Why Gen. Olonisakin risks imprisonment over contempt of court



The National Industrial Court, NIC, granted permission for contempt of court charged be filed against the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Gabriel Abayomi Olonisakin over alleged refusal comply with valid court order.

The leave file the contempt charge against the CDS was granted Lt-Col. Abdulfatai Mohammed by Justice Sanusi Kado in Abuja, following refusal reabsorb him back into the Nigerian Army as ordered by the court two years ago.

If convicted, Olonisakin may be committed two years imprisonment.

The industrial court had in a judgment by Justice Edith Agbakoba, ordered Gen. Olonisakin to convey the court order in writing to President Muhammadu Buhari for the review of the unlawful premature retirement of Lt. Col. Mohammed.

Justice Agbakogba, in the order, directed that proof of the transmission of the court order to President Buhari must be provided to the Registrar of the court.

Lt. Col. Mohammed was the 38 senior officers, who were in June 2016 unlawfully retired by Army authority in flagrant disregard to the rules of engagement in the military.

The purported premature retirement of the Army officer was however voided and set aside by the court on the ground that it ran foul of the law because the plaintiff was neither indicted for any offence nor issued with query or faced panel and court marshal before he was kicked of the Army.

Justice Agbakogba held that Lt. Col. Mohammed was denied fair hearing by the Army as required by law and therefore ordered that the CDS present the case of the retired Army Chief to President Buhari for a review.

The court ordered that Lt. Col. Mohammed was a Commending Officer in the East Theatre of Operations at the time he was unlawfully and illegally kicked of the Army.

However, since the appeal for a review of the retirement was presented to Gen. Olonisakin, he was alleged not to have taken any concrete step to transmit the court order to President Buhari.

His lawyer, Mr. Abdul Muhammed, had argued that the “development is particularly unfortunate considering that this officer was a Commanding Officer in the East theatre of operation risking his life for his country but his Commander in Chief and nation failed him by responding to his cry whether for or bad”.

Muhammed noted that the “Harmonised Terms and Cobditions of Service for Officers (THACOS) provided a right of review and the some members of the Army 38 had submitted letters for review through the Chief of Defence Staff but had received no proof that those appeals were indeed transmitted to the President for his mature ”.

To this end, the order,  which was made over two years ago by Agbakoba and the recent order by Kado, have paved the way for the issuance of summons to be served personally on the Chief of Defence Staff in initiation of committal proceedings to compel the with the lawful order of court of competent jurisdiction.

By PRNigeria 

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