A Abuja-based legal practitioner, Maxwell Opara has asked the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division to restrain President Muhammadu Buhari from allowing the present Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba Alkali to continue in that capacity as from March 1, 2023, pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice on whether a person can stay in office as IGP after he is no longer a serving Police Officer.
Opara is saying that, by March 1, 2023, the tenure of the present IGP would expire and he will cease to be a serving Police Officer after then.
He is praying the court to order the President to rescind the decision of extending the tenure of IGP Usman Baba Alkali as whatever document he (Alkali) signs after March 1, would be nullity.
Opara, in a motion exparte, informed the court that he has a pending appeal on whether the President has the power to allow any occupant of the office of Inspector General of Police to continue to stay in office after he is no longer serving Police Officer.
Joined as respondents in the appeal numbered CA/A/ABJ/CS/106/2021 along with the President are, Mohammed Adamu Lafia (the then IGP), the Attorney General of Police and Minister of Justice and the Nigeria Police Council.
He said, while the appeal is pending and adjourned for hearing, the President announced his intention to allow the current occupant of the office of IGP to continue to occupy the office after he is no longer a serving Police Officer.
While praying for urgent hearing of the matter by the appellate court to avoid destroying the subject matter, the lawyer said in his affidavit in support of the motion for interlocutory injunction, that he filed the suit that gave rise to the appeal at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
He averred, in the affidavit that the trial court dismissed his suit in a judgment delivered on June 18, 2021.
“That the appeal has been adjourned to February 16, 2023, for hearing and while the appeal is still pending and adjourned for hearing, the 1st respondent, (Buhari), through the Minister for Police Affairs announced that he intends to allow the current IGP, who will cease to be a serving Police Officer on March 1, 2023, to continue to occupy the office of the IGP.
According to the lawyer, the crux of his matter is the legality or otherwise of allowing a non-serving Police Officer to occupy the office of the IGP by the respondents.
He said Buhari’s decision to allow the current IGP to continue occupying the office after March 1, 2023, will be a continuous breach of the provisional of the 1999 constitution and the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.
Opara called for urgent intervention of the court to ensure that the subject matter of the case is not destroyed from March 1, when the present IGP would have retired from the Force.