Illegal Dismissal: Minister, Perm Sec. Face Contempt Proceeding
National Industrial Court(NIC) has granted permission for the filing of contempt of court charge against Bashir Magashi, Nigeria’s Defence Minister and Bursty Batagarawa, permanent secretary of the defence ministry, over the refusal of the Army Council, which both officials are respectively chairman and secretary, to comply with a court judgement to reinstate an illegal dismissed officer.
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.
Ibrahim Etsu, the counsel to the respondents, Magashi and Batagarawa, had submitted that the court should reject Mr Mohammed’s application arguing that both officials were not parties to the original suit, “therefore, the court cannot make an order against them.
Justice Haastrup disagreed. She said that as the respondent, that is the Army Council, is “an artificial person that cannot be physically brought to court and the law cannot operate in a vacuum, ” but the principal officers, Magashi and Batagarawa, can be joined in the contempt proceeding, citing Order 63 Rule 6 of the National Industrial Court (Civil procedure) Rules 2017.
Delivering judgement against Magashi and Batagarawa, Justice R. B Haastrup of the National Industrial Court permitted Mohammed “to commence a contempt proceeding against the chairman and secretary of the Nigeria Army Council.