By Kayode Oyero
Human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), has described as unconstitutional and nepotistic, the appointment of Usman Alkali Baba as acting Inspector-General of Police.
Ozekhome stated this in a statement made available to The PUNCH on Wednesday titled, ‘Buhari’s Northernisation Of The Nigeria Police Force’.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), through the Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammad Dingyadi, had on Tuesday appointed 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 out of the three-month extension when he was replaced.
Reacting, Ozekhome, who had earlier kicked against the extension of the tenure of Adamu, said going by “paragraph 7 to the 3rd Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, the President cannot single-handedly appoint an IGP, as he has again unconstitutionally and illegally done.
“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.
“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.”
Continuing the human rights lawyer wrote, “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?
“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? I thought gleefully told Nigerians on 29th May, 2015, while taking his first oath of office, that he was for “everybody and for nobody”? So, Buhari had actually deceived Nigerians and is desecrating his solemn oath of office?
“Is Buhari telling Nigerians that under his governance, Nigerians are indeed living in the Federal Republic of the North, or Northern Republic of Nigeria, or Republic of Northern Nigeria, or Northern Nigeria Republic, Republic of Northern Nigeria and Other Vassal States ? I can’t decode Buhari’s defiant refusal to respect the Federal Character principle enshrined in section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution. Or, can you?”
The PUNCH had also reported that apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, also condemned the appointment of Baba as IGP, saying the injustice of the Federal Government under the Buhari regime was responsible for the growing agitations and insecurity in the South-East.