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A federal high court in Abuja has sentenced Usman Baba, the inspector-general of police, to three months in prison for disobeying a court order.

Mobolaji Olajuwon, the presiding judge, issued the ruling on Tuesday, following a suit filed by Patrick Okoli, a former police officer who claims he was unlawfully and compulsorily retired from the Nigerian police force.

According to the affidavits in support of the suit, the applicant (Okoli) was forcefully retired in June 1992.

After challenging his forceful retirement, a Bauchi high court on February 19, 1994, delivered judgment in favour of the applicant and quashed the letter of compulsory retirement.

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 directives of the PSC.

The Abuja federal high court delivered its judgment in favour of the applicant on October 21, 2011.

The office of the IGP appealed the federal high court judgment but the appeal was dismissed.

The applicant took further steps to enforce the order including approaching the federal house of representatives who then wrote to the office of the IGP.

After efforts failed, the applicant approached the law firm of Festus Keyamo, to commence a committal proceeding against the respondent.

Delivering judgment, Olajuwon held that the IGP should be committed to prison and detained for a period of three months, or until he obeys the order.

“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 court is fundamental to the good order, peace and stability of a nation,” the judge held.

“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.

Culled from thecable

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