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Court dismisses suit seeking sack of I-G, Usman Baba

The Federal High Court, Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking the removal of the Inspector- General of Police (I-G), Mr Usman Baba.

Delivering judgment on Tuesday, Justice James Omotosho, dismissed the suit instituted against President Muhammadu Buhari and four others by  Mr Micheal Idoko on the grounds that the plaintiff lacked the legal capacity to file the suit.
Justice Omotoso invoked the provisions of Section 7 (6) of the Police Act 2020 which put the tenure of office of any I-G of police at four years.
Justice Omotosho held that the retirement of Baba from the Nigeria Police Force had nothing to do with his appointment on the grounds that the four-year tenure was sacrosanct regardless of his age.
The judge said  assuming without conceding that the plaintiff had locus standi, however,  in line with Section 7 of the Police Act,  a serving police officer shall be appointed to the position of I-G for a tenure of four years.
He said that the I-G was entitled to enjoy his four-year tenure because he was appointed as a serving police officer and he had not attained the retirement age as at the time of his appointment.
The judge opined that the plaintiff’s suit was speculative, academic and hypothetical.
“The plaintiff is not the Attorney -General of the Federation or the Attorney-General of a state to file fundamental rights suits on behalf of the public.
The court held that the plaintiff, who claimed to be a social crusader had no locus standi in instituting the case under the guise of public interest and as such the court had no jurisdiction to entertain it.
The judge held that the plaintiff failed to establish having  any peculiar or special interest over and above other Nigerians just as he failed to prove the damage he suffered on account of Baba continuing as I-G of police.
The judge said the suit was bound to be dismissed for lack of locus.
The suit marked FHC/ CS/ 31/2023 was subsequently dismissed without any cost against the plaintiff.
Idoko, through his Counsel, Mr James Onoja, SAN, had filed the suit challenging the legality of the  continuous stay of the I-G in office having served out his tenure on the grounds of his age.
The plaintiff asked the court to declare the appointment of Baba null and void as he was required to retire after attaining 35 years in service or attaining 60 years of age, whichever came first
He also wanted the court to declare the appointment null and void on the grounds that the president ought not to have appointed him knowing that he would attain the age of 60 before the expiration of his four-year tenure.
Speaking to newsmen, a counsel to Idoko, Mr George Ibrahim said that he would consult his client to know the next step to take.
For his part, counsel to the I-G,  Mr Abdulhakeem Mustapha, SAN, told newsman that by virtue of the judgment, any I-G appointed, in line with Section 7 of the new Police Act, would serve for four years which was sacrosanct irrespective of their age or years in service.(NAN)

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