A coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have thrown a charge at President Bola Tinubu, urging him to respect the Nigerian Police Act in the appointment of the next Inspector-General of Police and put an end to the needless controversies that often arise from such appointments by his predecessors who disregarded the provisions of the Nigerian Police Act.

This was contained in a press release by the coalition on Friday, June 2, 2023, signed by Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director of the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC); Olukayode Senbanjo, Executive Director, Confluence of Rights, Nigeria and former Director, National Human Rights Commission; Saviour Akpan of COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peace Building, Akwa Ibom State and representatives of other Civil Society Organizations.

The press statement reads in full:


Appointment of Inspectors-General of the Nigeria Police under successive administrations have often triggered avoidable controversies that have been allowed to fester over the years, now crying for the immediate attention of, and resolution by, Mr. President, as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and more specifically, as Chairman of the Police Counsel.

The appointment by former President Muhammadu Buhari of Mr. Usman Alkali Baba as the Acting Inspector General of Police in April 2021 following his sudden removal of Mr. Muhammed Adamu (Baba’s predecessor), while he was on an official assignment in Owerri, Imo State expectedly stoked the unending controversy on the contradictions between the De Jure and the De facto procedure on the appointment of the Inspector General of Police for Nigeria.

Baba replaced Adamu who was Inspector General of Police from 15 January 2019 to February 1, 2021 when he was due and expected to retire before Buhari extended his tenure by three months. He was suddenly removed on April 6, 2021 and replaced by Baba.

The controversy surrounding Baba’s appointment bordered on a number of issues. The first was about the way Adamu was removed while on national assignment which many considered untidy. Baba’s appointment was also considered as nepotistic and brought back debates over Buhari’s history of appointments which always skewed heavily in favour of Northern Muslims in a multicultural and pluralistic society much against the letter and spirit of Nigeria’s Federal Character, a Constitutional imperative. The appointment was also considered a gross violation of the extant provisions of the Police Act 2020.

The Nigeria Police Force (Establishment) Act, 2020 which came into force on the 17th of September 2020, repealed the colonial 1943 Police Act.


The Police Act 2020 prescribes a four-year term of office and retirement age of 60 or 35 years in service whichever is earlier. This is in line with the civil service rules which the Police Act makes reference to. With regards to age, Section 18, paragraph 8, says that every police officer shall, on recruitment or appointment, serve in the Nigeria Police Force for a period of 35 years or until he attains the age of 60, whichever is earlier.

As at the date of his appointment, Usman Baba was 58 years old and following the rules should have retired in two year’s time while he was stepping into an office with a four-year tenure.

The controversy over Baba’s tenure as IGP resurrected two years later when it was expected that he had attained the maximum number of years of service stipulated by the Civil service rules, and therefore should go. This renewed controversy followed the announcement by the then Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi that the IGP will not be retiring when he turns 60 on March 1, 2023.

In appointing Baba, or extending his tenure – as with previous similar appointments or extensions, there was no evidence that President Buhari sought the concurrence of the Police Council as is required by both the Constitution and the Police Act.


Section 7 of the Police Act, paragraph 2 says that the person to be appointed as Inspector General of Police shall be a senior police officer not below the rank of an Assistant Inspector-General of Police. In addition, Section 7 paragraph 6 of the Police Act also states that the person to be appointed to the office of the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years.

We believe that the intention of the law is that whoever will be appointed should be in office for the full length of the term. This enables the person so appointed to enjoy secured tenure and have time for long term visioning and planning.

The appointment of all three IGPs who served under Buhari from one section of the country – Ibrahim Idris Kpotun, Muhammad Adamu, and now Usman Alkali Baba – in the very least violated the Federal Character Principle enshrined in the constitution, a Constitutional guarantee of inclusivity.

The Police Act 2020 also states that the Inspector General of Police shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Police Council from among serving members of the Police Force. This didn’t happen, to our knowledge.


The newly sworn in President, Bola Tinubu must avoid the wrongful, patently illegal and unconstitutional steps of the past Buhari regime which led to controversies and judicial challenge of appointments made by the President.

The judicial challenge of Baba’s appointment and the recent ruling by a High Court in Anambra State nullifying that appointment are a national embarrassment, to say the least.

The penchant of some past presidents to irregularly promote a preferred Commissioner of Police to the rank of AIG for the sole purpose of making such an officer qualified for appointment, with the collateral consequence of forcing the premature retirement of all his senior officers must stop. Those mainly affected by this wrong-headed practice are usually AIGs and DIGs who can no longer remain in office because they are seniors to the candidate so handpicked and appointed by the President. This is unfair to the affected senior officers who are forced to retire before their due dates. It is also a waste of manpower and the national and international resources invested in training them. These are besides the destructive loss of institutional memory, a critical asset that provides foundational stability.

In appointing a new IGP to replace Baba, President Tinubu should avoid a repeat of the pitfalls, errors and brazen illegalities of the past.

The President should take due cognizance of the provisions of the Police Act 2020 regarding 4-year-tenure. He should appoint only candidates who have up to four years and above in service. Appointment must be made in consultation with the Police Council as stipulated by both the Police Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. The President should also ensure geopolitical balancing and equity in line with the constitutional Federal Character Principle.

In short, appointments must be based on legal and constitutional stipulations, merit, competence, qualifications, seniority and existing line of succession. The highest considerations must be professional and managerial competence rather than partisan or personal political preferences or nepotistic or other mundane considerations.

We offer this advice to help this new administration chart a refreshingly new course, which, to us, is at tandem with the President’s commitment to rule of law and the undertaking he publicly gave in his inauguration address on May 29, 2023.


  1. Okechukwu Nwanguma,
    Executive Director, RULAAC, Lagos
  2. Z Olukayode SENBANJO, Esq.
    ED, Confluence of Rights, Nigeria & Rtd Director, NHRC, Lagos
  3. Samuel Ihensekhien Jnr Esq, Abuja
  4. Saviour Akpan, COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peacebuilding – Akwa Ibom State
  5. Princess Hamman-Obels, Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development, Abuja
  6. Samuel Akpologun Esq
    Ace & Vanguard Legal Practitioners


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here