The Nigerian Army has lost its bid to upturn a judgment compelling it to reinstate Colonel Danladi Ribah Hassan who was compulsorily retired from the service in 2016.
A three-member panel of the Court of Appeal in Abuja, in a judgment today, December 31, dismissed the appeal by the Nigerian Army, former Chief of Army Staff, and others for lacking in merit.
Nigerian Army had failed to obey an order of Industrial court for reinstatement of Colonel Danladi Ribah Hassan, a military Commander who led troops in recapturing Bulabulin and Damboa from Boko Haram in August 2014.
The National Industrial Court in Abuja had, in January 2019, ordered the immediate reinstatement of Colonel Hassan, one of the 38 officers compulsorily retired in 2016 by the Nigerian Army for no obvious reasons.
The trial judge, Justice Sanusi Kado, had held that with the failure of the Nigerian Army to convince the court of the disciplinary ground for compulsorily retiring the claimant, the said letter of compulsory retirement was null and void and of no effect.
But, the appeal court, in a unanimous judgment today, December 31, read by Justice Stephen Adah, resolved the two issues, raised for determination, against the appellants and upheld the judgment of the National Industrial Court of January 8, 2019.
The judgment was on the appeal marked: CA/A/299/2019, filed by the NA, the Nigerian Army Council, the COAS, the Armed Forces Council; the Chief of Defence Staff, the Minister of Defence, Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd); Lt. Gen. Tukru Buratai (ex-COAS) and Maj. Gen. Mohammed Hong Garba. Listed as respondents were Hassan and the Attorney General of the Federation.
The Appeal Court, in dismissing the appeal by the Nigerian Army and others, held that, as against the claim by the appellants, Hassan complied with the condition precedent, as required under Section 178 of the Armed Forces Act, before approaching the court.
It further held that the appellant’s claim that the decision of the lower court was a perversity could not be sustained, because it was based on the evidence presented before it by parties.
“The lower court had elaborate consideration of all the facts, both from the accusers, the accused person and their witnesses before coming to the conclusion that the exercise of compulsory retirement was done in error.
“It was in that respect that the court now held that the compulsory retirement of the claimant was declared null and void; letter of compulsory retirement also set aside and he was ordered to be reinstated and a letter issued to that effect, reinstating him into the Nigerian Army with all rights and privileges.
“There is no piece of evidence that is contrary to what the court has said. So, there is nothing that is perverse by the findings of the lower court.
“The law is that where the lower court makes any finding of facts and there is nothing that is adverse, that is contrary to justice, or any thing that orchestrated injustice on the line of the consideration of the lower court; where the court has made correct and straightforward findings of facts, this court has no business interfering with it.
“The trial court did excellently well in this case, and we have no need to interfere with the findings of the court.
“It is in this respect that we come to the conclusion that this appeal is lacking in merit. It is grossly lacking in merit, and it is hereby dismissed.
“The decision of the lower court is upheld and all the decisions made therein, are also sustained,” Justice Adah said.