Retirements: General drags Army, Defence Minister, CDS, COS to court over retirement
One of the Army General’s recently retired by the Army Council on 9th June, 2016, Major General Ijioma Nwokoro Ijioma, has dragged the Nigerian Army, Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Army Staff to the National Industrial Court over his purported compulsory retirement from the Nigerian Army on 9th June, 2016.
In an Originating Summons filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) on his behalf, Major General Ijioma wants the Industrial Court to declare his purported compulsory retirement from the services of the Nigerian Army, vide letter dated 9th June, 2016, titled, “Compulsory retirement NA Officer Major General Ijioma Nwokoro Ijioma (N/8304)” pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 09.02c(4) of the Harmonized Terms and Conditions of Service for Officers of the Armed Forces (HTACOS) 2012 Revised, did not follow due process and is consequently illegal, invalid, wrongful, unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void and of no effect whatsoever”.
He prayed the court for an order setting aside the letter of compulsory retirement issued by the Army Council, purportedly retiring him from the services with effect from 9th June, 2016 and an order directing his immediate reinstatement of to his rank and payment of all entitlements and perquisites of office due to him.
Other relief sought by the applicant include, “A other restraining the Respondents from giving or continuing to give effect to the letter dated 9th June, 2016, purported to have compulsorily retired the Claimant from the service of the Nigerian Army.
“An order restraining the Respondents, whether by themselves, their agents, servants, privies and/or all officers from obstructing, disturbing, interfering, stopping or preventing the Applicant in any manner whatsoever, from performing the functions of his office as a serving Major General of the Nigerian Army in the last position and place of assignment, before the letter of compulsory retirement dated 9th June, 2016.
“An order restraining the Nigerian Army, or any other government or Security Agency from, interfering or acting by proxy, or otherwise, to intimidate, harass, arrest and/or detain the Applicant, or taking any untoward action on any fact connected with or related to the facts of this case, upon which the Applicant seeks for justice before this Court”.
Major General Ijioma is also seeking an order compelling the Respondents to pay him N1 billion as general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages for the unlawful, wrongful, illegal, unconstitutional and oppressive compulsory retirement and the attendant humiliation, psychological trauma, mental agony and odium caused him and his family, by the actions of the Respondents.
He said, in case he can no longer be employed in the service of the Nigerian Army, the court should compel the Respondents to tender a public apology in three leading National Daily Newspaper for the humiliation, embarrassment, and public odium, and obloquy caused by the his unlawful, illegal and wrongful compulsory retirement vide letter dated 9th June, 2016.
He also prayed for an order compelling the Respondents jointly and severally to pay him N5 billion as general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages for his unlawful, wrongful, illegal, unconstitutional and oppressive compulsory retirement and the attendant humiliation, psychological trauma, mental agony and odium caused him and his family, by the actions of the Respondents.
In an affidavit in support of the Originating Summons, the applicant averred that he joined the Nigerian Defence Academy at the age of 20, and was enlisted into the Nigerian Army on 4th July 1983, as a cadet and rose through the ranks to the position of Major General and that he was serving at the Army Headquarters, Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Mambilla Barracks Junction, Off Maitama Avenue, Asokoro, Abuja, before his purported compulsory retirement on the 9th June, 2016.
He averred that “I verily believed that there was no justifiable reason(s) for my early compulsory retirement as I have not attained the mandatory retirement age for Major Generals in the Army, which is 56 years, as I am only 53 years by 12th June, 2016, and have only served for 32 years, 11 months and 5 days, as against the mandatory 35years service age for retirement as provided for by Rule 020810 of the Federal Government Public Service Rules, which is also applicable to the Military, which I have not attained”.
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