The Federal High Court, Abuja has sentenced the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, to three months in prison for disobeying a court order.
The order was followed by a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/637/2009 filed by a former police officer, Patrick Okoli who claimed he was unlawfully and compulsorily retired from the Nigeria Police Force in June 1992.
A Bauchi high court on Saturday, February 19, 1994, delivered judgment in favour of Okoli and quashed the letter of compulsory retirement and ordered that the applicant be reinstated with all rights and privileges.
The Police Service Commission (PSC) in a letter dated Wednesday, 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 is requesting the court seeking an order of mandamus to compel the enforcement of the order of the Bauchi state high court and the directives of the PSC.
The Abuja federal high court delivered its judgment in favour of the applicant on Friday, October 21, 2011. Meanwhile, the office of the IGP appealed the federal high court judgment but the appeal was dismissed.
Justice M. O. Olajuwon on Tuesday ruled that the IGP has disobeyed a court order made on October 21, 2011, and should therefore be detained in custody for a period of three months, or until Baba obeys the order.
The judge said; “It is unfortunate that the chief enforcer of the law is one who has deliberately refused to comply with the same law. It is important to state that obedience to orders of the court is fundamental to the good order, peace and stability of a nation,”
“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 court also states that if the IGP refuses to comply with the orders of the court at the end of the three months, he shall be committed for another period until he purges his contempt.