Retired police officers who are angry with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, have sought the National Industrial Court (NIC) to send him to prison for disobeying the court’s ruling ordering their reinstatement.
In case No. NICN/ABJ/281/2021, filed by Messrs. Egong Egwu Egong, Omeh Felix Okechukwu, Paul Obot Umoh, and Galadima Bello, the Industrial Court, presided over by Justice Oyebiola Oyewumi, requested the IGP, the Police Service Commission (PSC), and the Force Secretary of the Police to reinstate the officers who had been forcibly retired from their positions.
They had requested an order from the National Industrial Court to overturn their retirement from the Nigeria Police Force and the Police Service Commission PSC through their attorney, Mr. Godwin Okoro.
As a result, the court barred the IGP, the PSC, and the Force Secretary of the Nigerian Police from forcibly retiring the officers.
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.
Okoro, asked the IGP, the Police Service Commission (PSC) and Force Secretary to show cause 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 in service or attained 60 years of age.
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 to the order reinstating officers of courses 33, 34 and 35 who graduated from police academy between 1996 and 2000.
In a copy of the letter addressed to Usman Alkali Baba, signed by the court registrar, Mrs Rufai Zainab Ahmed, and dated January 23, 2023, warned IGP and other defendants against disobeying court judgment or face the consequences which are imprisonment.
The notice read “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.”
In contrast, the aggrieved police officers claimed in a statement issued yesterday that they were forcibly let go from the force despite a court order prohibiting it from doing so and directing the Nigerian Police Force and the Police Service Commission not to do so while some of them had not yet reached 60 years of age and others had only served 35 years.
The IGP has not yet complied with the order to reinstate them into the force, according to a statement made by one of the disgruntled officers, Mr. Emmanuel Idris, on behalf of other concerned officers.
According to Idris, the defendants have not yet put the court’s April 2022 ruling—which was handed out by Justice Oyewumi Oyebiola of the NICN—into effect.
The statement read, ” We are members and graduates of Course 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 some were retired when they were yet to spend 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.”
He claimed that, incidentally, the police authority had openly refused to follow other rulings of the same court concerning other police personnel despite the fact that the authority had put those earlier judgements into effect.