The Muslim Rights Concern has urged the Transition Committee of the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, to declare the sack of former Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, by President Goodluck Jonathan, as having no effect.
MURIC described the sack as curious.
Mr. Abba was sacked on Tuesday afternoon and his replacement, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, assumed duties immediately as announced by Mr. Jonathan’s media aide, Reuben Abati.
“President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has relieved the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba of his appointment and duties with immediate,” Mr. Abati said in a statement. He gave no reasons for the sack.
MURIC, through a statement signed by its Director, Ishaq Akintola, condemned Mr. Jonathan’s action and said it was imperative for Mr. Buhari’s Transition Committee to “declare clearly, unequivocally and unambiguously that no unnecessary eleventh hour appointment can be made otherwise such will be declared ultra vires and of no effect whatsoever”.
“Emergency appointments by outgoing administrations, including those of state governors, are made with sinister motives, MURIC said.
“People’s mandate must be jealously guarded. Nigerians voted for change,” it said, while appealing to the incoming administration of APC’s Mr. Buhari to be “on its tip-toes of watchfulness”.
“The question here is should President Jonathan be preparing his handover note or strengthening his position? This singular act appears to have been taken to consolidate incumbency. Nigerians must be on guard. It is not over until it is over. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” it stated.
Also, MURIC contended that the outgoing President owed Nigerians explanations, as the removal of Mr. Abba was done “without any justifiable casus belli”.
The group said it found the development curious for two reasons.
“Firstly, Sulaiman Abba is not due for retirement until March 22, 2019. Sacking such a high profile service chief without any justifiable casus belli raises more questions than answers. Secondly, it is quite unusual for an outgoing regime to embark on this type of exercise like sacking service chiefs and appointing new ones.”
“The implication is that the hands of the incoming administration are being tied and its maneuvers being restrained. The incoming regime is being saddled with unnecessary and avoidable human liabilities,” it added.
MURIC then asked: “Is President Jonathan really getting ready to handover? If so, why is he in a hurry to appoint a new IG for the incoming regime? Why should an IG be sacked shortly after the ruling party lost a general election? Is it that he did not ‘play ball’ during the elections? Did he refuse to obey illegal commands?”
MURIC said these questions are vital because the opposition APC, whose presidential candidate in the March 28 election awaits inauguration on May 29, had accused the government of Mr. Jonathan of relying on security agencies to scuttle democracy.
The organisation therefore tasked Mr. Jonathan to reveal the “offence or offences” committed by Mr. Abba.
“This matter must come to the public court of the Nigerian people who are the end-users and tax-payers,” it said.