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Nigerian Police Chief, Usman Baba, Jailed For Contempt Of Court Files Motion To Quash Committal Order

Nigerian Police Chief, Usman Baba, Jailed For Contempt Of Court Files Motion To Quash Committal Order
December 2, 2022

The Nigerian Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has filed a motion to set aside the contempt proceeding and committal order issued by the Federal High Court in Abuja.

SaharaReporters earlier reported that a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday sentenced the Nigerian police chief to three months imprisonment for consistently and arrogantly defying a valid court order.

In a suit filed by Patrick Okoli, a former police officer who said he was unlawfully retired from the police force, the presiding judge, Mobolaji Olajuwon, ruled that the IGP should be committed to prison and held in custody for three months, or until he obeys an order issued by the court since October 21, 2011.

“If at the end of the three months, the contemnor remains recalcitrant and still refuses to purge his contempt, he shall be committed for another period and until he purges his contempt,” the court held.

However, the Public Relations Officer of the force, Olumiyiwa Adejobi, disclosed in a statement that the contemnor IGP had filed a motion before the Federal High Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Thursday.

According to Adejobi, the contemnor has extensively highlighted grounds why the orders should be set aside, noting that he had not been appointed into office as Inspector-General of Police when the case was instituted and the reinstatement order in question granted.

The IGP also affirmed that the contempt proceedings were served via substituted means in November 2018 and January 2019 respectively, on the then Inspector-General of Police, and not on him as the incumbent.

Adejobi in the statement said, “The IGP in his disposition further noted that even before his assumption of office, official steps had been taken by his predecessors toward complying with the reinstatement of Patrick C. Okoli, the plaintiff, as ordered by the Court.

"As noted by him, this was evidenced by an official letter addressed to the Police Service Commission on the approval of the then Inspector General of Police, as far back as 2015, and before the court order of November 29th, 2022, requesting the Commission to issue a reinstatement letter to the plaintiff and also effect his promotion in line with the order of the Court and in the exercise of their statutory authority in that regard.

"Hence, the grounds for the contempt proceedings ought not to have existed, ab initio.

"The IGP reassures Nigerians of his unalloyed commitment and steadfastness in defending the rule of law and respecting judicial authorities and hence, will not wittingly or unwittingly disobey any order validly granted by courts of competent jurisdiction.”