Contempt: Court vacates order sentencing IGP to 3 months in prison - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Contempt: Court vacates order sentencing IGP to 3 months in prison

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has vacated its ruling that convicted and sentenced the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, to three months in prison for contempt.

Trial Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon had in the ruling she delivered on November 29, held that the IGP should be committed to prison and detained in custody for a period of three months or until he obeyed an order the court made since October 21, 2011.

"If at the end of the three months, the contemnor remains recalcitrant and still refuses to purge his contempt, he shall be committed for another period and until he purges his contempt", the court held.

The IGP's committal followed a suit marked ABJ/CS/637/2013, which was filed by a police officer, Mr. Patrick Okoli, who was unlawfully and compulsorily retired from the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, in 1992. 

Justice Olajuwon noted that though the Police Service Commission, PSC, recommended Okoli's reinstatement into the Police, a decision that was in line with a judgement a High Court in Bauchi State delivered since February 9, 1994, the IGP, refused to comply with the order.

The trial judge further noted that it was owing to willful refusal of the respondent (IGP) to comply with the judgement, despite entreaties, that caused the applicant to file another suit for an order of mandamus to compel him to enforce the directives and orders of the Police Service Commission, PSC, as contained in a letter dated 5/5/2009 (with Ref. No. PSC/CSP/01/295A).

However, at the resumed proceedings in the matter on Wednesday, Justice Olajuwon vacated the committal order on the premise that evidence before her indicated that the IGP has substantially complied with the earlier order the court made for Mr. Okoli to be reinstated.

She held that in view of the development, the court was minded to give a sympathetic consideration to an application the IGP filed to set aside his conviction and sentence.

“In view of the substantial compliance with the order of the court and the assurance of ensuring full compliance, the order commuting the applicant, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, is hereby set aside", Justice Olajuwon held.

The judge had before she ordered the committal of the IGP to prison, noted that the court had in another judgement that was delivered on October 21, 2011, by Justice Donatus Okorowo, ordered the IGP to comply with a directive from the PSC, which okayed Okoli's reinstatement.

The court had also ordered the payment of N10million to the Applicant, being special and general damages for the unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional denial of his rights and privileges as a Senior Officer of the Nigeria Police Force from 1993 till date.

Meanwhile, the IGP, in a counter-affidavit he filed before the court, argued that the PSC was responsible for the promotion and reinstatement of any police officer, adding that remuneration of such officer, is the responsibility of the Federal Government through the CBN and the Accountant General of the Federation. 

He told the court that the service-file of the applicant could not be traced in the Police database, a situation he said prevented him from recommending the Applicant for promotion.

The IGP said he did not disobey the order of court as the Applicant has not attended the Mandatory Management Course which will enable him to be promoted to the management rank.

He argued that the directive from the PSC was for the Applicant to be elevated to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, and thereafter retired, as he has clocked over 60 years and would not be of any use to the modern police and could not attend senior command/management course for him to attain the rank of CP and above.

The IGP stated that the delay, so far, in responding to the Applicant, was due to the busy nature of his work as a result of the insurgency and security situation of the nation.

His argument was dismissed by the court, which maintained that he must comply with the judgement that ordered Okoli's reinstatement.

Source: Vanguard

No comments:

Post a Comment