The federal high court in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking to restrain Mohammed Adamu from “parading” himself as the inspector-general of police (IGP).
Adamu, who was appointed in 2019, had clocked the mandatory 35 years in service on February 1, and was expected to have been replaced by the president.
However, on February 4, President Muhammadu Buhari extended Adamu’s tenure by three months.
Mohammad Dingyadi, minister of police affairs, who confirmed the development, had said the extension was necessary to give room for the proper selection of a successor.
The extension of the IGP’s tenure has generated criticism as several legal luminaries claim that the president lacks the constitutional powers to do so.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/106/21, Maxwell Opara, a legal practitioner, contends that by virtue of section 215 of the Nigerian Constitution and section 7 of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, Adamu cannot continue to function as the IGP, having retired as a serving member of the force.
In the suit, which has the president, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), and the Nigeria Police Council (NPC) as respondents, Opara wants the court to void Adamu’s extension, and issue an order compelling Buhari and the NPC to immediately appoint a new IGP.
The plaintiff, through his counsel, Ugochukwu Ezekiel, brought a motion ex parte dated February 11 and filed on February 12, asking the court to restrain Adamu from serving as the IGP until the determination of the main suit.
The plaintiff also prayed the court to order an abridgement of time within which the respondents should answer to the application.
However, after hearing the ex parte motion on Tuesday, Ahmed Mohammed, the presiding judge, held that it would be unfair to grant such application “when Adamu and other respondents had already been served and were still within time to respond to the suit”.
The judge noted that the respondents are entitled to 30 days from the date they were served to respond to the suit.
He said granting the prayers of the applicant would contravene the provisions of the law.
“Prayer for an order of interim injunction is hereby refused,” the judge ruled.
The matter has been adjourned till February 24 for hearing of the main suit.
While the IGP was represented by Alex Izinyon, a senior advocate of Nigeria, the president and AGF had no legal representation.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has also filed a suit to challenge the tenure elongation of the IGP.