Court orders immediate reinstatement of Col. Suleiman four years after unlawful dismissal

The National Industrial Court, sitting in Abuja on Wednesday, ordered the Nigerian Army to reinstate Colonel Muhammed Suleiman, as an officer of the Nigerian Army.

Justice Kado made the order shortly after he held that the disengagement of Colonel Suleiman by the Nigerian Army vied a letter of compulsory retirement in 2016, was ultra vires, illegal, unlawful, null and void.

Suleiman, who is among 38 officers of the Nigerian Army allegedly dismissed from service in 2016, had approached the court to challenge his unlawful dismissal from service on grounds that the Army authorities did not follow laid down procedure before relieving him of his job.

Delivering judgment in the suit numbered, NICN/ABJ/315/16, the judge held that it was not at the behest of the Army to hire and fire, adding that once employment enjoys statutory flavour, appropriate steps in line with the law governing that employment must be taken to bring such relationship to an end.

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Justice Kado said that having not followed its own rules and guidelines of employment, the action of the Army in retiring the claimant is unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect.

He stated that although the Army had cited serious disciplinary offences as grounds for the compulsorily retiring the claimant, it failed to prove any of such offences said to have been committed by the claimant.

In addition, the court added that claim of overstay in the office which the defendant described as a serious disciplinary offence was not stated in the letter disengaging the claimant from office and subsequently ordered the reinstatement of Colonel Suleiman to his rank in the Nigerian Army before he was disengaged on June 9, 2016.

The judge also ordered the payment of all his entitlements from the day he was compulsorily retired till date.

Before Suleiman’s judgment, the Industrial Court had previously ordered the Army to reinstate four other affected officers, namely, Major General Nwokoro Ijeoma, Danladi Hassan, a Colonel Danladi Hassan, Lieutenant colonels Abdulfatai Mohammed and Thomas Arigbe.

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