The Nigerian Army (NA) has lost its bid to reverse a judgment in favour of Colonel Danladi Ribah Hassan.
Hassan, who led troops to recapture Bulabulin and Damboa from Boko Haram in 2014, was compulsorily retired in 2016.
On Friday, a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal in Abuja dismissed the NA appeal for lack of merit, PRNigeria reports.
In January 2019, the National Industrial Court (NIC) ordered the reabsorption of Hassan, one of the 38 officers compulsorily retired without strong reasons.
Justice Sanusi Kado of the NIC then held that the Army failed to convince the court of the disciplinary grounds for the forceful retirement.
In the new judgement, Justice Stephen Adah resolved the two issues raised for determination against the appellants.
Adah sustained the judgment of the NIC delivered in favour of Colonel Hassan on January 8, 2019.
The appeal marked CA/A/299/2019 was filed by the Nigerian Army Council, Armed Forces Council, Chief of Defence Staff, ex-Defence Minister, Brig. Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd); Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (ex-COAS) and Maj. Gen. Mohammed Hong Garba.
The respondents were Hassan and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The Court of Appeal 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.
The court ruled that the appellants’ claim that the decision of the lower court was a perversity did not hold water, because it was based on the evidence presented before it by the parties.
The NIC, according to the judgement, had elaborate consideration of the facts – from the accusers, the accused person and witnesses – before concluding that the compulsory retirement was done in error.
“Letter of compulsory retirement was also set aside and he was ordered to be reinstated. A letter was 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 states 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.
On August 6, 2014, the 25 Task Force Brigade led by Hassan retook Bulabulin and Damboa from the grip of Boko Haram. Several terrorists died.
The officer was 7 Division Garrison Commander, responsible for the security of Maiduguri and its environs, before he was directed to lead the operation.
The member of NDA 41 Regular Combatant Course also played a role in Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) reform.
Hassan was commissioned in September 1994 and served as instructor, staff officer and field commander.
He took part in ECOMOG operations in Liberia, Sierra Leone, as well as the United Nations Mission in Sudan.
The native of Danko Wasagu Local Government Area of Kebbi State was formerly Chief Security Officer to the Sierra Leonean Chief of Defence Staff.