Mike Ozekhome (SAN), a human rights lawyer, has slammed Usman Alkali Baba’s appointment as acting Inspector-General of Police, calling it illegal and nepotistic.
Ozekhome enumerated his stance via a detailed statement on Wednesday, April 7, titled ‘Buhari’s Northernisation Of The Nigeria Police Force’.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday announced the appointment of Baba to succeed Mohammed Adamu.
Adamu, whose tenure ended in February after completion of his mandatory 35 years of service, got a three-month extension by the President but he had only spent about two months of the three-month extension when he was replaced.
However, in his statement, Ozekhome stated that President Buhari does not have the unilateral wherewithal to “appoint an IGP, as he has again unconstitutionally and illegally done” according to the dictates of “paragraph 7 to the 3rd Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.”
“He can only do so in conjunction with the Nigeria Police Council comprising of Mr President as chairman, all the 36 state Governors, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission and the IGP.
“Such an appointment as just happened before the new Acting IGP is capricious, arbitrary, whimsical, unconscionable, illegal, unlawful, wrongful and unconstitutional. It eulogises strong men rather than strong institutions.
Furthermore, the lawyer accused the President of favouring the North regarding recent appointments into key positions in the administration.
“Today, Buhari has again appointed DIG Usman Alkali Baba, a Northern Muslim, as Acting Inspector General of Police, to replace Adamu Mohammad, another Northern Muslim. With Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, another Northern Muslim as the Minister of Police Affairs, the circle of policing in Nigeria is complete,” he railed.
The human rights lawyer also querried, “By the way, 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?”