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2 months after court judgment, dismissed NDA cadets still await reinstatement

Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim Daura, a respected figure in Katsina State, had eagerly anticipated the day his son would graduate from the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA)…

Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim Daura, a respected figure in Katsina State, had eagerly anticipated the day his son would graduate from the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) and serve the country. 

Despite the apprehension many parents feel about their sons joining the military, Daura overcame his fears and allowed his son to pursue his passion for serving his fatherland.  

His son, whose name is withheld, was fortunate to be admitted into the 67 Regular Course of the NDA alongside other enthusiastic young men ready to serve their nation upon graduation. 

This young man endured rigorous training and completed his studies in 2019. The entire family was overjoyed, especially Daura, as his dream of seeing his son in the Nigerian military had come true.  

However, his happiness was short-lived when he along other parents received the devastating news that their children had been dismissed from the army.

Their alleged offence was organising a night party after their passing-out parade, which was witnessed by the then vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, on October 5, 2019.   

Daura described the dismissals as unlawful and questioned how a cadet could be convoked by the Vice President of Nigeria, allowed to participate in the passing-out parade, and then dismissed for throwing a party to express gratitude to Allah for graduating from the NDA.   

One of the parents, Mrs Salisu, expressed her deep sadness regarding the situation involving her last son, who was among the affected cadets. 

She said she had however, entrusted everything to God and patiently waiting for Him to favour them. She said, “But it has not been easy because it has caused us a lot of mental torture as parents. However, we are grateful that we are still alive and hopeful that justice will be appropriately served.” 

She said her son had a strong passion for the military, and she eagerly anticipated his return to the army. Mrs Salisu prayed to God to touch the hearts of the leaders to grant them their rightful dues, considering that the judgment was in their favour.   

Similarly, Alhaji Zakariya Zaria, another father whose child was affected, shared his experience.  

Among his 16 children, his son, who was the second born in the family, was the only one to enrol in the academy and completed the course, only to be dismissed. 

Like the other parents, he said he was overwhelmed with shock upon receiving the news, revealing that he almost suffered a heart attack.  

He said he conveyed his concerns to his Creator and remained optimistic that his son and the others would be reinstated into the army, thereby fulfilling their dreams of serving the nation. 

“I almost had a heartbreak when I heard the news about the alleged dismissal because we were looking forward to seeing him take care of us while serving the nation,” he said.  

He appealed to the authorities concerned to assist the young men by allowing them to return to the army. 

He said his son since the incident had been staying at home waiting to be called back to the army.  

He hopes and prays that his son and the others receive the justice they deserve.  

Daura, along with other parents of the affected cadets, embarked on a battle for their reinstatement, to ensure justice for their children because, according to them, their children were innocent. They instituted a suit at a High Court in Kaduna seeking for the reversal of the dismissal of their children by the authorities at the NDA.  

The parents further petitioned against the action of the army to the National Assembly, which, after investigating the matter, directed the military authorities to reinstate the affected cadets into the army.  

Also on May 18, 2023, a Federal High Court in Kaduna ruled in favour of the dismissed cadets, ordering the NDA to reverse the dismissal. 

The court declared the withdrawal of the cadets from the NDA after their graduation and participation in the passing-out parade as unconstitutional and unlawful.  

It also stated that upon reinstatement, the NDA should award them their degree certificates, acknowledging their completion of studies and participation in the academic convocation and Passing-Out Parade held on October 5, 2019. 

It also ordered the army to pay them their benefits since their dismissal in 2019.  

However, despite the directive from the lawmakers and the court judgment, the military authorities have shown reluctance in implementing the court order,  almost two months since the judgment and years after the resolution by the National Assembly. 

Frustrated by the continuous delay, the parents of the cadets, led by Daura, held a press conference recently, appealing to the new administration under President Bola Tinubu to instruct the new service chiefs to respect the court order.  

They pleaded with the president to deliver justice to their children, who they believed had already suffered enough from the injustice inflicted upon them. 

The parents emphasised the need for the military authorities to respect the judgment and resolutions made by the Federal High Court and the National Assembly, respectively.   

They expressed confidence in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commitment to honouring resolutions passed by the National Assembly, hence their appeal to him for intervention.  

The said the resolutions were made two years ago by the National Assembly and the court judgment almost two months ago but neither the then Minister of Defence nor the NDA had taken any action.   

The military must obey court orders – Lawyer     

A Kaduna-based legal practitioner, Barrister El-Zubair Abubakar emphasised that the military should should comply with the court order. He said: “If they are unsatisfied with the judgment, they have the option to appeal within 90 days at an Appeal Court. However, in the meantime, they should comply with the court order,” he said. He particularly highlighted the resolution of the National Assembly which also called for the reinstatement of the cadets to their positions. 

“If the armed forces fail to comply with the court order after the expiration of the appeal period, the parties should approach the Registry of the Federal High Court through their lawyer and file for the execution of the judgment. 

“The court itself would then execute the judgment, but the parties must approach the court for the execution to take place,’’ El-Zubair said. 

He further clarified that executing the judgment entails compelling the armed forces to abide by the court’s decision, adding that as there is no evidence before the court suggesting that the judgment cannot be obeyed. 

He emphasized that the military, like all other institutions, must understand that they are subject to civilian authority in a democracy. 

“The Constitution of Nigeria is the supreme law, and everyone, including the military, must adhere to it. Recognizing this is crucial,’’ he said.

El-Zubair expressed the importance of the court demonstrating the extent of its powers by enforcing its judgments. He compared the judgment of a court to a rolling stone, stating that anyone who opposes it will be crushed. 

Furthermore, he emphasised that the court must be aware of its powers and should strive to exercise them, especially after issuing a judgment. 

The lawyer also highlighted that the military is bound by the constitution, democratic principles, and the civilian president of the country. “They must obey the president’s authority as it is recognised by the constitution, which is the highest power in the country. Therefore, the court can enforce its judgments against anyone who stands against them.”  

When contacted, the NDA spokesman, Major Victor Olukoya, said he will confer with his principal and get back to our correspondent but was yet to do that at the time of filling the report.  


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