A prominent lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has berated President Muhammadu Buhari over the appointment of Usman Alkali Baba as the new Acting Inspector-General of Police.
Naija News reports that President Buhari had approved the appointment of Baba as the new police chief and directed him to take over from Ibrahim Mohammed with immediate effect.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, made this known to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.
But in a statement on Tuesday, Ozekhome described the appointment of Baba as the new IGP as unconstitutional and totally illegal.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said the President lacks the power to single-handedly appoint an IGP, citing “sections 7(6) and 18(8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 and sections 214, 215 and 216 and paragraph 7 to the 3rd Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.
He noted that President can only appoint a new IGP with the help of the Nigeria Police Council comprising the President as chairman, all the 36 state governors, the chairman of the Police Service Commission and the IGP.
Ozekhome said: “He can only do so in conjunction with the Nigeria Police Council comprising Mr. President as chairman, all the 36 state governors, the chairman of the Police Service Commission and the IGP.
“Such an appointment as just happened before the new acting IGP is capricious, arbitrary, whimsical, unconscionable, illegal, unlawful, wrongful and unconstitutional.”
Ozekhome noted that the President refused to take the issue of tribalism into consideration, saying that the president has not been fair in his appointments.
He said: “Today, Buhari has again appointed DIG Usman Alkali Baba, a northern Muslim, as acting inspector-general of police, to replace Adamu Mohammed, another northern Muslim.
“With Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, another northern Muslim as the minister of police affairs, the circle of policing in Nigeria is complete.
“Of course, Buhari controls the police by virtues of sections 214, 215 and 216 of the 1999 Constitution. It is the same situation with the ministry of petroleum resources and NNPC, the entire security architecture of Nigeria, and other key sectors and commanding heights of the economy.
“The illogical and puerile argument is always that the president only appoints people he can trust and that such persons are qualified in any event. That argument is insulting and insensitive to the intelligence, sensibilities and plurality of Nigeria.
“Can’t President Muhammadu Buhari for once, just for once, in his opaque appointments look beyond his religion and immediate and forsake sectionalism, cronyism, prebendalism, tribalism, favouritism, and act as a true statesman?
“Is he truly saying he cannot trust any of the other over 15 million Nigerians who voted for him, or that he cannot find any of them that is qualified to be made an IGP?”