Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu, has argued that he may well remain in office until 2024, because the law permits him to do so.

In February when his term as the nation's police chief was due to end, President Muhammadu Buhari extended Adamu's time in office by three more months, saying he needed the additional time to shop for a capable replacement.

"Mr. President is extending by three months to allow him to get into the process of allowing a new one," Mohammad Dingyadi, Minister of Police affairs, announced to the press.

Adamu was appointed IGP in 2019. He had attained the mandatory 35 years of service on February 1, 2021.

In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/106/21, Maxwell Opara, a lawyer, dragged the IGP to court, arguing that by virtue of section 215 of the Nigerian constitution and section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, Adamu has no business carrying on as IGP beyond February 1, 2021.

Through his counsel, Alex Iziyon, the IGP has argued before the federal high court in Abuja that the new Nigeria Police Act has handed him a four-year tenure, which elapses in 2023 or 2024.

He insists that his tenure should expire in 2023 if counted from 2019, or 2024 if counted from 2020 when the new Nigeria Police Act became law.

The legal argument

The IGP says the provision of “section 18(8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 which states that ‘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,’ is with due respect, inapplicable to the office of the Inspector General of Police in the circumstance.”

President Muhammadu Buhari decorates Mohammed Adamu as the new Inspector-General of Police in 2019 [Twitter/@NGRPresident]
President Muhammadu Buhari decorates Mohammed Adamu as the new Inspector-General of Police in 2019 [Twitter/@NGRPresident]

He also contends that the effect of section 7(6) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 “is that immediately a person is appointed into the office of the Inspector-General of Police, a new legal regime is triggered off."

He adds that “the office of the IGP is conferred with a special status, unique and distinct from other officers of the Nigeria Police force.

“Therefore based on our submission above, the combined effect of Sections 215 and 216 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, is that the 2nd defendant can validly function as the inspector general of police after midnight of February 1, 2021;

"In so far as he was a serving member of the Nigeria police force during the period of his appointment, as his tenure in office is specially regulated by Section 7(6) of the Nigeria Police Act which stipulates in unambiguous terms that upon his appointment, he stays in office for four(4) years.

“Therefore, if the 2nd defendant’s tenure in office is calculated from January 15, 2019, when he was appointed into the office of the inspector-general of police, his tenure lapses in 2023.

“However, if his tenure in office is calculated from 2020 when the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 came into force, his tenure in office ends in 2024,” he argues.

President Buhari reserves the right to hire and fire the nation's police chiefs in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief.

59-year-old Adamu from Nasarawa State assumed office on January 15, 2019, succeeding Ibrahim Idris who hails from Niger State.

He is Nigeria's 20th Inspector General of Police.