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Dismissed Major General drags Nigerian Army to court over alleged illegal detention

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The former Managing Director of Nigerian Army Properties, Major General Umaru Mallam Mohammed (rtd) has sued the Nigeria Army at a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja asking it to order his immediate release from what he refers to as the Army’s illegal detention.

NEWSNGR reports that in October 2023, the retired Army General was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for forgery, stealing and theft of the Nigerian Army’s millions of US dollars.

The suit also asked for a court order directing the Army to pay him N500 million in damages for his detention and dismissal.

He stated that he was unlawfully dismissed from the Nigerian Army which is an unconstitutional, illegal, violation of his fundamental human rights to personal liberty and human dignity.

Mohammed’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, sought an order from the court that the Army’s continued detention of his client from April 3, 2024, to date is illegal and a violation of his rights.

In Ojo’s originating motion, he reaffirmed the unconstitutionality of his client’s continued detention at the Nigeria Army custody in Abuja after the Army had also unlawfully dismissed him from service.

Praying the court for an order directing the Army to release his client, Ojo said the actions of the Nigerian Army amounted to illegality and violated his client’s fundamental human rights to personal liberty and human dignity as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.

Mohammed’s counsel also stated that they are asking for N500 million as damages for the Army’s unconstitutional and continued detention of his client in custody at Abuja from April 2, 2024.

Ojo gave eight grounds upon which his client is seeking relief and stated that the Army Council had on March 28, 2024, confirmed the findings and sentence of the Special Court Martial and amended the sentence against his client to include a sentence of dismissal with disgrace and dishonour together with attendant loss of gratuity, pension and other benefits/privilege.

Ojo said the Nigeria Army had no more reason to continue to detain Mohammed after the dismissal of the former Major General from the service for no “legally justifiable reason.”

He said, “The continued detention of the Applicant at the Respondent’s custody by the Respondent after the confirmation of the judgment of the Special Court Martial and the dismissal of the Applicant from the Nigerian Army on 2nd April 2024 constitutes a gross violation of the Applicant’s constitutional rights to human dignity and personal liberty.”

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