The Nigerian Police Force saddled with the responsibility of executing laws and ensuring the strict compliance of court orders have become chronic lawbreakers vis-à-vis the outright disobedience of court orders, executive impunity, and disregard for the rule of law.
This is palpable in the wanton disregard of various court orders involving the case of Mr. Patrick C. Okoli who was unlawfully and compulsorily retired from the Nigerian Police Force in 1992 based on decree No. 17 of 1984 of the Nigerian Constitution which had been abolished.
In a bid to upturn the unlawful retirement given to him, Mr. Patrick filed a suit against the Nigerian Police Council (now Police Service Commission) and the Attorney General of the Federation with suit no. BA/48M/93 before the Bauchi State High Court praying the court to revoke the unlawful compulsory retirement letter as well as order the NPF to reinstate him.
Following this, on February 9th, 1994, the Bauchi State High Court pronounced a judgment in favour of Mr. Patrick revoking the letter while ordering the Police Service Commission to immediately reinstate him with all rights, privileges given to him with effect from the date of retirement.
In obedience to the judgment of the court, the Attorney General of Federation, Minister of Justice, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, as well as the Head of Service of the Federation wrote to Nigeria Police Force to immediately reinstate Mr. Patrick. However, to the chagrin of the aforementioned, the NPF blatantly declined to obey the court order as well as adhering to the directives of the AGF and others.
The Police Service Commission in another letter dated 13th October 2004 directed the NPF to reinstate Mr. Patrick and present his recommendation for promotion in line with the decision of the court but the Force failed to comply with the decision of the Bauchi State High Court and the Police Service Commission.
The refusal of former IGP Mustafa Adebayo Balogun to obey the Bauchi State High Court led the Police Service Commission to write again on 5th May 2009 to the IGP Ogbonna Okechukwu Onovo at that time to reinstate Mr. Patrick and present his recommendation for promotion but like his predecessor, Ogbonna also refused to obey the order of the Court and that of the Police Service Commission.
Due to the deliberate refusal of Ogbonna to enforce the judgment of the Bauchi State High Court notwithstanding the panic-stricken entreaties from the relevant Federal Government Agencies, Mr. Patrick was again compelled to file a suit against the Nigerian Police in suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/637/2009 at the Federal High Court Abuja to subject him to enforce the order given by Bauchi State High Court and Police Service Commission. The Abuja Federal High Court delivered its judgment in favor of Mr. Patrick on the 21st October 2011 and even though the IGP appealed against the judgment, the Court of appeal struck it out.
Despite the Court striking out the notice of appeal we learned, IGP Hafiz Ringim at that time maintained his stand not to enforce the pending Federal High Court Judgment. The Police Service Commission on the 2nd September 2014 for the third time wrote to the IGP Suleiman Abba at that time expressing displeasure over his blatant disregard for the Rule of Order and the judgment of the Court.
The stubbornness of the IGP, and refusal to enforce the judgment made by the High Court, lead Mr. Patrick to write a petition once more to the Federal House of Representatives. However, after its proceeding on the 19th February 2014, the green chambers requested that the IGP acknowledges and enforce the pending court judgment, but he utterly refused to obey the directives from the House of Representatives. Perplexed by the continuous disregard for several Court orders, Mr. Patrick wrote to the Senate and after its proceeding wrote to the IGP on the 27th February 2014 urging him to enforce the judgment of Courts but like a stubborn goat, the petition is still sitting duck in his office.
More so, despite several letters sent to the IGP seeking a meeting to resolve issues about the enforcement of the Federal High Court judgment he still refused to call for a meeting. Consequent willful refusal to enforce the judgment of the Court, Mr. Patrick filled form 48 of the Sheriff and Civil Process Act against the IGP, and the same form was served to the IGP on the 7th November 2018 but in his usual negligence, refused to appear before the Honorable Court.