A Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna has ordered the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) to reinstate nine cadets of 67 Regular Course ‘unlawfully’ dismissed by the academy authorities after their Presidential commissioning on 5th October, 2019.
The court also ordered the NDA to pay their accrued entitlement for the years under review.
Parents of the cadets led by Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim Daura, the Maradin Daura in Katsina State, had dragged the Chief of Army Staff, the Minister of Defence, the Secretary to the State Government, Major General I M Yusuf, NDA, the Chief of Defence Staff and three others to court after their wards were dismissed for allegedly holding a night party after their Passing out Parade officiated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Delivering the 50-page judgement, the Presiding Judge, Justice Muhammad Umar, said the action taken by the academy to withdraw the cadets after their graduation was unconstitutional, unlawful and amounts to conviction to trial.
According to the judge, “The plaintiffs are entitled to be heard before any disciplinary action can be taken against them and there is no place in the proceedings of the defendants that the plaintiffs were granted fear hearing by the NDA before their dismissal. This is unconstitutional.
“The action of the defendants to withdraw the plaintiffs after their graduation is unconstitutional, unlawful and amounts to conviction of trial. The plaintiff should immediately be reinstated and their degrees and entitlements should be awarded and paid having participated in the PoP.
Speaking to the journalists after the judgment, counsel to the plaintiffs and Yunus Ustaz Usman SAN said it is binding on the authorities concerned to obey the judgement of the court.
“We thank Almighty that we have judges who are in for justice at all times and that is a great hope for Nigeria because this cadets spent five years in the academy, there was no query, they graduated, they participated in the PoP, some had first class degrees and after their PoP when they came to collect their certificates then you say you have withdrawn them; it is most unfortunate.”
The defence counsel, Al-Amin Abubakar said, “My clients will decide on the next step to take. We will relate the judgment to them, they will review it and decide on what to do next. There are many options available to them, so I believe they will look at the law and take it up within the confines of the law.”
Alhaji Ibrahim Daura, who could not hide his joy, queried why the service chiefs and the Minister of Defence did not investigate the issue he petitioned them.
He stated that NDA and Nigerian Army failed to produce authentic evidence against the cadets.
“How can a cadet that won the Commandant’s award and presented to him by the Minister of Defence at the PoP be withdrawn on the guise of having a disciplinary issue when we know that if a student has a disciplinary issue, that student cannot graduate, why then did they allow them to graduate?”
He, however, commended the judgment of the court and prayed that the NDA authorities act on it.