By Monday Ijeh
Abuja, – The Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr Usman Baba has filed a motion before a Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge the ‘contempt proceedings and committal order’ brought against him. The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, sentenced Baba to three months in prison for disobeying a valid court order.The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice M. O. Olajuwon, held that theI-G should be committed to prison and detained in custody for a period of three months, or until he obeyed an order it made since Oct. 21, 2011.
“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 held.
The I-G’s committal followed a suit that was filed by a police officer, Mr Patrick Okoli, who was unlawfully and compulsorily retired from the Nigerian Police Force.
Justice Olajuwon noted that though the Police Service Commission, PSC, recommended Okoli’s reinstatement into the police, a decision that was affirmed by the court, the I-G refused to comply with the order.
The court had also ordered payment of N10 million to the applicant, being special and general damage 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.According to the FPRO, the I-G filed the motion, to seek for an order to set aside the contempt proceedings and committal order.He said the grounds for the motion was that he had not been appointed into office as (I-G), when the case was instituted.Baba also affirmed that the contempt proceedings were served via substituted means in November, 2018, and January, 2019 respectively, on the then I-G, and not on him as the incumbent.He said official steps were taken before his assumption of office, by his predecessors to comply with the reinstatement order of the plaintiff, Mr Patrick Okoli.“This was evidenced by an official letter addressed to the Police Service Commission, on the approval of the then I-G, as far back as 2015, before the court order of Nov. 29, 2022,‘The then I-G requested the commission to issue a reinstatement letter to the plaintiff, and effect his promotion, in line with the order of the Court in the exercise of its statutory authority.“The grounds for the contempt proceedings ought not to have existed,” he said.The I-G pledged his commitment and steadfastness to continue to defend the rule of law and respect for judicial authorities.He said he would not at anytime, wittingly or unwittingly disobey any order, validly granted by courts of competent jurisdiction. (NAN)