A legal practitioner and Human Rights Activist based in Abuja, Barrister Silas Joseph Onu, has called on the embattled Inspector-general of Police, Usman Baba Alkali, to respect the judgement of the court and vacate office as ordered by the court.
Onu, in a statement issued in Abuja Tuesday, said as it stands with the judgement of the Federal High Court sitting in Awka, Anambra State, the IGP is currently occupying office illegally.
According to him, the statement in defence of the IGP by the spokesman of the Nigeria Police Force, Mr Muyiwa Adejobi, cannot override a judgement of the court.
Barrister Onu said, “The above quoted press release by the spokesperson of the Police, on behalf of the sacked/retired former Inspector-General of Police, who in total disregard for law and order as contained in the Federal High Court judgment that determined his unlawful appointment and stay in office, is reminiscent of the Buhari administration’s penchant for disobeying Court orders.
“It is not surprising, therefore, to see that an appointee of Buhari is struggling to remain in office months after he ceased to be a Police officer by operation of law as contained in Section 18(8) of the Police Act, 2020 which is an incorporation of the Public Service Rule that enjoys Constitutional backing. The said Federal High Court Judgment of 19th May, 2023 was very clear on this point and held that even the appointment/appointment letter that CSP Adejobi is holding up as a justification to disobey a valid Court order was declared to be unlawful – so what is remaining?
“While in every judgment there is certainly a right of appeal, such a right does not create an occasion for disobeying the judgment that is validly given. Today is 10 days since the judgment was given and there is no injunction staying the judgment pending appeal. This is a declaratory judgment that requires immediate obedience even if the former IGP desires to appeal same. He can appeal from his retirement and if he succeed, then he would have strengthened the law as that office was not created by his father but by the Nigerian Constitution – therefore, it is not a personal property that he should hold on to while claiming that he intends to appeal. One of the implications of his disobedience to this valid Court order is that he has directly brought the Nigeria Police Force into global shame and disrepute as a lawless organisation. How then can the Police arrest anyone tomorrow, for disobedience to Court Order?
“Today, a new administration takes off in Nigeria and it is only hoped that it will not allow the lawlessness that pervaded the Buhari administration, mostly in favour of religion and ethnicity, to continue. The former IGP is holding on to office as if he is a politician and unwilling to leave office after his lawful retirement and a valid judgment restating that fact, in hope that the new administration will be just like Buhari and allow him enjoy that office as if it is a personal birthright of his.
“Adejobi should feel some shame as a Policeman trying to justify the stay of a former Police officer as his IGP. Maybe Adejobi is doing this also to save his appointment as the spokesperson of the Police, thus placing his personal interest over and above that of the Nigerian Police as an institution. May I remind him that the former IGP is free to appeal the new judgment (which supercedes that one he is carrying around by Justice Omotosho), but before then, he must obey the said Judgment and stop committing futher illegal acts in the Nigeria Police Force. One wonders if his appeal will be that Section 18(8) of the Police Act, 2020 and the Public Service Rule does not apply to the IGP because an IGP is not a “Police Officer”? Or that he Usman Baba Alkali (RTD) is an exception when it comes to the provisions of the Police Act and the Constitution of Nigeria.”
According to the Lawyer, with the directive by CSP Adejobi, that the public should disregard the judgment of the Court, it will be apt to say that he should be arrested for contempt together with the embattled IGP Usman Baba Alkali.