President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, announced the removal of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu. His removal came two months into the three-month tenure extension granted him after 35 years of service. In this report, Chizoba Ogbeche, examines Adamu’s tenure, his failed bid at tenure extension and circumstances surrounding his removal.
Mohammed Adamu, who hails from Lafia, in Nasarawa state, before his appointment was an Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in Benin City, Edo state and was responsible for the overall management and operations of the NPF Zone 5, comprising Bayelsa, Delta and Edo state police commands.
Born on September 17, 1961, he enlisted into the Nigerian Police Force in 1986, after graduating from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria with a bachelor’s degree in Geography.
He also holds a master’s degree in International Criminal Justice System from the University of Portsmouth, England.
Between 1983 and 1984, Adamu had his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Wamba, Nasarawa State and taught Geography at Government Teachers College, Wamba, Plateau state. He was later appointed as Geography tutor and later promoted to Vice Principal at Government Day Secondary School, Gunduma, Keffi, Plateau state now Nasarawa state.
Few years later, he joined the Nigeria Police Force as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police in 1986, and trained at the Police College in Ikeja, Lagos State where he worked as the Divisional Crime & Administrative Officer at the Mgbidi Police Station in Mgbidi, Imo state.
He served at many levels such as Officer in charge of General Investigation at the NPF Zone 6 Headquarters in Calabar.
Adamu also has extensive international experience, he worked at Interpol’s NCB in Lagos from 1989-1997.
He was the first Nigerian to be seconded to Interpol General Secretariat, Lyon, in 1997 where he served as specialised officer in Economic and Financial Crime, Sub-directorate from 1997- 2002. He became the first black African to be appointed Assistant Director in charge of African Sub-Directorate from 2002-2005.
He was again the first African in the history of INTERPOL to serve as Director when he was appointed director of NCB Services and I-24/7 Development from 2005-2007.
When he returned to Nigeria, he appointed as Director in charge of Peace Keeping and Training at the Nigeria Police Headquarters, Abuja. Between 2013 and 2015 he was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and Commissioner of Police (CP) in Enugu State command.
President Buhari on April 6, 2021, appointed a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, DIG Usman Baba, as the acting IGP to replace Adamu, who was due for retirement in February 2021, but was granted a three-month tenure extension.
The Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, disclosed announced the appointment of the new Police chief to State House correspondents in Abuja.
The announcement came while Adamu was away in Owerri, Imo state, inspecting the command’s headquarters following an attack on the facility by gunmen on Monday.
A development that has been described as an embarrassment to the ousted Police boss and the Force in general, even as others have see it as a verdict on Adamu’s capacity to fight crime.
Controversy trails tenure extension
NBA heads to court
The decision by President Buhari to extend the tenure of IGP Adamu following his attainment of the mandatory 35 years of service drew irk from a section of the country.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) had approached a Federal High Court in Lagos with a suit seeking a judicial determination of the constitutionality of the extension of Adamu’s tenure as the IGP.
The Suit, numbered, FHC/L/CS/214/2021 has the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Police Service Commission, and the IGP, Mohammed Adamu as defendants.
The NBA’s decision to take the legal action, according to the President of the association, Dayo Akpata, was as a result of urgent need to reassert the supremacy of the rule of law in the face of growing impunity and the seeming reluctance of law officers in government to give proper counsel.
The NBA’s position in the suit was that Adamu ceased to be a member of the Nigeria Police Force when he attained the milestone of 35 years of service, stating that, “The President’s extension of Mr Adamu’s tenure by three months, in the NBA’s respectful view, is unconstitutional.”
Akpata said the NBA was wary that the more government officials casually violate the law, the harder it would become to expect citizens to be compliant.
The NBA boss said in a statement that, “Citizens take their cues from their leaders and public office holders who flout the laws of the country that they are meant to uphold will discover sooner or later that their examples will be followed by those that they purport to govern.
“The ubiquity of acts of impunity, especially by those in high public offices, portends an existential threat to the survival of this country and her hard-won democracy. The NBA, now more than ever, is firmly committed to changing this narrative,” he said.
It is worth noting that extension of tenure of service of Police bosses was not new as it has been done for at least two former IGPs: Sunday Ehindero and Sir Mike Okiro respectively.
Rallying support for the ousted IGP, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Citizens Action for Good Governance, CAGG, there was nothing wrong with the President’s decision to extend Adamu’s tenure.
The National Coordinator, CAGG, Nazir Galandanchi, while addressing a media conference said the extension was constitutional based on the prerogative of the President.
“We have deemed it necessary at this point to salute the wisdom and foresight of our father, the Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), for extending the appointment of the indefatigable strategist and security expert, Mr Adamu Mohammed, for another three months as the Inspector General of Police.
“This action by President Buhari is welcomed by us because you don’t change your winning team in the middle of the game, and we at CAGG appreciate and support this action.
“We are not apologetic to the fact that some Nigerians and organizations are condemning the President’s extension of IGP Adamu’s tenure by three months, which is the prerogative of Mr President and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and there is nothing wrong with that.”
