The Facts, Politics Behind Tenure of Inspector General of Police
By Silas Joseph Onu
This piece is written on Thursday January 28, 2021.
It is now very clear that the present Inspector-General of Police (IGP) is set to bow out of the Force on 1st February, 2021 in line with the provision of Section 18 (8) of the Police Act, 2020 which states thus “Every Police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the Nigeria Police Force for a period of 35 years or until he attains the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier”. The section under reference brings the Police Force into an era of predictability just like the Civil Service Rule as the provision is mandatory, fixed like the rock of Gibraltar and cannot be moved willy-nilly.
The present Inspector-General of Police must be commended for his institutional interest that was clearly above desires for personal gains or entrenchment in office. Seeing that the Police urgently needed a reform that will bring it into conformity with 21st century realities in policing, he launched and finally achieved the passage of the Police Act, 2020. The Police Act, 2020 is the first major holistic legal framework reform in the Nigeria Police Force since the colonial law was enacted by the British. This is a commendable feat, for which the current IGP Abubakar Adamu must be credited.
The most astounding aspect of the legal framework reform is that the current IGP could have opted to focus on other things and then seek tenure elongation, since the present government seems to dish out such like dinner, but he didn’t and instead placed the overall interest of the Police over and above personal interest. Thank you sir!
Apart from the certainty of duration in service, another novel but more important provisions in the Police Act, 2020 is the creation of what I refer to as FIXED TERM OF SERVICE for the Inspector-General. One of the biggest challenges for the Nigeria Police Force is the incessant brief tenure of its topmost leader – the Inspector-General. Since this Democratic dispensation, it is not possible to point out a single Inspector-General of Police who was able to set out an agenda for the Police and achieved 30% of such a vision due to the limitation of time before retirement. That, in the past, saw some Inspector-Generals considering their appointment as an opportunity to prepare for retirement, instead of developing the institution. Others, who desired to leave a mark behind, attempted to have their services retained by the Government through extension, which is unconstitutional.
However, by inserting section 7 (6) in the Police Act, 2020, the National Assembly agreed with the vision of the current IGP that whoever is to be appointed into the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall have the privilege of formulating policies and implementing same within a reasonable time. The creation of a MANDATORY TENURE for the Inspector-General of Police in the 2020 Act is a positive step towards the professionalization of the Police and it must be applauded by all Nigerians. I must not also forget to congratulate the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for having the courage and resolve of giving life to this Act by signing it without hesitation.
Section 7 (6) of the Police Act, 2020 provides thus: “The person appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years”. Thereby setting the entire police top echelon in a race of wits and subterfuge in a bid to cross the legal hurdle set by this section of the Act.
Recently, I have read many publications, seemingly, by persons who have soft spots for particular police officers and in a bid to promote their cause, decided to make false representations about their age or rank. It is important to state here that the Police Act, 2020 also limits the ranks that can be appointed to the office of the Inspector-General only to Assistant Inspector-Generals and Deputy Inspector-Generals in section 7 (2) of the Act. Therefore, a police officer who is not within the stated rank is out-rightly disqualified without question. So, when promoters begin to spin qualification by ascribing the rank of an Assistant Inspector-General of Police to a person simply because he is holding an office meant for an Assistant Inspector-General, in an acting capacity, it becomes obvious that there is a sinister motive, especially, when there are other qualified senior officers. The police must be totally devoid of politics in its promotion and appointments. The game of lobbying for a job that will require the protection of lives and properties of over 200 million Nigerians is not one to be politicized or lobbied for. Such an appointment must be one that is totally guided by law and in accordance with the extant law.
Today, we live in an information age and it doesn’t require special skill to be able to obtain useful public information online. Therefore, I intend to set out the names of all the Deputy Inspector-Generals of Police and the Assistant Inspector-Generals with their dates of birth and due dates for retirement from the force. This will help readers to ascertain which of them has the requisite 4 mandatory years for the tenured office of the Inspector-General.
