Court orders police commission to pay retired AIG Mbu N40m damages over unlawful retirement


According to the ruling by Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae of the National Industrial Court, the Police Service Commission (PSC) has been ordered to pay retired Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Mbu Joseph Mbu the sum of N40 million as general damages. The court found that Mbu’s retirement before reaching the mandatory age of 60 years was unlawful.

The judge declared that Mbu’s premature retirement, which was communicated through a press release on July 2, 2016, was unconstitutional, null, void, and of no effect. The court’s ruling affirms that Mbu’s rights were violated, and the PSC is therefore obligated to compensate him for the damages caused by his unlawful retirement.

According to the court’s ruling, in addition to ordering the Police Service Commission (PSC) to pay retired AIG Mbu Joseph Mbu the sum of N40 million as general damages, the court also set aside Mbu’s purported retirement and declared that he remained an officer of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 60 on May 10, 2018.

The court further ordered the PSC to pay Mbu his salaries, allowances, and entitlements from July 2, 2016 (the date of his retirement) until May 10, 2018 (when he should have retired at the age of 60).

In addition, the court ordered the defendant to pay the claimant the sum of N750,000 as the cost of the suit. The court stated that failure to comply with the court’s orders within 30 days would attract a 10% interest per annum.

However, the court declined the relief of promotion to the position of a Deputy Inspector General (DIG) and reinstatement sought by the claimant. The court explained that these reliefs could not be granted as the claimant had already reached the mandatory retirement age on May 10, 2018, when the lawsuit was pending.

According to the facts presented, Mr Mbu, the claimant, filed the lawsuit against the Police Service Commission (PSC) challenging his alleged compulsory retirement on July 2, 2016, while he was serving as the commandant of the Police Staff College.

In his statement of facts, Mr Mbu stated that he was born on May 10, 1958, and joined the police on December 11, 1985. He argued that at the time of his retirement in 2016, he had not yet reached the mandatory retirement age of 60, nor had he completed 35 years of service.

Among other reliefs sought, Mr Mbu requested the court to declare his retirement invalid. He claimed that his retirement was communicated through a press release and that he was not served with the statutory notice of retirement as required by law.

In addition to the request for the declaration of his retirement as invalid, Mr Mbu also sought an order from the court to direct the defendant, the Police Service Commission, to pay his salaries, allowances, and other entitlements from July 2016 to 2018, the period when he would have reached the mandatory retirement age.

Furthermore, Mr Mbu sought the payment of his terminal benefits, N500 million as general damages, and N20 million as the cost of the suit.

The defendant, in its response, argued that Mr Mbu was not retired through a press release but was instead pulled out from the force in a ceremonial event. The defendant also contended that promotion in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is not automatic and that Mr Mbu did not fulfill certain requirements for promotion.

The defendant further stated that the reorganization within the NPF, which resulted in Mr Mbu’s retirement, followed due process and that he was not the only person affected.

Although the defendant failed to appear in court to conduct its defense, the court ruled that this did not absolve Mr Mbu from the burden of proof in his case.

The judge emphasized that pleadings do not serve as evidence and that the defendant’s absence in court, despite receiving several hearing notices, meant that the defendant had effectively abandoned its case.

Furthermore, the judge stated that since the claimant’s submissions were not contested by the defendant, the claimant had successfully proven his case based on credible evidence. As a result, the claimant was entitled to some of the reliefs he sought.

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