Osinbajo decorates new IGP as lawyers insist appointment was illegal
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VICE President Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday, decorated the new acting Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba amid agitations from lawyers that the appointment was illegal.
Usman was appointed on Tuesday by President Muhammadu Buhari to replace Mohammed Adamu whose tenure was previously unconstitutionally extended.
The decoration was held in Abuja and witnessed by Chief of Staff to the President Ibrahim Gambari and other government officials.
Announcing the decoration on his official Twitter handle @ProfOsinbajo, Osinbajo congratulated the acting IGP, noting that safety and protection of all Nigerians remained a priority of President Buhari’s administration.
The decoration was held despite concerns raised by many Nigerians who accused the president of ethnic and religious bias.
The ICIR had reported that some Nigerians took to the social media to express their grievances over the appointment.
Lawyers and senior advocates of Nigeria say the appointment has no legal backing and is against the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria Mike Ozekhome said the appointment was illegal and inconsistent with the provision of the nation’s constitution.
Ezekhome said this in a statement seen by The ICIR on Tuesday, stressing that the president lacked the power to solely appoint a new IGP without due approval.
“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.
“That such an appointment has just happened before the new acting IGP is capricious, arbitrary, whimsical, unconscionable, illegal, unlawful, wrongful and unconstitutional,” Ezekhome said.
He argued that his position was according to sections 7(6) and 18(8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, in addition to the clear provisions of sections 214,215 and 216 and paragraph 7 to the 3rd Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.
A Professor of Law and former Executive Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chidi Odinkalu has also taken the same position as Ezekhome.
According to Odinkalu, the Nigerian Constitution required Police Council to advise on the appointment of IGP, but they had not met before the appointment was made and approved by the president.
He added that the Police Act, 2020, signed into law by Buhari did not recognise acting inspector general of police.
The professor of law further stated that the police affairs minister had no powers in the process of selecting an IGP in Nigeria.