By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA– A retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG, Mr. Moses Ambakina Jitoboh, has approached the National Industrial Court in Abuja, alleging that he was forced out of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF.
Jitoboh, in the process he filed before the court, said he was compulsorily retired by the Police Service Commission, PSC, even though he has not clocked the 60 years mandatory retirement age or reached 35 years in service.
He told the court that the PSC compulsorily retired him and three others on the ground that it was upholding the police tradition of retiring senior officers when their junior is promoted over them, to avoid what it termed as “status reversal”.
The claimant maintained that his purported compulsory retirement was done in breach of Rule 020810 of the Public Service Rules as well as Section 18 (8) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.
He is, therefore, praying the court to not only declare his compulsory retirement as wrongful, but to also issue an order, directing the PSC to pay the sum of N500million as general damages for the abrupt termination of his employment, which he said portrayed him as a disloyal officer.
“An order of this Honorable Court (NIC) setting aside the purported compulsory retirement of the claimant as Deputy Inspector-General of Police on the 25th day of August, 2023 by the Defendant.”
As well as, “an order setting aside all the unlawful and embarrassing decisions taken by the defendant (PSC), including the retirement of the claimant and the promotion of another to replace the claimant, same having been done unlawfully and illegally.”
He further prayed the court to compel the defendant to pay him the sum of N50m as the cost of prosecuting the action.
In his statement of claims, DIG Jitoboh maintained that he remains an officer of the NPF until June 10, 2029, when he would have attained 35 years in service.
He argued that he ought to be entitled to his salaries, emoluments and
all other paraphernalia of office due to him, pending his retirement from the force.
Besides, he applied for a declaration of the court that pursuant to Section 4 (3) of the Police Service Commission Act, 2001, the defendant (PSC), has no valid Board to take any decision whatsoever purporting to retire or promote any Police Officer, insisting that tenure of the PSC Board elapsed in July 2023.
The PSC Board, he added, enjoys a joint tenure, adding that there was and no legal basis for Mr. Solomon Arase to remain in office after the tenure of the Board had elapsed as he was appointed to complete the tenure of Mr. Musiliu Smith who resigned as the PSC Chairman in 2022.
More so, the claimant told the court that there were precedents that senior officers remained in office despite the elevation of their junior.
He cited the case of Mr. Ogbonnaya Onovo, whom he said served under two of his juniors without being compulsorily retired until he later became the IG of Police.
The claimant further told the court that Mr. Arase, who ordered his retirement, served under Suleiman Abbawho was his junior, without being compulsorily retired until he eventually rose to the position of IG of Police.
He noted that in 2016 when the PSC purportedly retired AIG Mbu Joseph Mbu on the same ground, the action was nullified by the court for being unlawful, embarrassing and unconstitutional. (Vanguard)