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Dismissed officer sues board, NIS for illegal detention, seeks N500m

An Assistant Comptroller of Immigration, Luka Mutum, who was dismissed from service by the Civil Defence, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Services Board, has dragged the board and the Nigeria Immigration Service before the National Industrial Court, Abuja Division.

The plaintiff, who served for 27 years before he was sacked, asked the court to nullify his dismissal from service.

He is also claiming N500m in damages from the defendants for unlawful arrest and illegal detention by the NIS for over five years.

Mutum, in the suit filed by his lawyer, Daniel Makolo, is also seeking the payment of his accumulated salaries and other entitlements withheld by the NIS.

The former officer was dismissed by the CDFIPB through a letter dated September 7, 2018, signed by the board secretary, Malam Al-Hassan Yakmut.

The board hinged its decision on the allegations of fraud and obtaining money under false pretences levelled against Mutum, adding that his dismissal was in line with the Public Service Rules 030402 (o),(h) and (w).

But Mutum contended that the board failed to follow due process before sacking him.

According to him, there was no petition against him neither was he queried or communicated with before his appointment was terminated.

The ex-ACI further argued that there were no petitions against him in respect of the allegations made by the NIS.

Mutum explained that trouble started when he had a problem with a businessman, Alhaji Baba Fatai, when he was working as the officer-in-charge of the Ilara Control Post in Ogun State in 2013.

According to him, he took ill soon afterwards and was later admitted to a hospital, but some unidentified persons misinformed the businessman that he had absconded from his duty post.

The businessman then filed a petition against him to the NIS headquarters. As a result, he was arrested in Abeokuta, handcuffed and made to pay for his flight to Abuja.

“On hearing what was happening, Baba Fatai wrote a formal letter to the service headquarters in Abuja, saying he was misinformed; he, therefore, withdrew his earlier complaint against me; I was then released,” Mutum said.

The petitioner further explained that he was detained in a cell with a fellow Immigration officer, Andrew Lukas, now deceased, who was accused of selling bullets to criminals.

He said Lukas died in the cell after he was tortured.

“I was invited by the second and third defendants (NIS and Comptroller-General of Immigration, Muhammad Babandede) to cooperate with them when they learnt of the likely visit of the National Human Rights Commission officials to inspect the detention facility of the first defendant and investigate the circumstances of the death of Lukas, who was in the same dark cell with me,” Mutum added.