He recalled that, “In January 2005, Inspector General Tafa Balogun was forced to resign after it was revealed that he was under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He was replaced by Sunday Ehindero.
“Obasanjo had further extended the tenure of Ehindero till May 29, 2007. Ehindero’s tenure had earlier been extended by one year on March 20, 2006 when he personally reminded the president officially that his tenure had come to an end.”
The group further noted that, “In another instance, Former Inspector General of Police, Sir Mike Okiro, was appointed in 2007, but the late President Musa Yar’Adua, extended the tenure of Okiro till 2010.
“The extension of IGP Adamu’s appointment is a good omen for the country as far as professionalism is concerned in providing adequate security of lives and property.
“We have done our independent assessment and seen the difference based on the outstanding performance of IGP Adamu as number 1 Police Officer in Nigeria.
“The way and manner IGP Adamu approached protracted issues on internal security have drastically changed the orientation of officers and men of the Nigerian Police Force since he took over as IGP two years ago, and today there are lots of changes in the policing system because there is sense of belonging of officers and men of the Force.
“He has been able to restore Nigerians’ confidence in the Force, and there is a close relationship between the Force and Nigerians.
“We saw this during elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), where Police officers and men were drafted to, and they were professional to the core in discharging their duties, and any erring personnel were dealt with.
“The IGP has embarked on capacity building of officers and men which has brought impact in the services his officers and men render to secure the lives of Nigerians and that has gone a long way to reduce crime and criminality.
“Nigerians can attest to the fact that with the professionalism in the Nigerian Police Force a lot of kidnappers have been arrested and dealt with including decimating bandits.
“He has also created different special police departments that have really tackled all forms of criminality in the country.
“Being an astute administrator and strategist, IGP Adamu has been able to ensure the welfare of officers and men including their families.
“Most of the personnel have been promoted as at when due, allowances paid, many are sent out for training within and outside the country, providing necessary security equipment for them, and also there is health care and educational services going on unhindered where families access these services on daily across the country including civilians.
“In terms of infrastructural development it has been his focus and there are a lot of projects being executed under his leadership to ameliorate the plight of officers and men of the Force and also give a sense of belonging to them and families in order to deliver quality security services to Nigerians in a conducive environment.”
Presidency, AGF back extension
President Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, had said the extension of Mr Adamu’s tenure was backed by the Constitution and the new Police Act, 2020.
The duo had declared support for the argument that the law permits the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to remain in office till 2023 or 2024.
They contended that the President was allowed by law to extend the IGP’s tenure as he wishes.
Adamu had canvassed the argument to counter a suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge the extension of his tenure by three months as from February 1, 2021.
President Buhari and the AGF’s position on the suit, adopting in full Mr Adamu’s earlier argument on the crucial issue of how long an IGP can remain in office, was contained in a joint reply.
The plaintiff, Maxwell Opara, an Abuja-based lawyer, had sued the President, Mr Adamu, the AGF, and the Nigeria Police Council (NPC) as the 1st to the 4th defendants in the suit which was instituted on February 3.
‘Why Adamu can remain IGP till 2023 or 2024’
Mr Adamu had, through his lead counsel, Alex Izinyon, a senior lawyer, argued essentially in his response filed on March 8, 2021, that his tenure never lapsed on February 1 as argued by the plaintiff.
Arguing on the issue of whether Mr Adamu, who was appointed the IGP on January 15, 2019, is prevented from staying in office beyond February 1, 2021, Mr Izinyon contended that the tenure of the IGP is not governed by the general provisions applicable to the rest of the police force.
The senior lawyer said by virtue of the relevant laws, the office of the IGP is “quasi-political” and “is conferred with a special status” and “distinct from other officers of the Nigeria Police Force.”
He said the provision of “section 18(8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 to the effect that ‘Every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the Nigeria Police Force for a period of 35 years or until he attains the age of 60 years, whichever is earlier,’ is with due respect, inapplicable to the office of the Inspector General of Police in the circumstance.”
He said the IGP upon appointment “is only accountable to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Nigeria Police Council and this fact we submit makes his office a quasi-political office with a tenure of four years pursuant to Section 7(6) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.”
According to him, by the combined effect of Sections 215 and 216 of the Nigerian Constitution and Section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, Mr Adamu “can validly function as the Inspector General of Police after midnight of February 1, 2021, in so far as he was a serving member of the Nigeria Police Force during the period of his appointment.”
He said the four-year tenure of his client stipulated under section 7(6) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, would end either in 2023 or 2024.
“Therefore, if the 2nd defendant’s tenure in office is calculated from January 15, 2019 when he was appointed into the office of the Inspector General of Police, his tenure lapse in 2023.
“However, if his tenure in office is calculated from 2020 when the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 came into force his tenure in office ends in 2024,” Mr Izinyon stated.
Removal preempts court judgement
The removal ofAdamu as IGP may have pre-empted judgment on IGP Adamu’s tenure extension scheduled for April 16.
The Federal High Court, Abuja, Tuesday, fixed April 16, for judgment in the suit seeking the challenging the extension of Adamu’s tenure.
The Judge, Ahmed Mohammed, fixed the date after parties to the case adopted their written addresses.