The due date for the retirement of the IGP is already a settled matter as it is February 1st, 2021. Therefore, the others are as follows:
i. DIG Aminchi Samaila Baraya ——————01/02/2021——- 4 days
ii. DIG Sanusi Nma Lemu —————————- 31/01/2023—- less than 3 years.
iii. DIG Usman Alkali Baba ————————— 01/03/2023 — less than 3 years
iv. DIG Nkpa N. Inakwu ——————————- 01/02/2021 —- 4 days
v. DIG Ibrahim Lamorde —————————- 01/02/2021 —– 4 days
vi. DIG David Oyebanji Folawiyo ————— 21/11/2021 —— 10 months
vii. DIG Joseph O. Egbunike ———————— 04/06/2022—- 16 months
viii. DIG Dan-Mallam Mohammed —————- 18/12/2023 —- less than 3 years
i. AIG Tijani Baba ———————————– 06/10/2021 —— 8 months
ii. AIG Mohammad Mustafa—————— 01/02/2021 ——– 4 days
iii. AIG Zanna Mohammed Ibrahim —– 26/11/2022 ——– less than 2 years
iv. AIG Moses Ambakina Jitoboh ——– 10/06/ 2029 —— more than 8 years
v. AIG Jonah Jackson Mava —————- 01/02/2021 ——– 4 days
vi. AIG Olusholla Babajide David ——– 01/02/2021 ——– 4 days
vii. AIG Ahmed Iliyasu —————————- 27/05/2021 ——- 4 months
viii. AIG Zaki M. Ahmed ————————- 15/02/2022 ——- 1 year two weeks
ix. AIG Gwandu Haliru Abubakar ——- 01/02/2022 ——- 1 year 4 days
x. AIG Zama Bala Senchi ——————— 05/10/2022 —— 1 year 8 months
xi. AIG Bello A. Sadiq —————————- 20/10/2022 —— 1 year 8 months
xii. AIG Austin Iwero Agbonlahor ——- 30/08/2021 —— 6 months 4 days
xiii. AIG Lawan Ado ——————————— 27/03/2021 —– 2 months
xiv. AIG Dandaura Mustapha —————- 15/01/2023 ——- less than 3 years
xv. AIG Asuquo A.A. Amba ——————- 01/02/2021 ——- 4 days
xvi. AIG Nkereuwem A. Akpan ———— 01/02/2021 ——– 4 days
xvii. AIG Olafimihan Adenira Adeoye – 01/02/2021 ——– 4 days
xviii. AIG Agunbaide O. Lasore ————– 01/02/2021 ——— 4 days
xix. AIG Undie J. Adie —————————- 01/02/2021 ——— 4 days
xx. AIG Olugbenga Adeyanju ————– 01/02/2021 ——— 4 days
xxi. AIG Johnson Babatunde Kokumo- 15/03/2023 ——– less than 3 years
xxii. AIG Ajani Olasupo Babatunde —— 15/06/2021 ——— 5 months
xxiii. AIG Awunah N. Donald —————— 15/03/2023 ——– less than 3 years
xxiv. AIG Hafiz Mohammed Inuwa ——– 21/03/2024 ——- 3 years 2 months
xxv. AIG Garba Baba Umar ——————— 15/05/2023 —— less than 3 years
xxvi. AIG Isaac Olutayo Akinmoyede —– 15/03/2023 ——- less than 3 years
From the above listing culled online from the Police Staff list dated 18th January, 2021 it is clear that if the President is presented with this names, only one officer has more than 4 years and thereby satisfied the requirement of the law. It has to be remarked here that the Police Act is very clear on the qualification for the appointment of a person to the office of the IGP and no consideration is made for seniority – only the threshold of meeting the length of the tenure is emphasized, in addition to being an AIG or DIG with a minimum of a first Degree.
So, even as this paper is being published, there are ongoing manipulations of the system towards this succession plan. While some factions are insisting that the law must be jettisoned to please some interest, others are planning to promote a Commissioner of Police to the rank of AIG and name him as the Acting IGP to please the ethnic jingoistic plans of an entrenched political class. Whichever succeeds is totally up to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This piece of my thought is basically to bring forward a clear data of those who are said to be in contention for an office which qualification is already prescribed by law. I am confident that the President of the Federal Republic will rise above expectation and sustain the reform that he has begun by keeping faith with the provisions of the Police Act, 2020.
The nation needs a fresh hope, especially with the myriads of insecurity. The nation had hope with the announcement of new service chiefs by the President. The circle will be complete with a new IGP appointed in accordance with the Police Act, 2020.
I must, once again, congratulate the outgoing IGP Abubakar Adamu for writing his name in gold as far as reforming the Nigeria Police Force is concern. I also wish the entire retiring senior officers well and a fulfilling retirement.
Silas Joseph Onu, Esq.
Abuja – Nigeria.