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Contempt of court: Retired police officers ask court to commit IGP to prison



Some retired police officers have asked the National Industrial Court (NICN) to commit the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, to prison for contempt of court.

This is contained in a statement issued by one of the aggrieved officers, Mr Emmanuel Idris, on behalf of other concerned officers and made available to newsmen in Akure on Tuesday.

The police officers, through their counsel, Mr Godwin Okoro, asked the IGP, the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Force Secretary to explain why they should not be committed to prison for their refusal to obey a court order that reinstated the officers who were forcefully retired from service when they have not spent 35 years in service or attained 60 years of age.

Our correspondent reports that the Industrial Court, presided by Justice Oyebiola Oyewumi, had, in suit No. NICN/ABJ/281/2021, filed by Messrs Egong Egwu Egong, Omeh Felix Okechukwu, Paul Obot Umoh and Galadima Bello, asked the IGP and the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the Secretary of the Police Force to reinstate the officers who were forcefully retired from office.

The police officers had, through their counsel, approached the National Industrial Court, seeking an order to nullify their retirement from service by the Nigeria Police Force and the Police Service Commission (PSC).

The court, consequently, restrained the defendants; the IGP, the PSC and the Secretary of the Nigeria Police Force from retiring the officers compulsorily.

However, since April 19, 2022, when the judgment was delivered, the IGP and other defendants were yet to obey the court order reinstating the officers who joined the Nigeria Police Force in 1996, 1999 and 2000.

In form 87 filed by the retired police officers, they asked the IGP and other defendants to appear in person to show cause why an order for their committal should not be made for disobedience of order reinstating officers of courses 33, 34 and 35, who graduated from police academy between 1996 and 2000.

A copy of the letter, addressed to Usman Alkali Baba, and signed by the court registrar, Mrs Rufai Zainab Ahmed, and dated January 23, 2023, warned the IGP and other defendants against disobeying the court judgment or face the consequences – imprisonment.

“Take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in the Certificate of Judgment of Court, dated the 19th day of April 2022, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison,” the letter read.

The statement of the aggrieved police officers said they were forcefully retired from the force in spite of the court judgment ordering the Nigeria Police Force and the Police Service Commission not to retire them when they have not reached the 60 years retirement age or spent 35 years in the force.

Idris, in the statement, said the court delivered its judgment in April, 2022, and the defendants were yet to implement the judgment.

“We are members and graduates of Courses 33, 34 and 35 of the Police Academy. We were forcefully retired from the force when we were yet to attain the age of 60 years and neither have we spent 35 years in the police force.

“We approached the National Industrial Court, Abuja, to challenge the action of the force against us and the court, presided over by Hon. Justice Oyewumi Oyebiola, gave an order that we should be reinstated but to our surprise, the police authority has not obeyed the court judgment up till today.

“It could be noted that the police took the action against us because of the issue on our date of first appointment and the issue has been cleared by the court and there was no appeal on the court judgment.

“Incidentally, the police authority had implemented the earlier judgments of the same court involving other police officers, but for inexplicable reasons, the authority refused bluntly to obey the judgment in our own case,” the statement read.

Adediran Mufutau

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