A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Chief Mike Ozekhome on Wednesday described the appointment of the new acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Alkali Baba as illegal and unconstitutional.
Ozekhome contended Baba’s appointment negated provisions of Federal Character as enshrined in the 1999 constitution, as amended.
He stated this in a statement titled “Buhari’s Northernisation of Nigeria Police.”
The activist lawyer argued that the President lacks the power to single handedly appoint the IGP.
He said the President can only appoint an IGP 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.
He argued the appointment of Baba, as the new acting IGP “is capricious, arbitrary, whimsical, unconscionable, illegal, unlawful, wrongful and unconstitutional.”
The senior advocate wondered why the President chose to ignore and disrespect the Federal Character principle enshrined in section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution.
He lamented the appointment DIG Usman Alkali Baba, a northern Muslim, as acting inspector-general of police, to replace Adamu Mohammed, another northern Muslim.
He said: “With Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, another northern Muslim as the minister of police affairs, the circle of policing in Nigeria is complete.
“Of course, Buhari controls the police by virtues of sections 214, 215 and 216 of the 1999 Constitution. It is the same situation with the ministry of petroleum resources and NNPC, the entire security architecture of Nigeria, and other key sectors and commanding heights of the economy.
“The illogical and puerile argument is always that the president only appoints people he can trust and that such persons are qualified in any event. That argument is insulting and insensitive to the intelligence, sensibilities and plurality of Nigeria.
“Can’t President Muhammadu Buhari for once, just for once, in his opaque appointments look beyond his religion and immediate and forsake sectionalism, cronyism, prebendalism, tribalism, favouritism, and act as a true statesman?
“Is he truly saying he cannot trust any of the other over 15 million Nigerians who voted for him, or that he cannot find any of them that is qualified to be made an IGP?”