By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
An Abuja based legal practitioner, Barrister Silas Joseph Onu has said that with the Tuesday’s announcement of new Service Chiefs, President Muhammadu Buhari should complete the circle with a new Inspector-General of Police (IGP) appointed in accordance with the Police Act, 2020.
The tenure of the current IGP, Abubakar Adamu expires on February 1, this year.
Barrister Onu specifically appealed to President Buhari to rise above expectation and sustain the reform that he has begun by keeping faith with the provisions of the Police Act, 2020.
The legal practitioner pointedly declared that Nigeria needs a fresh hope, especially with the myriads of insecurity.
Barrister Onu pointed out that the game of lobbying for a job that will require the protection of lives and properties of over 200 million Nigerians is not one to be politicized or lobbied for.
Such an appointment, he advised, must be one that is totally guided by law and in accordance with the extant law.
According to him, “It is now very clear that the present Inspector-General of Police (IGP) is set to bow out of the Force on 1st February, 2021 in line with the provision of Section 18 (8) of the Police Act, 2020
“So, when promoters begin to spin qualification by ascribing the rank of an Assistant Inspector-General of Police to a person simply because he is holding an office meant for an Assistant Inspector-General, in an acting capacity, it becomes obvious that there is a sinister motive, especially, when there are other qualified senior officers”, he said.
Barrister Onu advised that the police must be totally devoid of politics in its promotion and appointments.
He added, “The game of lobbying for a job that will require the protection of lives and properties of over 200 million Nigerians is not one to be politicized or lobbied for.
“Such an appointment must be one that is totally guided by law and in accordance with the extant law.
“The nation had hope with the announcement of new service chiefs by the President, the circle will be completed with a new IGP appointed in accordance with the Police Act, 2020.
“I must, once again, congratulate the outgoing IGP Abubakar Adamu for writing his name in gold as far as reforming the Nigeria Police Force is concern. I also wish the entire retiring senior officers well and a fulfilling retirement.
“The present Inspector-General of Police must be commended for his institutional interest that was clearly above desires for personal gains or entrenchment in office.
“Seeing that the Police urgently needed a reform that will bring it into conformity with 21st century realities in policing, he launched and finally achieved the passage of the Police Act, 2020.
“The Police Act, 2020 is the first major holistic legal framework reform in the Nigeria Police Force since the colonial law was enacted by the British.
“This is a commendable feat, for which the current IGP Abubakar Adamu must be credited.
“The most astounding aspect of the legal framework reform is that the current IGP could have opted to focus on other things and then seek tenure elongation, since the present government seems to dish out such like dinner, but he didn’t and instead placed the overall interest of the Police over and above personal interest.
“Apart from the certainty of duration in service, another novel but more important provisions in the Police Act, 2020 is the creation of what I refer to as ‘Fixed Tern of Service’ for the Inspector-General.
“One of the biggest challenges for the Nigeria Police Force is the incessant brief tenure of its topmost leader – the Inspector-General.
“Since this Democratic dispensation, it is not possible to point out a single Inspector-General of Police who was able to set out an agenda for the Police and achieved 30% of such a vision due to the limitation of time before retirement.
“That, in the past, saw some Inspector-Generals considering their appointment as an opportunity to prepare for retirement, instead of developing the institution.
“Others, who desired to leave a mark behind, attempted to have their services retained by the Government through extension, which is unconstitutional.
“However, by inserting section 7 (6) in the Police Act, 2020, the National Assembly agreed with the vision of the current IGP that whoever is to be appointed into the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall have the privilege of formulating policies and implementing same within a reasonable time.
The creation of a mandatory tenure for the Inspector-General of Police in the 2020 Act is a positive step towards the professionalization of the Police and it must be applauded by all Nigerians.