Court orders IGP to reinstate compulsorily retired ACP

Court orders IGP to reinstate compulsorily retired ACP

Thursday, June 19, 2014 3:20 pm

Jos – The National Industrial Court in Jos on Thursday ordered the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to immediately reinstate ACP George Ozioko, who was compulsorily retired from service in 2009.

Ozioko had sued the Nigeria Police Force and the Police Service Commission after he was initially absolved of complicity in a suspect’s case but was later retired.

Mr Justice Rabi Gwanduh said that his retirement was unlawful because Ozioko was earlier tried on the same matter by the Police in 2008 and set free.

The judge said that revisiting the same offence a year after amounted to witch-hunting and declared his retirement unlawful.

Gwanduh held that a person cannot be punished for the same offence twice, according to Section 169 of the Evidence Act.

“The claimant has been reinstated, he ought not to be punished a second time for the same offence, the respondents are in error.

“By the preponderance of the evidence before the court, the claimant has proved his case against the police beyond reasonable doubt.

“The police have no right to punish him on the same issue twice; I declare his compulsory retirement null and void,” she held.

The judge also held that the retrial of the matter by a special committee set up by the IGP did not give Ozioko a fair hearing, before handing him a compulsory retirement in June 2009.

Gwanduh, therefore, ordered the police authorities to pay the claimant his entitlements from January 2007 to December 2007 when he was first compulsory retired on the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police.

According to the judge, the amount is calculated at N88, 293 of his net salaries.

The judge further ordered the police authorities to calculate and pay the balance of his salaries from November 2006 to March 2010.

She said this was the balance due in lieu of his backdated promotion from Chief Superintendent to the rank of ACP, in line with the promotion given to his mates.

Gwanduh also ordered the police to calculate and pay the claimant all his monthly salaries and allowances as an ACP from April 2010 to date.

The judge, however, declined to award the general damages of N5 million sought by the claimant against the police.

She also declined to compel the authorities to promote him to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), in line with the promotion already given to his mates.

Gwanduh, however, frowned at the attitude of the police which only entered a conditional appearance and failed to show up throughout the duration of the case.

She commended the claimant for having enough confidence to take his matter to court for adjudication and said that the judgment was worth the effort.

Counsel to the claimant, Mr Daniel Obla, declared the judgment as a landmark in the administration of justice in the country.

“Considering the number of adjournments we had to take to enable respondents to defend their case, we think the length of time has been justified by the judgment,” Obla said.

Counsel to the police, DCP J. A. Idoko, declined comment on the matter. (NAN)

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