The 1999 Nigerian Constitution does not have provisions for extension of the tenure of the Inspector-General of Police, checks by The Punch have shown.
The third schedule of the constitution dealing with the IG’s appointment states that the IG will be appointed by the President on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council.
The NPC is comprised of the President who is the chairman; state governors; chairman of the Police Service Commission; and the Inspector-General of Police.
Findings by The Punch indicate that the law guiding the appointment of the IG is silent on the retirement or extension of the occupant’s tenure by the President.
This, lawyers say, means that an extension of the IG’s tenure will be illegal and a violation of the constitution.
A lawyer and Executive Director, Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights, Frank TieTie, argues that President Muhammadu Buhari has no power to extend the tenure of the current IG, Ibrahim Idris, who is expected to leave office on January 15 when he will attain 60 years of age.
The activist argues that there is no reason to extend Idris’ tenure, stating that there are many good officers who can preside over the force. He adds that the argument that the IG has substantially prepared for the forthcoming elections is not tenable.
“The President doesn’t have such powers (to extend IG’s tenure). The IG is appointed by the President on the advice of the Nigeria Police Council.
“A responsible government will know three months to the retirement date of a substantive IG that the NPC needs to recommend to the President the appointment of an IG, which eventually will be confirmed by the Senate.
“That not being done is an indication that the President wants to allow the anomaly to go on. This anomaly is being allowed to fester because it has not been challenged in court,” the activist says.
He observes that a lot of anomalies are being condoned by the Federal Government, noting that many chief executives of federal departments and agencies are being illegally granted tenure extension.
“We have seen a lot of anomalies under this administration in terms of extension of tenures of chief executives of federal parastatals. For example, the comptroller-general of the Federal Fire Service was given tenure extension which I challenged.”
Another lawyer, Sunny Anyanwu, says he is against the alleged plan to extend the IG’s tenure, stressing that the President has no power to do so.
He says, “The President has no constitutional power to extend the IG’s tenure; more so that he has not done well. Idris should be allowed to retire honourably to his village.”
But an Abuja lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, disagrees, saying, “I don’t want to talk much about the issue since the IG has till January 15 to retire, but the President has the power to extend his tenure.”