Sacked Army General asks court to order his reinstatement

MAJOR-General Ijioma Nwokoro, who claimed he was unlawfully retired from the Nigerian Army, on Thursday, asked the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja to reinstate him as a serving Major-General in the Nigerian Army, pending the determination of a suit challenging his compulsory retirement on June 9, 2.016.

Counsel for  the claimant, Benson Igbanoi, who held the brief for Chief Mike Ozekhome, on Thurday,  told the court to restore his client to his position as at June 9, in the interim.

Arguing a motion ex parte for an interim injunction following the absence of defendants: Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff and the Minister of Defence, who appeared to have ignored the court summons, the counsel urged the court to order parties to “maintain status quo ante bellum.”

According to the counsel, the order was necessary to stop the Nigerian Army requirement that the claimant must complete all necessary forms for his retirement entitlements within 90 days or forfeit same.

Stating that the time has started to run since June 9 vide the compulsory letter of retirement, the counsel prayed the court to put it on hold until the suit was determined.

Igbanoi said the defendants in the said letter of compulsory retirement had listed “serious offence, corruption, electoral malpractices as their reasons,” for retiring Major-General Nwokoro, but they did not give him any hearing at all, not to talk about fair hearing.  He was just informed by his junior through a text message.”

The trial judge, Justice E.O. Esowe, reserved ruling till July 26, after she observed that hearing notice on the motion was issued by the court on July 18.

“Today, the defendants are not represented and there are evidence in court that they have been served,” she stated and ordered that a fresh hearing notice be served on them to appear on July 26.

In the substantive suit, Major-General Ijioma Nwokoro is challenging his compulsory retirement from service without an offence committed by him.

He has also asked the court to award him N1billion general damages for an unlawful and illegal retirement as he has not committed any offence.

General Nwokoro, one of the 38 senior army officers compulsorily retired last month, claimed the action taken by the Nigerian Army had caused him and his family embarrassment and ridicule, as the reasons for the retirement had linked him to offence he did not commit neither was he interrogated by the probe committee on arms purchase.