Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday dismissed a suit seeking to fire Assistant Inspector General of Police, Joseph Mbu, over his alleged abuse of power.
In his ruling, Mr. Buba said no court in Nigeria could declare the office of a police officer of the rank of AIG vacant, saying that such action was the responsibility of the Nigeria Police.
“If any threat is made against any person, it is the duty of the police to investigate and punish the officer who made it accordingly, even if it is an AIG.
“No court in Nigeria can declare the office of such officer vacant; it is the duty of the police”, he said.
Mr. Buba said that the case of the plaintiff had no merit and was therefore dismissed.
In the substantive suit numbered FHC/L/CS/149/15, the plaintiff, Tope Alabi, a lawyer, sought a declaration that the first defendant, Mr. Mbu, “is unfit to be a police officer in Nigeria”.
Mr. Alabi hinged his prayers before the court on an alleged statement by Mbu, in which he threatened to kill 20 civilians in place of a murdered policeman during the April general elections.
The plaintiff had asked the court to direct relevant police authorities to declare Mr. Mbu’s office vacant and replace him, without further delay.
The second to fourth defendants were the then Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, the Police Service Commission and the then Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke.
Mr. Alabi had said that Mr. Mbu, as a senior police officer, swore to uphold the rule of law and abide by the constitution, but instead, behaved as if he was above the law.
The Counsel to the Applicant, Femi Falana, had in his originating summons, urged the court to grant the prayers sought by his client.
But Mr. Mbu, who is in charge of Zone 2, comprising Lagos and Ogun States, in his counter-affidavit, denied ordering the police to kill civilians in place of any policeman killed during the elections.
The counter-affidavit was deposed to on Mr. Mbu’s behalf by a policeman, Olugbemiga Adeoye.
Mr. Mbu denied ever making the alleged statement, and added that he only ordered that any policeman shot by any person could shoot back in self-defence.
Mr. Mbu averred that the newspaper publication containing the said allegation was “completely false, exaggerated, twisted and totally quoted out of context”.
Mr. Adeoye said he was at the briefing where Mbu made the alleged statement.
Mr. Adeoye noted that to the contrary, “the true position is that during the official tour and briefing of police officers at Lagos and Ogun State Commands, Mbu directed every police officer to be law-abiding.
“Mbu urged us to work hard and wake up to our constitutional/statutory duties, and that we must respect every citizen’s rights in the course of the performance of our duties.
“He advised us that any policeman shot by any person could shoot back in self-defence”.
The Legal Officer-in-Charge of Zone 2 Police Command, Chukwu Agu, urged the court to dismiss the suit with substantial cost.
Mr. Agu, further urged the court, not to rely on newspaper publications tendered as exhibit because they contained unverifiable and uncertified facts. (NAN)