The National Industrial Court in Abuja has ordered the reinstatement of Colonel Danladi Ribah Hassan, one of the 38 officers compulsorily retired in 2016 by the Nigerian Army.
The Army had in June 2016 announced the compulsory retirement of 38 officers on different ranks on the grounds of alleged professional misconduct during the 2015 general elections, as well as involvement in the $2.1 billion arms procurement scandal.
The purge affected nine Major Generals, ten Brigadier-Generals, seven Colonels, eleven Lieutenant Colonels and one Major.
Several of the affected officers had subsequently instituted suits individually against the Nigerian Army; the Attorney General of the Federation; the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd); the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai and Maj. Gen. Mohammed Garba.
Delivering judgement in a suit filed by Hassan, the trial judge, Justice Sanusi Kado, held that with the failure of defendants to convince the court of the disciplinary ground for compulsorily retiring the claimant, the said letter of compulsory retirement was null and void and of no effect.
“The claimant is hereby reinstated back to his post in the Nigeria Army with all his rights and privileges.
“The claimant is equally entitled to all his salaries and emoluments from the date of his compulsory retirement, i.e. 9/6/16 to date and subsequently, until he is appropriately discharged from service,” Justice Kado held.
Daily Trust reports that aside Col. Hassan, other affected officers including, Col. Mohammed Auwal Suleiman and Lt. Col. Abdulfatai Mohammed, all have their cases at different stages before the industrial court.
For Col. Suleiman, Justice Kado had adjourned the case to February 25 following the absence of the Army witness at proceedings on two occasions while the case of Lt. Col. Mohammed, before Justice R.B. Haastrup, has been adjourned to January 25 for continuation of hearing.
The officers all claimed separately that the Army violated its own rules and laws with the compulsory retirement, noting that while the reason(s) for the said retirement was said to be based on “disciplinary grounds i.e. serious offences”, by not following the procedures as laid down in the Armed Forces Act (AFA), the said retirement offended the statutory provisions of the act.