To stave off a three-month imprisonment slammed on him by an Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, the Inspector General of Police(IGP), Usman Baba, has taken steps to reinstate a dismissed officer Patrick Okoli, who was compulsorily retired from service in 2011.
The IGP, however, denied disobeying any court order on Mr. Okoli, saying he was not even aware of the said court order directing him to reinstate the dismissed officer.
In a statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Abuja, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the IGP, who assured of his commitment to the rule of law and synergizing with the judiciary to ensure quick dispensation of justice, disclosed that he had directed the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Force Legal Unit to investigate the allegation with a view to ascertaining the position of the court and proffering informed legal advice for prompt and necessary action.
A Federal High Court, Abuja, had on Tuesday (November 29, 2022) committed the IGP to a three-month imprisonment over alleged refusal to obey a sister court judgment reinstating the police officer.
Justice Bolaji Olajuwon, in a ruling on the contempt proceedings filed by Okoli’s lawyer, Arinze Egbo, also warned Baba against non-compliance with the earlier court judgment, noting that if the I-G failed to purge himself of the contempt, he shall be liable to another three months in jail.
But in a swift reaction, the police force headquarters said the IGP did not disregard any court order or rule of law, because he wasn’t even aware such an order existed in the first place.
“The Nigeria Police Force wishes to state emphatically that the office of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc(+),NPM, NEAPS, fdc, CFR, 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,” Adejobi’s statement read in part.
“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. 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”.