Court orders IG, AIG’s arrest for contempt

A National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the arrest of the Inspector General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali, and the Force Secretary, AIG Hafeez Inuwa, for disobeying the court order, which was regarded as contempt.

The court had earlier ordered the IG to reinstate some police officers, who are graduates of Courses 33, 34 and 35 of the police academy, who were said to have been forcefully retired by the force, but the court order was allegedly not obeyed by the IG.

The aggrieved officers approached the court and sought an order to nullify their compulsory retirement from the service by the IG. The court, presided over by Justice Oyebiola Oyewumi, then ordered that the IG, the Police Service Commission, and the Force Secretary of the Police reinstate the forcefully retired officers.

However, since April 19, 2022, when the judgement was delivered, the IGP and other defendants have yet to obey the court order.

In a recent order given by the court on June 8, 2023, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent on Tuesday, Justice Oyewumi berated the IG for the latter’s refusal to obey the court despite advice from the relevant stakeholders in the police force.

The court order read, “It is on record of this court that the court delivered a judgement in this case on 19/4/2022 and ordered that the judgement creditors/applicants should be reinstated forthwith. It is on record of this court also that the Police Service Commission, the statutory body that is vested with the power to appoint, promote and discipline the judgement creditors/applicants had ordered the Inspector General of Police to comply with the judgement of this court.

“It is equally noteworthy that the CP, Legal, the Head of Department of the Nigerian Police Force had also issued a legal advice urging the Inspector General of Police to comply with the order of this court vide a letter dated and the Inspector General of Police received it on 27/7/2022 yet he has refused to obey or comply with the judgement of this court.

“This is an officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who swore on oath to uphold the rule of law and same law he has now failed or refused to obey. It is also of importance to state that this court has given ample opportunities to him and the Force Secretary to appear before this court and show cause why they are not to be held to be in contempt of this court, the record of the court evinces that they have both been served the enrolment of order of this court severally yet they both deem it fit to flout the order of this court and desecrated this hallowed chamber and temple of justice.

“Justice is not only for the affluent, it is indeed for the poor and vulnerable also. I pause to say that I wonder what type of head of an enforcement agency like the police, the Inspector General of Police is, if he finds it so difficult or so difficult it seems for him to obey a simple order of court. I also wonder the type of example he is laying for his officers if he as the head of the Nigerian Police Force has chosen/ elected to flagrantly take the law into his advised by the Police Service Commission and his own officer, the CP, Legal to comply. This I must say is preposterous and appalling.

“It is in the light of all stated which are in sync with the record of this court that I hold the Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Baba and the Force Secretary, AIG Hafeez Inuwa for being in contempt of this court, they are to be arrested and be produced before this Court for necessary action.”

The court adjourned the case until October 9, 2023.

(Punch)