Law News
Court delivers judgment on Mbu’s sacking Friday

Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos has scheduled Friday, March 27, to deliver judgment in a suit seeking the sacking of an Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, as a police officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

A lawyer, Mr. Tope Alabi, had urged the court to order the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, to immediately sack Mbu over alleged abuse of power.

Alabi’s  legal action against Mbu stemmed from a recent order reportedly given by Mbu to the police officers of the Ogun State Police Command, on February 12, to kill 20 civilians for any policeman killed during the general elections.

Alabi is contending that Mbu, having sworn to uphold the rule of law and abide by the Constitution, acted in contravention of Section 308 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, when he gave such an order to his men and was therefore no longer fit to remain a police officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

According to the lawyer, such an utterance, which was widely reported in the national dalies was “capable of inciting mass killings, violence and anarchy,” in the country.

But Mbu, through his lawyer, Mr. Chukwu Agwu, has urged the court to disregard and dismiss the plaintiff’s call to sack him, saying “the court cannot be used as a playground by a professional litigant who has no stake in the subject matter.”

Describing the plaintiff’s case as baseless and unmeritorious, Agwu said Mbu was quoted out of context, adding that the court could not rely on “a mere newspaper publication,” which had no video evidence, to accede to the prayer to sack Mbu.

Agwu, who said he was physically present with Mbu when he made the alleged statement at Abeokuta in Ogun State on February 12, 2015, said emphatically that Mbu “did not direct any police officer or person(s) to violate the rights of innocent Nigerians in Lagos, Ogun State or any place at all.”

Agwu said, “The 1st defendant or any police officer at all did not order, instruct or direct any police officer to kill 20 to 100 or any other number of innocent Nigerians during the 2015 General Elections or any other period at all.

“The contents of the exhibited Daily Sun Newspaper publication of 13/02/2015 were exaggerated, twisted and the 1st defendant was quoted out of context.”

He therefore urged the judge not to take the newspaper report as the true position of what transpired but to rely on the video evidence, which he filed as exhibit before the court.

But the applicant’s lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), on Wednesday, insisted that the newspaper report, having been certified, was reliable.

He urged the court not to hesitate to order Mbu’s sacking if he found out that he indeed made the statement credited to him.

Falana said, “If your Lordship finds that the 1st respondent made the said statement, the applicant is asking your Lordship to remove the 1st respondent as an officer of the Nigeria Police.

“Your Lordship has the power under Section 46(2) of the Constitution to issue any order that your Lordship may consider as appropriate in the interest of upholding the fundamental rights of Nigerians.”

Apart from Mbu and Abba, the other respondents in the suit are the Police Service Commission and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke (SAN).

The applicant, in his affidavit, said  he recalled that Mbu served in Rivers State and in the Federal Capital Territory “where he continued to violate the Constitution by exhibiting intolerant and unlawful behavior, to the extent that the IGP had to distant himself from him in the latest instance, by restating that the mandate of the police is to save and protect lives and not to kill.”

Alabi argued,“It is in the interest of justice to declare the first respondent unfit to be and to remain a police officer in Nigeria, considering his public conduct all the time and to declare his position and seat vacant and a replacement made without delay.”

Buba reserved judgment till Friday.

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