Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, the second Inspector-General of Police under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, was fired on Tuesday, 28 days to the end of his extended tenure, over three reasons considered by decision-makers at the presidency.
The main reason for the decision, it was gathered, was an expose published by our sister publication, Daily Trust on Saturday, of April 3, which revealed how police formations across the country suffer for failure to release operational funds by the police top management.
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In place of Adamu, DIG Usman Alkali Baba was announced as the acting IGP.
Baba was born in Gaidam, Yobe State, on March 1, 1963. He was enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force on March 15, 1988.
The sudden sack of Adamu came as a shock to Nigerians and close watchers of the power cycles in Abuja. The ex-IGP was said to be congenial with Buhari who, insiders say, had had kind words for Adamu.
The sack was announced by Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, who strangely drove to the Presidential Villa, in the absence of both the President and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to address the press at the Press Gallery.
Adamu was supposed to retire on February 1 but after dilly-dallying for days, with the IGP holding on to his seat, the federal government announced a three-month extension for him. The action was said to be a marker of Buhari’s fondness for the man.
The extension was criticised as illegal by a broad spectrum of lawyers, with some, including the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), going to court to challenge the action.
Real reasons he was sacked
Credible sources with knowledge about the decision told Daily Trust last night that the federal government was toying with the idea of letting the ex-IGP go, to save itself from embarrassment over an impending court judgment when two other things happened.
A suit challenging Adamu’s continued stay in office filed by a lawyer, Maxwell Okpara, before a Federal High court in Abuja was due for judgment next week.
Sources said there were feelers that the judgment, scheduled for April 16, is likely going to be against the government.
“There was the story in Daily Trust on Saturday which was very embarrassing to the government and exposed how poor financial management and administrative lapses are affecting the activities of the police, nationwide,” the source explained.
The story, Daily Trust recalls, had painted a vivid picture of the poor state of the police with Commissioners of Police (CPs) and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) left to their own devices.
Police officers on special duties, our reporters discovered, are not being paid their allowances just as the running cost for operations was not forthcoming.
A source at the police affairs ministry said the story generated ripples as the presidency expressed displeasure to both the police management and the ministry.
But blames were heaped on the doorsteps of the former IGP, it was learnt.
While the dust raised by the story was yet to settle, a source said the attack on police command headquarters in Owerri, Imo State, in the early hours of Monday, worsened the situation for the former IGP.
The police has the constitutional responsibility of internal security and enforcement of law and order in the country.
With the latest developments, those working to have Adamu replaced intensified their lobby, pointing to the ex-IGP’s failings.
Dingyadi, who was said to have since pencilled down Baba for appointment as the IG got the green light Tuesday afternoon from London, where the president is on a medical vacation, to proceed with the announcement.
Adamu was hit with the news of his sack on landing in Abuja from Imo, where he had gone to assess the level of damage caused by the Monday’s attack by armed men loyal to the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).
Why Buhari okayed sack – Minister
The minister, while speaking on the appointment, said President Buhari took the decision in line with Section 7, subsection 2 of the Nigeria Police Act (2020) having considered seniority, professionalism, record of service and competence.
The appointment of the acting IGP is subject to the approval of the Council of State meeting expected to be convened soon.
He added that it was in continuation of the commitment of the president to rejig the security architecture of the country and bring the security challenges bedevilling the nation to an end.
Dingyadi said the president charged the new appointee to rise to the challenge to guarantee peace and security of lives and property of all Nigerians.
He said President Buhari thanked the outgoing IGP, Mohammed Adamu, for his professionalism and dedication to duty during the period of his tenure and wished him all the best in his future endeavours.
“After a thorough check of a shortlist of suitably qualified police officers from the rank of DIGs and AIGs, who are eligible police officers, eligible for appointment as IGP, in line with Section 7, subsection 2 of the Nigeria Police Act (2020), and having regards to seniority, professionalism, record of service and competence, Mr President has approved the appointment of an acting IGP, in the person of Usman Alkali Baba, PSE, FDC, with immediate effect.”
Asked to explain the reason why the president did not allow the outgoing IGP to last the three months of extension, the minister said: “Mr President is aware of this and you cannot take away that responsibility from him; he’s the one who is in charge of appointing or extending tenures.
