Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, who was billed to retire on Monday after spending the maximum 35 years in service, may stay longer in office, THISDAY learnt on Tuesday.
This, however, would be contrary to the provisions of the Police Act 2020, which in Section 7 (6) fixes a single term of four years without an option of extension of tenure for the holder of the office of the Inspector-General of Police.
It reads: “A person appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years.”
Section 18 (8) of the Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on September 15, 2020, states the length of service of a police officer thus; “Every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment , serve in the police force for 35 years or until he attains the age of years, whichever is earlier.”
Reliable sources at the Police Service Commission (PSC), which is saddled with the responsibility of recruitment, discipline and promotion of officers of the force, told THISDAY yesterday that these provisions have been brought to the attention of the president and that he has been accordingly advised against extending Adamu’s tenure.
“The PSC feels an extension of the tenure of the current Inspector-General may dampen the morale of the rank and file like it did in the military when the tenure of service chiefs was extended for years,” one of the sources said.
The pointers, however, are that the president might have extended the IG’s tenure by an initial period of six months as a day after his scheduled retirement, Adamu was on Tuesday still carrying out the functions of his office, including presiding over a meeting of the police management team.
He was also part of top government officials who received President Muhammadu Buhari at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on his arrival from Daura, Katsina State, where he had gone on a four-day official visit.
THISDAY gathered from some top government officials that the body language of the president showed his inclination to extending the tenure of Adamu despite advice to the contrary by the PSC.
Sources said the PSC was not favourably disposed to a tenure extension for Adamu on the grounds that it could dampen the morale of officers whose promotion might be stagnated due to lack of vacancies the domino effect of the retirement would have created.
Besides, it was argued that extending Adamu’s tenure will violate the Police Act 2020, which prescribes a non-renewable single term of four years for the incumbent IG.
A presidency source said Adamu would, however, have to remain in office until after a farewell meeting with the president, which is not likely to hold so soon.
He explained that it is not in the character of Buhari to let go such a senior appointee without inviting him to a farewell meeting during which he will formally thank him for a job well done and inform him of the choice of his successor.
Another top presidency official had confided in THISDAY on Monday that Adamu would have to continue in office pending when a new appointment is made to fill the position.
Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, had also said on Monday when he appeared on a national television programme, that the president would not make a decision on whether or not Adamu would get a tenure extension or his successor would be named until he returns from Daura.
He had also dismissed agitation for the appointment of an IG based on ethnic consideration.
According to him, the president will not allow ethnicity to inform his choice of a successor for Adamu as he will rather focus on the competence of the would-be successor, who should be someone that guarantees the protection of lives and property.
“I haven’t spoken with the president, but if I read his mind correctly, the president would rather have an Inspector-General of Police who would make you and I feel safer, who would protect lives and property than one who is more pronounced by his tribal marks,” he said.
THISDAY had earlier reported that amid the uncertainties over the leadership of the police, the process of picking the next IG had continued as Buhari had ordered the PSC to expand its list of candidates from which he would pick the successor.
A top government official had told THISDAY that the president made the demand at a recent meeting with PSC officials, led by the Chairman, Mr. Musiliu Smith, a retired IG, where he was presented a shortlist.
However, as the race to succeed Adamu hots up, influential blocs have intensified lobbying to ensure the emergence of their preferred candidate.
A source said Northern leaders, including a powerful emir in one of the states in the North-west, were rooting for one of the newly-promoted Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIG), Dasuki Galadanci from Kano State, to take over from Adamu.
If the president bows to their pressure, it was learnt, a total of 23 Deputy Inspectors-General of Police (DIGs) and AIGs would be retired.
However, should Adamu’s tenure extension be formally approved, the 23 DIGs and AIGs will be saved from premature retirements.