The current administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has been accused in several quarters of not adhering to the principle of federal character in his appointment of public officers since he came to power in 2015.
Many instances abound in the country where most appointments are skewed in favour of persons from his north geo-political zone at the detriment of the south.
A cursory look at top management officials in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation NNPC, throws up what many allude to as his northernisation of appointments in key sectors.
The Nigeria Police Force is another area where the last three Inspector Generals of Police, IGP, have had northern officers appointed to the top most position in the Force.
This brings to the fore the issue of who becomes the next IGP as the current man occupying the position, Mohammed Adamu retires on 1 February, 2021, a few months away. He would have attained the retirement age of 60/35 years in service as stipulated in the civil service rule of the nation.
Feelers have it that subtle moves have begun to extend his tenure beyond his retirement date and this is creating tension and bad blood among men and officers of the police force.
This is however against the Act “To Repeal The Police Act Cap. p19, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 And Enact Nigeria Police Bill, 2020 to provide for the framework for the police force and ensure cooperation and partnership between the police and host communities in maintaining peace, combating crime. protecting liberties, life and property; and for related matters, which has just been assented to by Mr. President,
According to the Act, in part 111, appointment, removal, functions and powers etc of the Inspector-General of Police 5 & 6 states inter allia; ‘‘The Inspector-General shall only be removed from office by the President on the advice of the Police Council. The person appointed to the office of Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for Four(4) years subject to the provision of clause 18(8) of the Act.’’
Also in Section 2 on page 4 of the Act, an Inspector-General of the Nigeria Police must have a first degree and must have attended the Nigeria Institute for Public and Policies Service, NIPPS, or Defence College.
As the general practice has been in the country, the position of Inspector General of Police is usually filled by a serving Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, while those on the rank of Deputy Inspector Generals are retired along with the IGP.
This brings to question who the next IGP will be. Information available to us has it that majority (23) of the officers in the AIG cadre have less than 2 years to serve in the capacity as IGP when so appointed,. This is due to the unquestionable fact that either by age or longivity in service they must retire as at when due. By 2021, 15 of the AIGs will be retiring from the Force while 5 will retire in 2022 leaving one of the AIGs to retire in 2029 and another a year later in 2030.
To state that the nation requires the services of a man or woman that will hold the office for a long time will be saying the obvious. No thanks to the insecurity that has held the nation prosprate in the last two decades. AIGs are already versed with policing work and will not be strangers in a terrain they are farmiliar with if appointed to the position of IGP.
Insecurity and deep knowledge of the subject matter has seen the military service chiefs staying more than their stipulated time in service. This some may say is reason why the incubent should be allowed to stay after he is due to retire come February next year. However the scenerio is different as it can be safely argued that while the Police is charged with internal security the military on the other hand is responsible for the exteranal security of the country.
Furthermore, AIGs as earlier stated are grounded men and women in the art of policing, whereas, in the military any officer of the rank of a Brigadier – General can be appointed as service chief by the President.
President Buhari should use his good offices to see that justice prevails at the end of the day when the position of IGP becomes vacant in a few months time.
– Ighodalo wrote from Abuja