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Judge issues IG last warning over alleged contempt

The National Industrial Court in Abuja has threatened to jail the Inspector-General of Police, (IGP) Usman Baba, for his persistent disobedience to court orders.

The reaction of the court followed a suit instituted by four senior-ranking police officers from Courses 33, 34, and 35 who were compulsorily and unlawfully retired from police service.

The affected officers are Egong Egong, Omeh Okechukwu, Paul Umoh and Galadima Bello.

Counsel for the claimants, Edwin Okoro, said  the court had nullified the premature retirement of the senior police officers, numbering about 20, and ordered the IG and the Police Service Commission to immediately reinstate them.

Okoro, however, said the respondents had failed to obey the court judgment.

In an enrolled order issued by the court and endorsed by Justice Oyebiola Oyewumi, the court fixed  May 2  for the IG to appear before it and purge himself of contempt of court or be committed to prison.

Justice Oyewumi, in the enrolled order, held that “It is evidently clear that the respondents, the Inspector-General of Police and the Force Secretary have flouted the order of this court made on February 27, 2023 to appear before the court to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of this court for their flagrant disobedience to the decision of the court, even when their legal department had issued legal advice urging the IGP to comply with the decision of the court.

“A situation where the courts are degraded by disobedience to their orders would engender danger to the rule of law, and God forbid that this clime will become like the proverbial Banana Republic.

“It is in view of this that before I proceed to hold them for contempt of this court, I give both the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, and the Force Secretary, Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Inuwa, the second chance of appearing before this court to show cause why this court should not proceed to find them guilty of being in contempt of this court.”