“He has now decided to appoint a new person. So, please allow him that responsibility and we cannot do anything about it. Thank you.”
Who is acting IGP Baba?
The acting IGP, holds a Teacher’s Grade II Certificate (TC II) from Teachers College, Potiskum, Yobe State in 1980.
He obtained a BA (ED) in Political Science from Bayero University, Kano in 1985.
The Acting IGP also has a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) obtained from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State in 1997.
Baba was until his appointment a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department, Force Headquarters.
According to him, his policing vision is: “To enhance police primacy in Nigeria through the provision of a motivational and credible leadership driven by professional knowledge, ethics, emotional intelligence tools, and strategic planning and operational models that are directed at stabilising internal security and modernizing police operations, facilities and standards within the framework of citizens, consent, trust, and rule of law.”
Findings reveal that only Lawal Shehu, the DIG in charge of training, who was also enlisted into the force in 1988 would be retired following the appointment of Baba as Acting IGP while other AIGs who were enlisted into the force the same year with Baba, 1988 would likely be promoted to the rank of DIGs.
Lawyers plan fresh suit
Lawyers have accused President Buhari of breaching the law in the latest appointment of the new acting Inspector General of Police.
Okpara, who had earlier filed a suit challenging the tenure extension to ex-IGP Adamu, said the new appointment breached the provision of Section 7 of the Police Act, 2020 on four-year tenure.
He, therefore, vowed to file a fresh suit to challenge the latest appointment, alongside other lawyers.
He also said the removal will not affect the current suit as the outcome may help to address the incessant tenure elongation for retirees of other federal agencies.
In his suit before the court, the lawyer argued that the president breached the provisions of sections 215(1)(a) and 216 of the Nigerian Constitution with the tenure extension of the IGP.
He further argues that the action is in contravention of the provisions of sections 7(3) & (6) and 18(8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.
Joined as defendants in the suit are the president; the outgoing IGP, Adamu; Attorney General of the Federation, and Nigeria Police Council.
Meanwhile, the president had in a reply alongside the AGF, informed the court that Adamu was still a serving police officer, adding that the law permits Adamu to remain in office till 2023 or 2024, as his role is a quasi-political appointment.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has described the replacement of the IGP as a confirmation of its position that the tenure extension was wrong.
He further said the body will not withdraw the suit because “We are seeking a declaration from the court so that these things don’t repeat themselves again.”
Removal of Adamu legal
Reacting to the removal of IGP Adamu two months into his three-month extension, Yunus Ustaz Usman (SAN) said “anybody who has the power to hire has the power to fire.”
Also, reacting, Dayo Akinlaja (SAN) said it doesn’t matter if he was sacked two months into his three months tenure extension since the law gives the president the prerogative to appoint and to fire especially on a sensitive issue as national security.
Agenda for new IGP
Speaking on the appointment, a retired AIG, Ali Amodu, charged the Acting IGP to assemble the best hands among the serving officers to help him tackle myriad challenges ravaging the country.
“There are challenges ahead of him. Even what happened yesterday in Owerri, is an indication that there are enormous challenges ahead of the police force and other security agencies.
“The Acting IG is a very calm somebody who doesn’t talk much. I think going by his past records, he can give you results and I hope he’s going to do that.
“He has to be very tactful on whatever he does and be very firm. He should also note that we are in a democracy, he should be very firm and tactful to achieve results,” Amodu said.
He also urged the acting IGP to ensure he carried along stakeholders in the country including retired officers who can as well help him in the discharge of his duties.
According to him, “If he can hold on to this and bring in people that are capable of assisting him to deliver, he would make it. He cannot do this thing alone, and he cannot do this with those already in the service alone.
“We have some egg-headed retired officers in the country, let him call them, let him chat with them. They have so much in the offing. We have had these challenges in the time past, and I think they will be willing to help.
“Every Nigerian elder has a conscience, both retired and serving, and has determination on how we can tackle the problems in the country. I wish the acting IG the best and I believe he can deliver but he should get the right kind of people to assist him.”
By Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, Muideen Olaniyi, John C. Azu & Idowu Isamotu