The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba has been sentenced to three months in prison for disobeying a court order by Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Following a lawsuit brought by Patrick Okoli, a former police officer who says he was forcibly and illegally retired from the Nigerian police service, Olajuwon issued the ruling on Tuesday, November 28, 2022.
The affidavits used to support the lawsuit state that the applicant was forced into retirement in June 1992.
On February 19, 1994, a Bauchi high court issued a ruling in favor of the petitioner and nullified the letter ordering his forced retirement as a result of his legal challenge.
The high court also ordered that the applicant be reinstated with all rights and privileges.
In a letter dated October 13, 2004, the Police Service Commission (PSC) instructed the then-IGP to restore the applicant and make a recommendation for promotion in compliance with the court’s ruling.
In order to compel the implementation of the ruling of the Bauchi state high court and the PSC orders, Okoli filed a lawsuit at the Abuja federal high court with case number FHC/ABJ/CS/637/2009.
On October 21, 2011, the Abuja Federal High Court rendered a decision in the applicant’s favor.
The federal high court decision was challenged by the IGP office, but the appeal was denied.
In order to further enforce the order, the applicant wrote to the IGP’s office after contacting the federal house of representatives.
“It is a duty which every citizen, who believes in peace and stability of the Nigerian state, owes the nation and the court has a duty to commit the individual who has failed to carry out the order of the court for contempt, so as to prevent the authority and administration of law from being brought to disrespect and to protect the dignity of the court.
The terms of the Orders of this Court are clear and unambiguous. This court Is satisfied that the respondent (presently and those before him) has had proper knowledge of the Orders of this Court, there is no denial of such knowledge and the receipt of Forms 48 and 49.
The respondent filed a counter affidavit, was duly represented in court by different counsel, who stated how they had written several legal opinions which were not attended to.
The refusal and failure of the respondent to comply with the orders of this court has been proved in this case. The respondent, in this case, the inspector-general of police, in the person of Usman Alkali Baba, is to be committed to prison and detained in custody for a period of three months or until he has obeyed the order of this court, made on the 21st October, 2011, in all things that are to be performed, whichever period is shorter.
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.”