The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) says Usman Baba, the inspector-general of police (IGP), was “not aware” of a previous court order on the reinstatement of a former police officer.
Earlier on Tuesday, a federal high court in Abuja sentenced Baba to three months in prison for disobeying a court order directing the reinstatement of Patrick Okoli, a former officer who claimed he was unlawfully and compulsorily retired from the NPF.
Mobolaji Olajuwon, the presiding judge, ruled that the IGP be committed to prison and detained for three months, or until he obeys the order.
According to the affidavits in support of the suit, the applicant (Okoli) retired in June 1992.
After challenging his “forceful retirement”, a Bauchi high court, on February 19, 1994, delivered judgment in favour of the applicant.
The high court also ordered that the applicant be reinstated with all rights and privileges.
The Police Service Commission (PSC), in a letter dated October 13, 2004, directed the then-IGP to reinstate the applicant and issue a recommendation for promotion in accordance with the decision of the court.
Consequently, Okoli instituted a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/637/2009 at the Abuja federal high court seeking an order of mandamus to compel the enforcement of the order of the Bauchi state high court and the directive of the PSC.
The Abuja federal high court delivered judgment in favour of the applicant on October 21, 2011.
The office of the IGP, however, appealed the federal high court judgment but the appeal was dismissed.
Reacting to the sentencing of the IGP in a statement on Tuesday, Muyiwa Adejobi, force spokesperson, said the news is “strange and astonishing”, since the last judgment on the case was in 2011, and not during the administration of the current IGP.
“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,” Adejobi said.
“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.
“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.”