The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has reacted to the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja which sentenced the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba to three months in prison for disobeying a valid court order.
IGP Usman Baba Sentenced To Prison For Contempt
KanyiDaily recalls that Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon held that the IGP should be committed to prison and detained in custody for a period of three months, or until he obeys an order the court made on October 21, 2011.
The judge also insisted that “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’s decision followed a suit filed by Patrick Okoli, a former police officer who claimed that he was unlawfully and compulsorily retired from the police force.
Justice Olajuwon in his ruling on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, said that though the Police Service Commission (PSC) recommended Okoli’s reinstatement, a decision that was affirmed by the court, the IGP refused to comply with the order.
The court also ordered the payment of N10 million 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 police force from 1993 till date.
Police React To Court Judgement Against IGP
But reacting to the court ruling on Tuesday, the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi said the police were never aware of the court order, adding that the IGP would never disregard a court ruling and rule of law.
Adejobi noted that the IGP’s committal is “strange and astonishing”, since the last judgment on the case was in 2011, and not during the administration of the current IGP, Usman Baba.
He said, “The Nigeria Police Force wishes to state emphatically that the office of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, did not disregard Court Order or rule of law as the office is not aware of any Court Order, during the current IGP’s tenure, with respect to a matter making the round in the media that the IGP disobeyed a Court Order for the reinstatement of a dismissed officer of the Force.
“It is instructive to note that the case in point concerns an officer who was dismissed as far back as 1992, a few years after the current IGP joined the Nigeria Police Force, based on available facts gleaned from the reports.
“The most recent judgment on the matter was given in 2011 which should ordinarily not fall under the direct purview of the current administration of the Force. Thus, the news is strange and astonishing.
“The IGP has however directed the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Force Legal Unit to investigate the allegation in a bid to ascertain the position of the court and proffer informed legal advice for the IGP’s prompt and necessary action.
“The Inspector-General of Police reiterates his commitment to upholding the rule of law and synergizing with the judiciary to ensure quick dispensation of justice for an improved criminal justice system.”
This comes a few months after a Federal Capital Territory High Court convicted the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, for contempt of court in relation to his agency’s failure to comply with an earlier order of the court.