By Andrew Orolua
An Abuja based legal practitioner, Mr. 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 office beyond March 1, 2023.
He asked the Court of Appeal to grant the order 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 said that the court intervention has become necessary because by March 1, 2023, the tenure of Alkali as IGP would expire and will cease to be a serving Police Officer after then.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Maigari Dingyadi, last week explained that IGP Usman Baba Alkali was appointed by President Buhari for a four years tenure and he will serve for that four years though his run out date as police officer falls on March 1, 2023.
But Opara who had a pending appeal at the Court of Appeal over IGP tenure extension brought a motion praying the court to restrain 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 a 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 continue to stay in office after he is no longer a 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 former 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 judgement delivered on June 18, 2021.
“That the appeal has been adjourned to February 16 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 occupy the office after the March 1, 2023 is 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 and Nigeria Police are not destroyed from March 1, 2023.