President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Deputy Inspector General, DIG Usman Alkali Baba as Acting Inspector General of Police. His appointment was announced by the Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi. Usman Baba hails from Yobe State and joined the Nigeria Police Force in 1988. Until his appointment as Acting IGP, he was in charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), following his promotion to the rank of DIG in November 2020. The announcement of Usman Baba as Acting IGP was made with the incumbent out in the field performing official duties. The former IGP had gone to visit Owerri, Imo State where bandits had set the State Police headquarters on fire and destroyed the Correctional facility in the State, freeing more than 1,800 inmates.
As usual, the new appointment has come with its controversy, as the President is accused of violating the provision of section 7(3) of the Police Act, 2020, which requires the President to appoint the IGP on the advice of the Police Council. Others have also questioned that the interplay and implication of section 7(6) of the Police Act, which stipulates a tenure of four years for the IGP and section 18(8) which stipulates the retirement age for a police officer to be 60 years of age or 35 years of public service, means that the Acting IGP has only about two years of service left and cannot therefore be appointed. Other criticisms against the appointment are based on the President’s apparent centralisation of appointments of heads of security agencies to a particular part of the country. Again, President Buhari is accused of ethnicism.
It will be recalled that the immediate past Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu was due to retire in February 2021, when he attained the mandatory retirement age of 60 years of age but had his tenure extended by the President for a period of three months. The termination of the extension comes a few weeks ahead of its expiry.