Udora Orizu in Abuja
Opposition political parties under the aegis of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), have dragged President Muhammadu Buhari, the Police Service Commission, and the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, before a Federal High Court in Abuja to stop alleged plot by the president to extend the tenure of the IG that expires in January 2019.
The parties are complaining that the extension would place the outgoing police boss in a position to be used by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to unduly influence the 2019 presidential election.
In a statement by CUPP spokesperson, Mr. Ikenga Ugochinyere, the plaintiff said the legal action is to ensure that the constitution is not violated and that a partisan IG, whose membership of the Police Force will expire on January 15, 2019 after reaching the mandatorily 60 years retirement age, is not allowed to remain in office to avoid endangering the electoral process, democracy and the lives of our citizens.
According to Ugochinyere, “This opposition’s legal offensive, which was filed at a Federal High Court Abuja few days ago with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1570/2018 and instituted by the National Chairman of Action Peoples Party (APP) and spokesperson of the opposition coalition, CUPP on behalf of the CUPP, is seeking the court’s interpretation.
“Such interpretation is on whether by the combined provisions of Section 215(1) of the 1999 Constitution, which provides that the appointment of a new IGP shall be made from among serving officers and the provisions of Rule 020810 of the Public Service Rules, which places the cap for retirement at 60 years or 35 years of service, whichever comes first, IG Idris, who was born on 15 January, 1959 and who by 15 January 2019 will turn 60 (retirement age) and consequently cease to be a police officer, can be reappointed as IG in violation of the constitutional provision, which clearly stipulates that only serving police officers are to be appointed.
“It is based on the above, that the suit is seeking a court declaration that IG Idris is not eligible to remain in office after 15 January, 2019 having attained the retirement age of 60.
“CUPP is also seeking for an order to restrain President Buhari from reappointing or extending the tenure of the IG beyond 15 January, 2019.”
He called on the president to immediately direct the Idris to proceed on terminal leave as it is less than one month to his retirement date of January 15, 2019.
“This call is to achieve the dual purpose of allowing the president who is usually too slow in making appointments to have at least one month to make up his mind and appoint another IG and also allow the IG time to commence his mandatory one-month pre-retirement workshop/seminar and put his records straight so as to facilitate the speedy processing of his retirement benefits,” he said.
He added that the issue of the retirement of the IG is yet another integrity test for the president, adding that the plan for the secret extension of the tenure of the IG will be unconstitutional, unlawful and unacceptable.
He stated that it would also further expose the president’s desperation to win the elections by foul means.
Meanwhile, Ugochinyere has raised the alarm on an alleged plot by the APC to inaugurate former Director General of the Directorate of State Security (DSS), Mr. Lawal Daura, as the Head of the Security Committee of the 2019 APC Presidential Campaign Council.
He said, “This move is another assault on our democracy, the march for free and fair election and public decency. The move has confirmed our stand years back that the former DG’s anti-democratic actions especially his failed attempt to overthrow the leadership of the Parliament led by Saraki had the blessing of the President Buhari led APC government.
“This shameful move, going by the history and records of the former DG who led many illegal assaults against human rights activists, judiciary officers, political opponents, religious groups, etc. is aimed at compromising the independence of our security agencies and drag them into the APC’s desperate move to retain power at all cost.”