The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olumide Akpata, has explained that the association sued President Muhammadu Buhari over the extension of the tenure of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, because it the extension was unconstitutional.
In a Friday statement, Akpata explained that the extraordinary action became necessary because of an urgent nee to reassert the supremacy of the rule of law in the face of growing impunity and the seeming reluctance of Law Officers in Government to give proper counsel.
His full statement reads: Distinguished Colleagues,
In fidelity to the motto of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) which is Promoting the Rule of Law, on Thursday, 11 February 2021, the NBA-Public Interest Litigation Committee (NBA-PILC), on behalf of the NBA, commenced legal action at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/214/2021 (the “Suit”) against the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Police Service Commission, and Mr Mohammed Abubakar Adamu.
In the Suit, the NBA seeks judicial determination of the constitutionality of the President’s extension of Mr Adamu’s tenure as the Inspector-General of Police for three months after Mr Adamu had, on 1 February 2021, attained thirty-five years of service as a member of the Nigeria Police Force.
The NBA’s decision to take this extraordinary line of action is underpinned by an urgent need, and a sacred duty, to reassert the supremacy of the rule of law in the face of growing impunity and the seeming reluctance of Law Officers in Government to give proper counsel.
The NBA’s position in the Suit is that Mr Adamu ceased to be a member of the Nigeria Police Force when he attained the milestone of thirty-five years of service. Therefore, the President’s extension of Mr Adamu’s tenure by three months, in the NBA’s respectful view, is unconstitutional.
In the grand scheme of things, the NBA is wary that the more government officials casually violate the law, the harder it would become to expect citizens to be compliant. Citizens take their cues from their leaders and public office holders who flout the laws of the country that they are meant to uphold will discover sooner or later that their examples will be followed by those that they purport to govern.
The ubiquity of acts of impunity, especially by those in high public offices, portends an existential threat to the survival of this country and her hard-won democracy. The NBA, now more than ever, is firmly committed to changing this narrative.
As the outcome of the Suit is awaited, the NBA will continue to condemn and confront lawlessness in any form and from all quarters