By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna has ordered the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) to reinstate nine cadets of 67 Regular Course ‘unlawfully’ dismissed by the academy authorities after their Presidential commissioning on October 5, 2019, and award them their degrees.
This was even as the court ordered the Military Institution to pay the accrued entitlements of the affected soldiers from the date of the dismissal.
Delivering a 50-page judgment on Thursday, the Presiding Judge, Justice Muhammad Umar described the Academy’s action to withdraw the cadets after their graduation as “unconstitutional, unlawful and amounts to conviction to trial”.
“The plaintiffs are entitled to be heard before any disciplinary action can be taken against them and there is no place in the proceedings of the defendants that the plaintiffs were granted fear hearing by the NDA before their dismissal. This is unconstitutional.
“The action of the defendants to withdraw the plaintiffs after their graduation is unconstitutional, unlawful and amounts to a conviction of trial. The plaintiff should immediately be reinstated and their degrees and entitlements should be awarded and paid for having participated in the PoP”, the Judge noted.
Counsel to the plaintiffs, Yunus Ustaz Usman SAN who briefed newsmen outside the courtroom said the Court’s judgment was binding on the authorities concerned to obey.
To him, “we thank Almighty that we have judges who are in for justice at all times and that is a great hope for Nigeria because these cadets spent five years in the academy, they were no query, they graduated, they participated in the PoP, some had first-class degrees and after their PoP when they came to collect their certificates then you say you have withdrawn them; it is most unfortunate.”
The defence counsel, Al-Amin Abubakar said, “My clients will decide on the next step to take. We will relate the judgment to them, they will review it and decide on what to do next. There are many options available to them, so I believe they will look at the law and take it up within the confines of the law.”
A father of one of the cadets, Alhaji Ibrahim Daura, who could not hide his joy queried why the service chiefs and the Minister of Defence did not investigate the issue after writing a petition to them.
He however commended the judgment of the court and prayed that the NDA authorities act on the judgment of the court in good time.
Parents of the cadets who spoke through Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim Daura had dragged the Chief of Army Staff, the Minister of Defence, the Secretary to the State Government, Major General I M Yusuf, NDA, the Chief of Defence Staff and three others to court after their wards were dismissed for allegedly holding a night party after their Passing out Parade officiated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in 2019.