The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Honourable Justice Bolaji Olajuwon has today, Wednesday 14th December 2022, set aside the contempt proceedings and committal order against the Office of the Inspector-General of Police.
The Court similarly discharged and acquitted the IGP of the conviction and 3 months sentence. This is following the motion filed before the Federal High Court on Thursday 1st December, 2022, highlighting the basis why the order should be vacated, particularly as the Force had complied with the original ruling of the court for the reinstatement of one Patrick C. Okoli, the plaintiff in the matter.
The judge had, in the November 29 ruling convicted the IGP and sentenced him to a three-month jail term for failing to obey the October 21, 2011 judgment of the Federal High Court reinstating Okoli.
Okoli was compulsorily retired in 1992 while serving in the Bauchi State Command as a Chief Superintendent of Police by the Police Council (now Police Service Commission), which claimed to have acted under Decree 17 of 1984, a decision the court voided in October 2011 judgment.
Inspectors-General of Police had complied with the order in line with the statutory authority of the Office of the IGP. This is in view of several letters and reminders earlier sent to the Police Service Commission, the body statutorily responsible for effecting such reinstatements, requesting compliance with the court order to reinstate and promote the Officer to his deserved rank.
The learned Honourable Justice in his ruling held that the IGP has substantially complied with the judgment of the court earlier delivered in 2011 since 2015, and is therefore entitled to acquittal, and accordingly acquitted him of any wrongdoing.
The IGP has, therefore, commended the Court for setting aside the order, while reiterating the unwavering commitment of the Nigeria Police Force under his watch to uphold and respect the rule of law, and ensure the continuous protection of the fundamental rights of all persons.