President Muhammadu Buhari may have approved a six-month tenure extension for the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, Sunday PUNCH has learnt.
But the opposition political parties, under the aegis of the Coalition of United Political Parties, are threatening to drag President Muhammadu Buhari before the court over the planned tenure extension.
The President was said to have agreed in principle to grant the IG additional six months in office to enable him to coordinate and supervise the forthcoming general elections in the country.
Officially, Idris is due to retire from the Nigeria Police Force on January 3, 2019, having put in the mandatory 35 years in service. But he was said to have lobbied some senior Presidency functionaries, who, in turn, got Buhari to extend the IG’s tenure.
A top source, who confirmed the development to one of our correspondents in Abuja on Saturday, explained that the IG might get the official confirmation of the tenure extension “any moment from now.”
He said, “It is a done deal; the IG’s tenure has already been extended because the Presidency has confidence in him. He would get the official confirmation any moment from now; that is if he hasn’t received it already.
“Extending the IG’s tenure is not unexpected. The other service chiefs had their tenure extended by a year. So, giving Idris the same privilege is nothing out of the ordinary.”
Meanwhile, the planned extension of tenure, the CUPP claimed, would only afford the police boss the opportunity to do the President’s bidding and work for the ruling All Progressives Congress in the general elections.
They have therefore resolved to resist the move, claiming the nation’s constitution does not make any provision for tenure extension.
The first national spokesperson for the CUPP, Imo Ugochinyere, in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH on Friday, said the opposition parties were shifting their attention to the leadership of the force following Buhari’s decision not to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill and the inability of federal lawmakers to override his veto.
He said, “We are insisting that the Inspector-General of Police, whose tenure is expiring in January, must leave the office.
“So, we are demanding that the President should not extend his tenure because there is no such provision in the constitution. A former police officer cannot be an Inspector-General of Police. We will be filing an action in court to ensure that he leaves office in January.”
Also, the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution has kicked against the alleged tenure elongation, noting that Idris had so far “demonstrated lack of capacity and inability to effectively police Nigeria as the IG.”
The CDNDC Coordinator, Dare Atoye, argued that wanton killings and criminality had increased under Idris leadership of the police, adding that there were more competent officers in the NPF that could do the job better.
He said, “The only good thing that can happen to the Nigeria police is for the government of President Buhari to look for a competent replacement; somebody who has the discipline and the character to lead the force. I believe many Nigerians would agree with me that the wanton killings in the country and the lack of training without equipment have been aggravated under his leadership.”
Appraising the alleged reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, the activist observed that no reform had taken place, noting that the impunity being carried out by the squad was merely suppressed.
He cited the arrest and arraignment of an Abuja-based activist, Deji Adeyanju, by the police for homicide, a charge for which he was discharged and acquitted by a Kano High Court in 2009.
The Secretary-General, Basic Rights Enlightenment Foundation, Ikechukwu Maduike, also kicked against the government’s decision, stressing that “the police had become worse under the IG.”
The lawyer said, “We need someone who has new ideas so we can see something new in the force. I don’t think this IG has what it takes to transform the police force.”