Immigration Is Fined N2M By The Court For Seizing Odili’s Passport
On Tuesday, a Federal High Court in Abuja fined the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) N2 million for failing to comply with its ruling on the release of former Rivers Governor Peter Odili’s travel documents.
News Agency of Nigeria
In a judgement, Justice Inyang Ekwo also ordered the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to initiate disciplinary action against Malam J.A. Adamu, counsel to the National Intelligence Service (NIS), for suspected unprofessional conduct.
According to the Nigerian News Agency (NAN), Justice Ekwo ordered the immediate release and return of Odili’s international passport with the number B50031305 on Oct. 18 in a complaint filed by Odili against the NIS and its Comptroller General.
Ekwo also ordered the NIS to send Odili an apology for the wrongful confiscation of his passport and the humiliation he had suffered.
The NIS, however, told the court on Nov. 23 that it had appealed the court’s decision, and that execution should be stayed.
The NIS had requested a stay of execution on the judgment it had rendered in a motion filed with the court.
The application was then adjourned by Justice Ekwo, who set a date for hearing the application on the condition that the NIS present Odili’s passport to the court registrar as a condition for their request to be considered.
However, no lawyer for the NIS showed on the rescheduled date, and Odili’s counsel, Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN, filed a motion against the NIS, requesting that the court impose a fine for their violation of the court order.
The case was then remanded by Justice Ekwo.
NIS was not represented in court during the rescheduled hearing on Tuesday.
The judge expressed surprise that, despite the NIS’s motion being submitted, no lawyer was present in court to hear it.
“This is the second time this matter is coming up after it has been said for the respondent/applicant (NIS) to comply with order of the court.
“I have given the respondent/applicant ample time to comply with court order,” he said.
The NIS was not represented in court on the previous adjourned date, according to Ekwo, causing the case to be adjourned.
“Today, the respondent/applicant is also not in court,” he added.
He stated that the NIS was clearly not prepared to comply with the directive.
He said: “Consequently, I made an order directing the respondent/applicant to pay N2 million fine in favour of applicant/respondent (Odili)” for making him to be represented in court while the NIS did not send any representation.
The judge ordered the AGF to take disciplinary action against Malam J. A Adamu, NIS’s lawyer, for his unprofessional conduct in handling the case. Adamu was told to appear in court on the next adjourned date and show cause why no action should be taken against him.
The application was adjourned until January 22, 2022, by Justice Ekwo.
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