Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, the nation’s capital city has withdrawn its order instructing the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba to be committed to prison for contempt.
Justice Bolaji Olajuwon, in a ruling on Wednesday, said fresh evidence before the court shows the IGP has partially complied with the initial court order hence no need for the punishment.
The court ordered the IGP to be imprisoned for three months on November 29th over failure to comply with an earlier order directing the reinstatement of Patrick Okoli, who was compulsorily retired as a police officer.
Okoli was compulsorily retired in 1992 while serving in the Bauchi State Command as a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) by the Police Council (now Police Service Commission (PSC), which claimed to have acted under Decree 17 of 1984, a decision the court voided in the October 2011 judgment.
Back in November, Justice Olajuwon noted that though the Police Service Commission (PSC) recommended Okoli’s reinstatement into the Force, a decision that was affirmed by the court, the IGP refused to comply with the order.
The court had also ordered the payment of N10m to the applicant, being special and general damages for the unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional denial of his rights and privileges as a Senior Officer of the Nigeria Police Force from 1993 till date.
IGP Baba in his reaction to the court ruling approached the court to file a motion to set aside the contempt proceeding and committal order. The spokesman for the force, Olumiyiwa Adejobi in a statement released on Thursday, December 1 said the IGP filed the motion before the Federal High Court in Abuja. However, Justice Olajuwon on Wednesday, December 14, submitted that the IGP has substantially complied with the initial court order so the application by the IGP, seeking the vacation of the committal order, “is worthy of sympathetic consideration.”
The judge added that the court has also received assurance of a full compliance so; “In view of the substantial compliance with the order of the court and the assurance of ensuring full compliance, the order commuting the applicant, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, is hereby set aside.”