The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba Alkali, has reacted to the order of an Abuja Federal High Court which sentenced him to three months in prison for contempt.
The IGP’s committal followed a suit filed by a police officer, Patrick Okoli, who was unlawfully and compulsorily retired from the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
In a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the IGP said he did not disregard the rule of law as the Nigeria Police Force was not aware of the concerned court order.
The statement partly read, “The Nigeria Police Force wishes to state emphatically that the office of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, did not disregard Court Order or the 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.
“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 judgment 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 statement said the IGP had directed the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Force Legal Unit to investigate the allegation to ascertain the court’s position and proffer informed legal advice to the IGP for 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.”
Meanwhile, a lawyer, Festus Ogun, has insisted that the IGP is not above the law and should submit himself to the correctional officers.
“The IGP is not above the law. He must immediately submit himself to the correctional officers. If he fails, refuses or neglects to obey the valid court order, it presupposes that the laws in Nigeria are only applicable to poor and ordinary citizens,” Ogun said
The ICIR reported that the Inspector-General of Police Alkali Baba was sentenced to three months in prison by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The presiding Judge, Justice M. O. Olajuwon, gave the sentence on Tuesday, November 29.
The court found the IGP guilty of disobeying a valid court order following a suit filed by a police officer, Patrick Okoli, who was unlawfully and compulsorily retired from the Nigerian Police Force.
Justice Olajuwon held that the IGP should be imprisoned and detained in custody for three months or until he obeys an order made on October 21, 2011.
The Judge noted that despite a court ordering the reinstatement of Okoli back into the Police Force and the Police Service Commission (PSC) also recommending the same, the IGP refused to comply with the order.
The court had also ordered that N10 million be paid as special and general damages to the applicant.