Army Council Chairman, Secretary Face Contempt Charges For Breaching Court Order

The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has granted leave for the commencement of contempt proceedings against the chairman and secretary of the Nigerian Army Council, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi and Nuraitu Batagarawa.

The application was filed in February by Lt. Col. Abdulfatai Mohammed (Rtd), who was unjustly retired from the army in 2016 alongside 37 other top officers. 

The court had early found that his 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 marshall.

In January, the court directed the Nigerian Army Council to reinstate Lt. Col. Mohammed to his original position within the force but the council has yet to comply despite having been served this order.

Reading the judgment on Tuesday, Hon. Justice R.B. Haastrup granted leave to the applicant “to commence a contempt proceeding against the chairman and secretary of the Nigerian Army Council”. He had relied on provisions of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act of 2004 and the Judgment (Enforcement) Rules.

The court refused the applicant’s other requests, including that committal proceedings against the council chairman and secretary be formalised and that the two should be summoned to explain why they “should not be committed to prison for the act of disobedience to the order of the court”.

The National Industrial Court had, in May, delivered a similar judgment against the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Gabriel Abayomi Olonisakin, who refused to transmit the applicant’s appeal for administrative redress to the president as required by law.

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