Citizen is a column that explains how the government’s policies fucks citizens and how we can unfuck ourselves.
There gave been 9 different Inspectors General of Police in Nigeria within the last 15 years. And while it is always easy to make the Nigerian Police the fall guy, there are structures within the Nigerian Police itself that genuinely makes it impossible for the “Force” to be effective.
Definitely, no organisation that changes its leader every one or two years can maintain a vision.
Under the Police Act (2004), the tenure of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) was not specified. Section 9 (4) and (5) of Act gave the President operational control of the Police Force while the Inspector General of Police was given the power to command the Force, but subject to the directive of the President.
The President may also give the IGP any order which he “shall” comply with, and the IGP is strictly appointed by the President who is advised on this duty by the Nigeria Police Council.
No wonder that in the past 15 years, we have had 9 different Inspectors General of Police, most of them serving for only a year or two.
Sunday Ehindero (2005-2007), Mike Okiro (2007-2009), Ogbonna Onovo (2009-2010), Hafiz Ringim (2010-2012), Mohammed Dikko Abubakar (2012-2014), Suleiman Abba (2014-2015), Solomon Arase (2015-2016), Ibrahim Idris (2016-2019) and Mohammed Adamu (2019-) have all served as IGPs of the Nigerian Police from 2005, but it is clear that the tenure of their roles is uncertain. As it appears, you can be removed from being IGP if the President wakes up on the wrong side of his bed.
Certainly, this uncertainty about the length of tenure handicaps any IGP who wants to implement long term reforms within the Police. Add this to the political uncertainty within the Presidency itself and you’ll realise why Police terms should not be left in the hands of the President.
Police Act 2020
Under the Police Act (2020), this situation has been fixed.
Section 4 of the Act states that the Inspector General of Police shall not be removed from office except for gross misconduct, a gross violation of the constitution and demonstrated incapacity to discharge the duties of the office.
Furthermore, Section 6 the new Police Act states that the Inspector-General of Police shall hold office for four years, except he has served in the Police Force for a period of 35 years or he has attained the age of 60 years.
With this certainty of office, we can at least expect new Inspectors General of Police to implement their own reforms within the Police Force, knowing fully well their four year term is guaranteed to a very large extent.
We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about how to unfuck yourself when the Nigerian government moves mad. Check back every weekday for more Zikoko Citizen explainers.