Justice Oyebiola Oyewumi of the Abuja Judicial of the National Industrial Court has ordered the Nigeria Police Force to immediately reinstate one Mary Philip to her position as woman Inspector, with payment of all her salaries and allowances from the 17th September 2018 till date.
The Court held that the procedure adopted by the Nigeria Police Force in dismissing inspector Mary was in breach of the Police regulations and Constitutional right to a fair hearing that the process enumerated in the Police regulation is not for window dressing but to ensure that the procedure for the discipline of any Police Officer is strictly adhered to.
From facts, the claimant’s- Inspector Mary had submitted that she was dismissed from the service upon an allegation of gross misconduct that the proceedings, composition and recommendations/verdict of the 1st and 2nd Orderly Room Trial panels set up by the police against her are devoid of her Constitutional right to fair hearing and the police act statutory provisions, that based on the first room trial, she was convicted and recommended for demotion which she protested and appealed to the Inspector-General of Police but before the expiration of the 7 days as provided by the Police Act, she was tried again for the same offence after which they recommended her dismissal from the service in 2018.
In defence, the Nigeria Police learned counsel Blessing Ezeala Esq submitted that the Mary engaged in gross misconduct which led to her dismissal, argued that the allegation that the 1st Orderly room trial did not follow the proper procedure in conducting the Trial, hence the Orderly Room Trial was reassigned to another Officer and was dismissed for gross misconduct.
Learned counsel argued further that Inspector Mary cannot claim that the tie for reviewing her appeal was not exhausted when she admitted committing the offence and ought to have been dismissed outrightly but was given a privilege for a defence which she utilized to the maximum.
Delivering the judgment after scrutiny of the submissions of both counsel, the presiding Judge, Justice Oyebiola Oyewumi held that the defendants failed to follow the procedure required by law before dismissing the claimant that no provision for a second Orderly room trial in summarily trying a Police Officer of claimant’s status.
“The defendant obviously in their bid to play a hide and seek game before the Court failed or refused to produce the first Orderly room trial Report. Even the Report of the second Orderly room trial conducted whose recommendation was acted upon for dismissing the claimant was not tendered.
“The defendants did not conduct the Orderly room trials in accordance with the regulations guiding their relationship with the claimant that the only authority that could order for a retrial is the Inspector General, that the defendants did not allow the claimant to exhaust her right of appeal under regulation 391, which is 7 days of notification of the punishment before the 2nd defendant reviewed her case and confirmed same.
“In addition to this, it is pertinent to state that the procedure enumerated in the Police regulation is not for window dressing but to ensure that the procedure for the discipline of any Police Officer is strictly adhered to and is to conform to her Constitutional right to fair hearing requirement of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.”