The National Industrial Court (NIC), will commence contempt proceedings against the Inspector Generalof Police, IGP, Usman Baba, over his refusal to reinstate a dismissed police officer, Osondu Christian, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), as ordered by the court.
GWG.NG reports that the contempt trial of the IGP is coming just days after another court on Tuesday, November 29 sent him to jail over contempt in another case.
In the present case, counsel to the dismissed police officer, Chikaosolu Ojukwu, equally disclosed his intention to drag the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Legal Department before the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee [LPDC] for not giving the IGP right legal opinion.
According to Ojukwu “the judgment was sequel to non-compliance to the decision of the Police Service Commission (PSC) in letter dated 22/07/2020 with Ref No. PSC/1524/IV/5 which directed IGP to reinstate the dismissed officer.
“We have decided to file form 48 which is consequences to the disobedience to court and will follow it up with form for the committal to prison of the IGP if he remains adamant, we have also written the Commissioner of Police Legal 72 hours within which to furnish us with his legal opinion to the IGP on this matter and after the 72 hours and he hails to respond to our request we would have no other option than to drag him the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee [LPDC].
Why IGP is Facing Contempt Trial At NIC
Specifically the National Industrial Court, Abuja Division, had ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to reinstate Osondu Christian, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who was dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force to his rank and pay him all his entitlements with effect from March 2019.
Chikaosolu, stated the judgment was sequel to non-compliance to the decision of the Police Service Commission (PSC) in a letter dated 22/07/2020 with Ref No. PSC/1524/IV/5 which directed IGP to reinstate the dismissed officer.
In the judgment delivered by Honourable Justice O. O Oyewumi in suit No: FHC/NICN/ABJ/153/2022; between Osondu Christian Vs The Inspector General of Police & 2 Ors, the court held that;
“That the decision of the Police Service Commission (PSC) as contained in its letter dated 22/07/2020 with Ref No.: PSC/1524/IV/5 reinstating the 1st respondent to his rank and entitlements in the Nigeria Police Force with effect from 26/03/2019 is valid, subsisting and binding on the Inspector General of Police.
“That the Court has the power to make an order mandating the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to direct the Inspector General of Police to comply with the decision of the PSC, pursuant to the provisions of Section 215(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“His Lordship thereafter directed the Inspector General of Police to reinstate the respondent forthwith and to pay damages in the sum of N 10,000,000.00 for his display of executive recklessness and willful disobedience to a statutory duty.”
However, Osondu through his lawyer had also written to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Inspector-General of Police to comply with the judgment as ordered by the court.
The letter to the president with Ref. No. OC/VOL/300/2022, dated November 10, 2022 is titled: “RE: The Implementation Of The Re-instatement Of Dsp Osunde Christian, AP/NO.86053 To The Nigeria Police Force”.
The letter reads: “We continue to represent Osondu Christian (hereinafter “our client” or “the Judgment Creditor”) and we have his instructions to write you in the terms set hereunder.
“Your Excellency is invited to recall our letter dated 25/03/2022 with Ref. No. OC/VOL/090/2022 (enclosed), wherein we communicated the refusal of the Inspector General of Police to comply with a decision of the Police Service Commission (PSC) as contained in a letter dated 22/07/2020 with Ref No. PSC/1524/IV/5 reinstating our client to his rightful rank and entitlements within the Nigeria Police Force.
“In the said correspondence, we prayed Your Excellency to direct the Inspector General of Police to implement the decision of the PSC forthwith.
“As a result of the refusal of the Inspector General of Police to comply with the aforesaid decision of the PSC, despite various appeals, we subsequently commenced an action at the National Industrial Court in Suit No: FHC/NICN/ABJ/153/2022; Osondu Christian Vs The Inspector General Of Police & 2 Ors and on 24/10/2022 the Court sitting in the Abuja Judicial Division delivered its judgment and upheld the decisions of the PSC.
“In the light of all the above, Your Excellency is respectfully requested to direct the Inspector General of Police to immediately obey the judgment of the Court by reinstating our client to his rightful rank and entitlements in the Nigerian Police.
“This request is in keeping with Your Excellency’s well-known adherence to the rule of law and respect for the judiciary,” the letter that triggered the contempt trial of the IGP before the NIC stated.
The letter was copied to Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).