Law is Above The Inspector General of Police, He must face the Wrath of Law for His Failure to Obey A Court Order
On 28 day of November, 2022 the federal high court sitting in Abuja sentenced the Inspector General of Police to three (3) months imprisonment or until he obeyed the court order.
This is a disgrace and insult to the Nigerian Police as a law enforcement agency to disobey a court order. There is no justification for IGP’s action, he must face the consequence of his action. As far as the Nigerian legal system is concern, refusing to comply with an order of the court is a contempt.
Nigeria is a country that champions federalism. Literally, federalism means a system of government that adopted in a country, it is the aspects of federalism that each of the three (3) levels of government shall be independent and there should be a judicial body that will settle the dispute between the three tiers of government.
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The judiciary is an arm of government that charge with the responsibility of interpreting the law, adjudicating the matter and punish the offender who has found been guilty in respect of criminal case that brought before the court. Under the administration of justice in Nigeria, there is a court system, a court is an incorporeal political being, which requires for its existence, the presence of a judge, or a competent number of them, and a clerk or prothonotary, at the time during which,and at the place where it is by law authorized to be held; and the performance of some public act, indicative of a design to perform the functions of a court.
However, it is a duty of a court to issue an order in respect of a matter when it is necessary. Let us go through and discuss the meaning of a court order.
Generally, a court order is an official declaration or declarations made by a recognized court of law and signed by a judge. It may be issued by a single judge or multiple judges that are a part of a panel of judges. The court order may be a ruling or a direction of the court to one or both of the parties and may be made pursuant to a hearing a trial, an appeal or another court decision. A court order authorizes(and may require) that certain instruction be carried out by one or more of the parties to a lawsuit or case.
In the legal system of this country, a court order triumphs and persists over every order. The court has, in the case of Ogunleye Vs Aina (2012)28 WRN 41, stated that “A court order comes to effect, from the date of issue or pronouncement, and must be respected and obeyed “from the above decision of the court,you may comprehend that,once a court pronounces an order, it is binding upon every person or authority, no law that grants power to any person or authority to disesteem the order of a court, the decision of the court shall be enforced in any part of the federation by all authorities and persons, it is clearly stated in the provision of section 287(3) of the 1999 constitution of FRN as amended 2011“.
The decision of the Federal High Court, High Court and other courts established by this constitution shall be enforced in any part of the federation by all authorities and persons,and by other courts of law with subordinates jurisdiction to that of the Federal High Court and those other courts,respectively”also the court has,in Jallo Vs Military Governor of Kano State (1991)5 N.W.L.R pt 194 at 764” so it is clear intention of the constitution in section 287(3) that the Attorney general ensure that judgement of court of the land given against the government and its department are enforce” it is obvious that failure to comply with court order or decision of court is considered to be contempt of a court.
Contempt of Court means,deliberately disobeying of a court order, the conduct can occur in or out of court, contempt of court may be punishable by fine or imprisonment. In Awobokun Vs Adeyemi(1968)2 NWLR 286 at 206 “contempt of court occurs when a person to whom an order of the court of competent jurisdiction is directed to do or to refrain from doing an act defies the order or seeks one subterfuge or the other to refuse to comply with the order” the court has discretionary power to refuse to entertain a matter when one of the parties refused to comply with the court orders.
In A.G Federation Vs Courtney LTD (2014) AELR 3966, presided over by Justice Amiru Sunusi, the Court of appeal Abuja division held that”failure by a litigant to obey an order given by a court having jurisdiction, amounts to contempt of court and court therefore has inherent jurisdiction to refuse to entertain any application by the contemnor until and unless such contemnor obeys or complies with the order given or made by the court against him”, clearly, an order of a court is beyond every order.
According to the provision of section 287(3) of the 1999 constitution as amended, the Inspector General of Police is not in anyway above the law, his failure to obey a court order shows that he has no respect for the Judiciary.
I.A Mohammed, COL
LL.B IV, Bayero University, Kano