The Nigeria Police has urged Nigerians to disregard circulating reports alleging the sacking of the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, from the office.
The police reaction followed the ruling of a Federal High Court in Awka which said the continuous stay of the IGP in office contravenes the provisions of Section 18 (8) of the Police Act.
The court adjudged his stay as “unlawful and unconstitutional” and declared him an illegal occupant of the office of the IGP.
The court further held that although the president has the power to appoint and remove an IGP, it is pertinent that those appointed as IGP should have not less than four years to retirement as provided in Section 7(6) of the Police Act.
In its defense, the police said the IGP was appointed in a letter-number SGF.20/S.6/83 dated November 30, 2021, for “a 4-year tenure and his stay in office is within the purview of his appointment”.
The police described the alleged news as “false, unfounded, and perceived to be the handiwork of mischief makers”.
The police in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, and issued in the early hours of Monday noted that the “said judgment is subject to appeal”.
The statement read partly: “It is imperative to note that the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, dismissed a suit that sought to compel the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, to vacate his office on March 1, 2023.
“The Federal High Court, in the judgment delivered by Justice J. K. Omotosho, held that going by the provision of Section 7 (6) of the Police Act, 2020, anyone appointed as the IGP has a statutorily recognized four-year tenure.
“It described the IGP’s four-year tenure as sacrosanct, stressing that his retirement as the IGP had nothing to do with age or years of service.
“It is pertinent to state that maintaining the four-year period for individuals appointed as IGP is being institutionalized by the provisions of the law, not on personal grounds to favour an individual, but for the general betterment of the Nigeria Police Force.
“Consequently, members of the public are on this notice advised to ignore the false news making the rounds on social media.
“IGP Usman Alkali Baba remains the Inspector-General of Police and is duty-bound to execute the responsibilities of the office in accordance with extant laws”.
The police authorities further reaffirmed the commitment of the Inspector-General of Police to the improvement of policing services within the country as well as the entrenchment of professionalism and community-oriented policing.