National Industrial Court (NIC) has granted permission for the filing of contempt of court charge against Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd.) and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence (MOD), Ms. Nuraitu Batagarawa.
This followed their alleged refusal to comply with a valid order of the court.
Magashi and Batagarawa by virtue of their positions are the chairman and secretary of the Nigerian Army Council, respectively.
The duo risk two years imprisonment if found guilty.
The application against them was filed by Lt. Col. Abdulfatai Mohammed (rtd), who was forcefully retired from the Army in 2016 alongside 37 other senior officers.
Mohammed’s court victory was the seventh the officers have secured against either the Nigerian Army, Defence Headquarters or Ministry of Defence. Most have not been complied with.
Delivering judgment against Magashi and Batagarawa, Justice R. B. Haastrup of the NIC permitted Mohammed “to commence a contempt proceeding against the chairman and secretary of the Nigerian Army Council”.
Haastrup relied on provisions of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act of 2004 and the Judgment (Enforcement) Rules.
NIC found that the right to a fair hearing was violated since the Army’s rules require that dismissals be based on indictments, queries, or the rulings of a court martial.
The latest ruling was similar to the one delivered by Justice Edith Agbakoba against the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin.
Olonisakin has allegedly refused to transmit the applicant’s appeal for administrative redress to the president as required by law.
The same judge ordered the reinstatement of Maj. Gen. Ijioma Nwokoro Ijioma (rtd).
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