The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, has filed a libel suit against the Senator representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, Isah Misau, demanding N5bn as compensation for alleged defamation.
The Federal Government, through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, had earlier preferred criminal charges against Misau for allegedly spreading “injurious falsehood” against the IGP and the Nigeria Police Force.
Both the civil case filed by the IGP himself and the criminal charges instituted by the AGF office stemmed from allegations of corruption and unethical practices levelled by Misau against the IGP in the electronic and print media.
While the civil case has been assigned to Justice Jude Okeke of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the criminal case is before the Chief Judge of the court, Justice Ishaq Bello.
Justice Okeke has fixed November 13, 2017 for hearing in the case.
In the suit filed by his counsel, Marcel Oru, the IGP prayed the court to award cumulative aggravated and exemplary damages of N5bn against the lawmaker.
Idris accused the senator of defaming him through publications in Daily Trust Newspaper’s editions of August 10, 22 and 26, 2017; Thisdaylive online publication and Channels Television report.
He also prayed for an order directing the senator to tender public apology to be published in conspicuous pages of two widely read national newspapers.
He also sought an order of injunction restraining Misau, by himself or his agents from further publishing or causing to be published “the said words similarly defamatory of the plaintiff.”
The claim by Misau, a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police, considered defamatory by the IGP included allegation that Commissioners of Police paid to the Inspector-General of Police sums ranging between N10m and N15m to secure “favourable postings.”
The IGP stated in his statement of claim that in the Daily Trust of August 10, 2017, at Page 3, Misau published a story captioned, ‘Police officers pay bribe for special promotion — Senator’
The story was quoted as reading in part: “You are talking about N500,000, it’s beyond that. A serving police officer aware of the trend has told me that they pay as much as N2.5m to get special promotion.
“Other sources have also confirmed to me. So, it is nothing but fact.”
He added that the IGP in the Saturday, August 26, 2017 of the Daily Trust Newspaper at Page 8 thereof the defendant in a news item titled, “Senator accuses IGP of collecting N120bn from oil firms, others’ in which the defendant was said to have caused to be published falsely and maliciously, “The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Isah Hamma Misau (APC, Bauchi), yesterday accused the IGP, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris of collecting as payment for special security service rendered by the police to corporate bodies, oil firms and highly placed citizens.”
The IGP said the offensive words “in their natural and ordinary meaning” were meant and were “understood to mean that the plaintiff collects huge sums of money from police officers for postings or promotion, that the plaintiff is involved in crimes and criminality of bribery and corruption, nepotism, that the plaintiff makes undue gain of N10bn monthly from oil company, banks and wealthy individuals without paying same into government coffers, that the plaintiff is incompetent to run the Nigeria Police Force, that the plaintiff is corrupt.”
He said his reputation had been “seriously damaged” and had “suffered and still suffering considerable distress, loss of reputation, embarrassment, shame, odium, anxiety, anguish, opprobrium and injury to his feelings.”
He stated that he was now “being shunned by some friends, colleagues, members of the Armed Forces, senior government officials, international bodies and being hated by some members of the public and seen as a corrupt and incompetent person to run and manage the Nigeria Police Force.”