The Nigerian Correctional Service and the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, have been ordered to reinstate a Deputy Controller of Prisons, Mr Kayode Odeyemi, who was fired in 2018 for alleged misconduct and incompetence.
Justice O. Oyewumi also ordered his recall and promotion to the rank of Assistant Comptroller-General, claiming that Odeyemi had been treated unfairly by a former Comptroller-General of Corrections, Jaafaru Ahmed, and the Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration, and Prisons Services Board, led by Malam Al-Hassan Yakmut, who is now retired.
On November 10, the court ruled on NICN NICN/ABJ/02/2019, a suit filed by Odeyemi, a former NCoS national spokesman, against the CDFIPSB, Aregbesola, Controller General, NCoS, and the Attorney General of the Federation. The court said his dismissal, which was communicated by the CDFIPB and the Controller-General in two letters dated September 7, 2018 and November 27, 2018, was null and void, of no effect regarding to the official agreement.
The court further ordered the defendants to raise Odeyemi to his proper rank of ACG with effect from 2010 and to pay him all of his entitlements by April 23, 2019, his due date of retirement.
The NIC further stated that the defendants should “pay Mr Odeyemi a total sum of N904,000 (at the rate of N226, 000 per month) being his unpaid four-month salaries up to April 23, 2019, when he was due for retirement.
“The defendants should pay Odeyemi’s monthly pension and gratuity contributions from November 1, 2018 till April 23, 2019 and also fulfil their obligation under the Pension Reforms Act by informing Mr Odeyemi’s nominated Pension Funds Administrator of his lawful disengagement.”
Apparently, it awarded N1 million cost against the law breakers.
The CDFIPB argued in its statement of defense before the court that Odeyemi was fired for gross misconduct and acting unbecoming of a public officer in the escape of detainees from lawful custody while he was in command of a prison facility.
However, the letter of dismissal apparently did not name the specific prison, year, or number of jailbreaks.
Following the ruling, the plaintiff’s counsel, Olusoji Toki, representing Joshua Afolabi, has written to the interior minister and the AGF, Abubakar Malami, SAN, requesting speedy execution of the judgment.
‘’It is a victory for all lovers of fairness, rule of law and natural justice. It marks an end to three years of our client’s dogged pursuit of justice. It is also another lesson for tyrants who forget that power is transient’’, he said.