Court jails Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police for contempt

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja,the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) has, sentenced the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to three months in prison or until his office implements an order made by the court since 21 October 2011.

Penpushing reports that, a former police officer Patrick Okoli, who was forcefully retired from the Nigeria Police Force, filed the suit to reverse the action, but the Inspector General of Police was said to have refused to comply with an earlier order of the court

The judge, Justice Olajuwon on Tuesday pointed out that despite the Police Service Commission’s recommendation, reinstating Okoli into the Force, the Inspector General of Police flagrantly declined to obey the order.

“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 judge said.

Penpushing further reports that, the judge in similar vein ordered the police to pay N10 million as damages to Okoli 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.

The Police Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi in reaction said the office of the Inspector General of Police   was not aware of any court order reinstating  Okoli, hence, his boss was not in contempt of the court.

“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’, he stated

Penpushing also reports that Adejobi in a statement explained that Okoli’s case dates back to 1992, after the Inspector General of Police joined the Force.

‘The most recent judgement 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’, Adejobi said.

Penpushing reports that, he said the police boss had 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 Baba’s prompt and necessary action.

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