A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, gave counsel to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Mallam J.A. Adamu, final opportunity to appear to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him over alleged misconduct.
Justice Inyang Ekwo gave Adamu another chance following NIS’ plea that the lawyer was indisposed.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Ekwo had, on Dec. 21, 2021, summoned Adamu over his failure to appear before the court on two occasions and the refusal of his office to release the travel documents of former Rivers Governor, Peter Odili after a court order.
The judge, who ordered the NIS to pay a N2 million fine for its conduct, directed the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to take disciplinary action against lawyer to NIS for alleged unprofessional conduct.
The court also struck out the motion for stay of execution filed by the NIS against its order and ordered Adamu to appear before it today (Jan. 21) to show cause why a disciplinary action should not be taken against him.
When the matter was called, counsel to Odili, Ifedayo Adedipe, SAN, informed that the matter was adjourned for Adamu to show cause after his motion was struck out.
However, Adamu was not in court.
Bichi Abba, who announced appearance for the defendant (NIS) in the matter, said Adamu was on his way.
He said his colleague was coming late to the court because he was indisposed.
“My Lord, what is expected of me is to tell that my colleague is on the way. Mallam Adamu is not feeling better and he is on the way,” he said.
“Who is this Mallam Adamu?” Ekwo asked.
“He is the counsel my lord,” he responded.
The judge said: “So he is the one I am waiting for? So he is the one that has been keeping the court waiting?
“So I have to wait for me?”
Justice Ekwo, who directed the parties to fix another date, said he would give Adamu the last chance in the interest of fair hearing.
“Adedipe, you know this is a serious matter? Let him (Adamu) be the one to deny himself of justice by his own conduct.
“I will give him a fair hearing. You can take another date,” he said.
Justice Ekwo them fixed Feb. 7 for Adamu to appear and show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.
“In the last adjourned date, Adamu was asked to show cause but Mr Adamu is not in court and no reason was given for his non-appearance.
“This adjournment is at the instance of Adamu and shall be the last adjournment,” he held.
NAN reports that Justice Ekwo had, on Oct. 18, 2021, in a suit filed by Odili against the NIS and its Comptroller General, ordered the immediate release and return of his International passport with number B50031305.
Ekwo had also ordered the NIS to write an apology to Odili for the unlawful seizure of his passport as well as the embarrassment meted to him.
However, about 37 days after the court judgment, the NIS on Nov. 23, 2021, told the court to stay execution because it had appealed the judgment.
In a motion filed before the court, the NIS had sought a stay of execution on the judgement it delivered.
Justice Ekwo, who then adjourned on the condition that the NIS must submit Odili’s passport with the court registrar as a condition for their motion to be heard, fixed a date for hearing the application.
But on the adjourned date, no counsel appeared for the NIS, and counsel to Odili, Adedipe, made an application against the NIS, urging the court to award a fine for their disregard to a court order.
Justice Ekwo then adjourned the matter again.
At the resumed hearing on Dec. 21, 2021, NIS was not represented in court again.
Delivering his ruling, the judge expressed surprise that despite the motion filed by the NIS, no counsel was in court to take it.
“This is the second time this matter is coming up after it has been said for the respondent/applicant (NIS) to comply with an order of the court.
“I have given the respondent/applicant ample time to comply with a court order,” he said.
Ekwo noted that on the last adjourned date, the NIS was not represented in court, making the matter to be adjourned.
“Today, the respondent/applicant is also not in court,” he added.
He said it was glaring that the NIS was not ready to comply with the order.
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, who ordered the AGF to take disciplinary action against Malam J. A Adamu, lawyer to NIS, for his unprofessional conduct in the handling of the case, directed Adamu to appear in court in the next adjourned date and show cause why action should not be taken against him.
The judge also struck out the NIS motion for stay of execution.
Ekwo then adjourned until Jan. 21, 2022 for a hearing of the application.(NAN)