Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday has fixed April 16 to deliver judgment in a suit requesting the removal of office of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
Adamu was appointed in 2019 and had clocked the mandatory 35 years in service on February 1.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari elongated IGP’s tenure for three months. The extension was announced to journalists by the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi.
He said the extension was necessary to give room for the proper selection of a successor.
“Mr President has decided that the present IGP, Mohammed Adamu, will continue to serve as the IG for the next three months, to allow for a robust and efficient process of appointing a new IG,” Dingyadi said.
“This is not unconnected to the desire of Mr President to, not only have a smooth handover, but to also ensure that the right officer is appointed into that position.
“Mr President is extending by three months to allow him to get into the process of allowing a new one.”
The extension of the IGP’s tenure was followed by a suit filed by Maxwell Opara, a legal practitioner, who subsequently took the IGP to court, contending that by virtue of section 215 of the Nigerian constitution and section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, Adamu cannot continue to function as the IGP, having retired as a serving member of the force.
However, in his defence, the IGP told the Federal High Court that the new Nigeria Police Act offered him a four-year tenure, which would only terminate in either 2023 or 2024.
Supporting Adamu’s position, President Buhari and Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation, who are the second and third defendants in the matter told the court through their lawyer that the law permits the IGP to remain in office until either 2023 or 2024.
At the court session on Tuesday, the appellant counsel, Ugochukwu Ezekiel, told the court that hearing notice, as well as other court processes, have been served on the Nigerian Police Council (NPC), the fourth defendant in the suit.
“We rely on all the affidavit and exhibit attached and urged the court to grant the reliefs and answer the questions in favour of the plaintiff,’’ Ezekiel.
All the legal counsel in the matter adopted their written addresses, and after listening to arguments canvassed by lawyers, Ahmed Mohammed, the presiding judge, fixed April 16 for the ruling.