Nigerian Court Declares Alkali Baba’s Retirement Age Extension Illegal

Court Declares Extension of Retirement Age of IGP Alkali Baba Illegal

Justice F.O. Riman of the Federal High Court Awka, South east Nigeria has delivered a judgment in favour of the plaintiff regarding the reliefs sought, which include declaring the extension of the retirement age of IGP Alkali Baba as illegal. Furthermore, the judge ruled that the appointment of IGP Alkali Baba was unlawful and invalid.

The Court has also ordered Alkali Baba to stop parading himself as the Inspector-General of Police, IGP. In addition, the ruling mandates the President to convene a meeting of the Nigeria Police Council to appoint a new Inspector General of Police who will hold office for four years.

The ruling was derived from the judgment delivered in the suit filed between Okechukwu Nwafor (plaintiff) and (1) President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; (2) Usman Alkali Baba; (3) Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; and (4) Nigeria Police Council at the Federal High Court Awka.

The reliefs sought by the plaintiff in Suit No: FHC/AWK/CS/58/2023 before the court include: “A declaration that by a communal reading of the provisions of sections 215(a) and 216(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), Sections 7 (2) &(6) and 18(8) of the Nigeria Police Act 2020, the appointment of the 2nd Defendant is UNLAWFUL and INVALID, the 2nd Defendant not being a person capable of fulfilling the mandatory requirement of tenure of office of Inspector General of Police and /or the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) having not been complied with.” “A declaration that the 2nd Defendant is not qualified to hold the office of the Inspector General of Police for the sole reason that doing so will lead to absurdity which will amount to a complete breach and total disregard for the clear and unambiguous provision of section 7 (6) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.” “A declaration that the 1st Defendant has no power whatsoever to extend the condition for the retirement of a Police officer as contained in section 18(8) of the Nigeria Police Act 2020.” “An order restraining the 2nd Defendant from further parading himself as the Inspector-General of Police of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or exercising any form of command or control over the Nigeria Police Force.” “An order mandating the 1st Defendant to immediately convene a meeting for members of the 4th Defendant for the purpose of appointing a new Inspector General of Police capable of holding the office for the fixed term of four years unhindered by section 18(8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020 and also in line with the provisions of sections 7 of the Nigeria Police Act.” “Such further or other orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.”

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Delivering his judgment on the originating Summons, the Judge said, “Despite the prerogative power of the President, he is limited to the provisions of the Constitution. The retirement of the Inspector General of Police is a statutory and constitutional issue, and no other law of the land can change the foundational norm.”

Regarding the issue of locus, the Judge stated, “In my view, the requirement of locus is not necessary in constitutional cases as the application of the concept could impede the administration of justice. There is a liberalisation of the concept of locus standi when it involves constitutional matters. The Plaintiff is a Nigerian and taxpayer, as stated in his affidavit paragraph, and this has not been disputed. I find merit in this suit. Accordingly, judgment is entered in favour of the Plaintiff in accordance with the reliefs sought.”

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This ruling marks a significant development in the legal battle surrounding the extension of IGP Alkali Baba’s retirement age and the legality of his appointment. The court’s decision to declare the extension unlawful and invalid raises questions about the adherence to constitutional provisions in such matters. With the order for Alkali Baba to cease acting as the Inspector-General of Police, the position now awaits the appointment of a new individual who can hold the office for a fixed term of four years, as mandated by the Nigeria Police Act.

It remains to be seen how the President and the Nigeria Police Council will respond to the court’s ruling and the subsequent requirement to convene a meeting for the appointment of a new Inspector General of Police. As the legal battle concludes, the decision holds significant implications for the Nigerian police force and the country’s adherence to constitutional procedures in high-level appointments.

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