A Lagos-based lawyer, Tope Alabi, has urged a Federal High Court in Lagos to strip Joseph Mbu, the controversial Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG, of his police rank and declare his office vacant.
In a suit FHC/L/CS/149/15, Mr. Alabi is seeking a declaration that Mr. Mbu, the first defendant, has abused his office and is unfit to be a police officer.
“It is in the interest of justice to declare the first defendant unfit to be and to remain a police officer in Nigeria, considering his public conduct all the time and to declare his position and seat vacant and a replacement made without delay,” Mr. Alabi said in his court papers.
A date is yet to be fixed for hearing.
Mr. Mbu, the newly posted AIG in charge of Zone 2, rose to infamy for his unguarded utterances as well as his recent clashes with politicians, civil society activists, and journalists.
Last week, while addressing police officers of the Ogun State Command, Mr. Mbu instructed them to be battle-ready to return “fire for fire” against politicians during the elections.
“If one of my men is killed, I shall kill 20 of them but don’t shoot first. If they shoot you, shoot back in self-defence. Anybody who fires you, fire him back in self-defence,” Mr. Mbu said.
In 2014, the #BringBackOurGirls protesters in Abuja slammed a N200 million damage suit against the Nigeria Police after Mr. Mbu banned their daily sit-ins to demand the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls.
The police hierarchy promptly reversed the ban and the suit was dropped.
Also, in 2014, Mr. Mbu detained and arraigned a journalist before a Magistrate for branding him ‘controversial’ during a TV programme.
The magistrate struck out the charges.
In 2013, while the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Mr. Mbu engaged in frequent verbal clashes with Rotimi Amaechi, the state governor, with the latter accusing him of an assassination plot.
Mr. Alabi said these acts by a serving police officer are enough to declare his office vacant and replaced “without further delay.”
Joined in the suit before the Lagos court are the Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, the Police Service Commission and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, as the second to fourth defendants.
As a senior police officer, according to Mr. Alabi, Mr. Mbu swore to uphold to the rule of law and abide by the Constitution, but has allegedly been behaving as if he is above the law.
“A prayer urging the court to determine whether Mbu is fit and proper to remain in office considering his controversial utterances and ‘his public misconduct,’ and whether the lives of Nigerians are not in danger as long as Mbu remains in office,” Mr. Alabi stated in his court filings.
The lawyer also wants the court to hold that Mr. Mbu’s threat, last week, is beyond his powers and therefore in breach of Section 308 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution.
Mr. Alabi also wants a declaration that his life and those of other Nigerians are in danger as long as Mr. Mbu remains in office, and that their rights cannot be guaranteed unless Mr. Mbu is removed.
Mr. Mbu had also told his men to arrest any erring governor before, during, or after the election.
The lawyer urged the court to stop Mr. Mbu from giving that order in line with Section 308 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution.
He also prayed for an order of perpetual injunction restraining Mr. Mbu from giving any orders during the March 28 and April 11 general elections.
Mr. Alabi said Mr. Mbu has no powers under the law to personally kill or direct officers under his control to kill innocent Nigerians in retaliation should any officer be attacked.
According to him, by Mr. Mbu’s utterance, he has chosen to flout the laws he swore to uphold as his statement is “capable of inciting mass killings, violence and anarchy”.
Mr. Alabi recalled that Mr. Mbu served in Rivers State and in the Federal Capital Territory where he continued to violate the Constitution by exhibiting “intolerant and unlawful” behaviour.
The lawyer also noted that the Inspector-General of Police’s distancing of himself from Mr. Mbu’s latest utterance by reiterating that the mandate of the police is to “save and protect lives and not to kill” is a testament of his over-reaching of his powers.