‘Ribadu’s Dismissal Is Illegal’

I have read like other people the purported dismissal of the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu from the Nigeria Police Force by the Police Service Commission. The dismissal is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional in the extreme. It is farcical to say the very least. I intend to show…”
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January 8, 2009 4:36 pm
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I have read like other people the purported dismissal of the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu from the Nigeria Police Force by the Police Service Commission.

The dismissal is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional in the extreme. It is farcical to say the very least. I intend to show why I have taken this position. First, Category M, paragraphs 29 and 30 of Part 1 to the Third Schedule vests disciplinary control of officers of Ribadu’s rank exclusively on the Police Service Commission.

The PSC cannot delegate that important duty to any other organisation or body. Thus, the recommendations of the Committee set up by the IG and not the PSC is absolutely illegal. It offends the maxim Delegatus non-protest delegare. I have no doubt that a court of law and of equity would nullify the recommendation of a panel set up by a man who has no power to discipline of officers of Ribadu’s rank.

Second, even if we concede for the purpose of argument that the PSC could reach its decision by looking at
• any report brought to its notice, it is clear beyond any doubt that having received the illegal report the Commission owes Mr Ribadu a duty to invite him to explain his side of the story before deciding to act on the one-sided report of the Committee set up by the IG. This is a constitutional duty guaranteed by section 36 of the Constitution.

By that section all Nigerians have a right to fair hearing in the determination of their civil rights and obligations. For breaching this important democratic right the decision of the Commission is fitting for the dust bin as a court of law and of equity would waste no time in thrashing it. The issue here now is not the refusal of Ribadu to appear before the illegal committee but the fact that he was not given any opportunity to appear before the Police Service Commission. The Commission seems to have confused appearing before the IG committee with appearing before it.

Third, the Commission is aware that all the issues upon which Ribadu was charged from refusing to wear his demoted rank to the transfer to Benin are matters submitted to the jurisdiction of the court. By dismissing him on those issues the Commission has trampled on the rule of law and gone against the decision of the Supreme Court in Ojukwu v Governor of Lagos State that no party can take the law in his hands. Indeed what the Commission has done by sacking Ribadu during the tendency of the case amounts to executive lawlessness in the words of the Supreme Court. That is enough to nullify the nonsensical dismissal.

The most laughable charge is that there is a pristine regulation of the police breached by Ribadu. That regulation according to the police forbids the institution of action against the police by officers. That regulation is illegal and unconstitutional as section 6 of the Constitution clearly stipulates that the judicial powers of the country shall extend to all persons. Indeed any agreement that ousts the jurisdiction of court is void. It is embarrassing that the police authorities can be quoting such an illegal regulation. It is shameful indeed.

The authorities could have exercised patience for the court to rule one way or the other. Now they have helped Ribadu prove his case that he is a victim of some corrupt gangsters out to humiliate him by all means. It is disgraceful that men and women of the Police Service Commission have made themselves willing tools in the hands of the corrupt and deadly cabal. What a shame.

I call on the President to reverse the farcical dismissal of Ribadu. Happily, section 158(1) makes it clear that the Commission is subject to the direction and control of the President in the exercise of its power. If the President is not working with the cabal he should rely on section 158 to reverse the purported dismissal of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu Period.

•By BAMIDELE ATURU – Aturu is a Lagos-based lawyer.

•Culled from THE PUNCH

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