officer who has two years or less to retire as IG “defeats the purpose or intent of Section 7(6) of the Police Act”.
“Apart from acting in consonance with the Police Act, we hope the President will consider geopolitical balancing, managerial competence, merit, qualifications, capacity, and unblemished records.”
The body cautioned Tinubu against repeating the previous governments’ promotion of Commissioners of Police to the AIG with the intention of making them IGP, causing the premature retirement of their seniors.
“Such action has not only proved counterproductive but has robbed the country of fully taking advantage of the resources invested in these officers that were prematurely retired,” it added.