Why we’ll not obey court order reinstating officer – Army

The Nigerian Army has stated that it will not honour a court order to reinstate a colonel, Danladi Hassan, who was sacked in 2016.

In a letter to the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions dated 7 October, the army also said it will not pay the complainant his legal fees, salaries and allowances as directed by the court.

Mr Hassan, who led troops to recapture Bulabulin and Damboa from Boko Haram in 2014, was compulsorily retired in 2016.

He was retired alongside 37 other officers without strong reasons.

Following his forceful retirement, he approached the National Industrial Court (NIC) which in January 2019 ordered his reabsorption into the army.

The judge, Sanusi Kado, held that the army failed to convince the court of the disciplinary grounds for the forceful retirement.

The decision of the NIC forced the army to appeal the judgement at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal.

The three-member panel of the Court, in a judgment in 2021, dismissed the appeal by the Nigerian Army, former Chief of Army Staff, and others for lacking in merit.

Following the non-compliance with the court order,

We cannot obey that order – Army

In the letter signed by its Director of Legal Services, MU Wambai, on behalf of the chief of army staff, the army said the appellate court failed to factor in the peculiarities of military conditions of service in delivering its judgement.

Mr Wambai, a major general, said the petitioner had already exceeded the age for his rank and cannot be reinstated for that reason.

“In the light of the above, it is the position of the NA that the Appellate Court did not appreciate the peculiarity of the Military Service while passing its Judgment when it ordered for the reinstatement of the Petitioner into the NA.

“This is because the Officer’s Military Services was regulated by provisions of the then Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service Officers 2012, particularly as it relates to Age Ceiling on a particular rank. The Petitioner who was a Colonel until his retirement in June 2016 is no longer promotable as a result of Age Ceiling and as such makes it difficult to reinstate him,” he said.

On the payments of salaries and allowances, the army said he did not work for that period and so cannot be paid.

He, however, said the army has magnanimously granted the petitioner the privilege of retiring with his rank, pension, gratuity, certificate of service and identity card.

“Also, the Petitioner’s request for payment of salaries and allowances over the period he was out of service

and when it is clear to him that he did not work for the period will amount to cheating on the Nigerian Army in particular and the Government of the Federation in general.

“The NA. reiterates that it has done the needful by magnanimously granting the Petitioner the privilege to retain his substantive rank of Colonel, Gratuity, Pension, Certificate of Military Service and Retired
Officer’s Identity Card.

“The Petitioner’s additional request for his reinstatement into the NA and payment of all his salaries and allowances for the period he did not work is difficult because of the peculiarity of Military Service.

“ Under the Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service Officer 2012, particularly Chapter 1 Paragraph 01.04 (0), Military Service of an officer is a period of unbroken Service in the Nigerian Armed Forces

from the date of commissioning to the date of retirement from Service except for Executive Commission/Special Duty/Branch Commission Officers whose Military Service commences from enlistment.

“Also, with the chain of Service being broken, it will not be in the interest of the NA and public security to reinstate him to Military Service.

“Additionally, Military Service is a Service which ensures that discipline is sustained through regimentation. Therefore, bringing the Petitioner back to Service as a Colonel when his juniors are already on the rank of General will affect Military discipline, as he will not be 100% loyal to his superiors who were formally his juniors; thereby same having a negative effect on the Military command and control. In view of the above, it is in the interest of justice that the NA recommends for the Petitioner to write to the Army Council to convert his Compulsory Retirement to Voluntary Retirement,” he said.
Record of disregard for judiciary

The judgement ordering the reinstatement of Mr Hassan is not the only one disregarded by the army.

Many of his 37 colleagues compulsorily retired in 2016 got favourable judgements for their reinstatements but none was obeyed.

Among them are Abdulfatai Mohammed; Auwal Suleiman; Ayigbe Williams, Ojebo Ochanpa (deceased), A Adimoha, T O Oladuntoye, O C Egemole, O U Nwankwo and Bola Labinjo and his wife.

The dismissal and compulsory retirement issues were also deliberated upon by the Federal House of Representatives and the Senate, with a call on the Nigerian Army to reinstate the affected officers.

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