Court issues last warning to Immigration’s senior lawyer over Odili’s passport

Justice Iyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday issued a last warning to a senior lawyer with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Jimoh Abdulkadir Adamu, to appear in court to defend accusations of “unprofessional conduct” made against him.

The judge gave him February 7 to unfailingly appear in court to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for refusing to release the unlawfully-seized international passport of former Governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili.

Adamu, who for the second time declined to appear in court, was given another opportunity of February 7 in the interest of a fair hearing.

At Friday’s proceedings, Odili’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe SAN, recalled the order of December 21 last year issued by the court that the Immigration’s senior lawyer must appear in court today and lamented that for the second time, Adamu was not in court and had bluntly refused to release the passport as ordered by the court.

Adedipe noted that Adamu has failed to obey a subsisting order that the passport is deposited with the Registrar of the court pending the hearing of his motion for stay of execution.

He added that Adamu has consistently failed to attend court despite being served with a hearing notice in relation to his pending motion.

Adedipe urged the court to, among others, penalise Adamu for disrespecting the court and treating it with contempt.

At this point, one Babagana Abba, a counsel who claimed to be a colleague of Adamu, apologized to the court for the absence of the senior lawyer adding that he was sick and may find his way to the court later.

However, unimpressed with the apology, Justice Ekwo said in the interest of a fair hearing, he would give the lawyer another opportunity.

“This honourable court knows what to do and how to do it but in the interest of fair hearing, I am giving him another chance. Let him deny himself fair hearing, then, the court will take necessary steps.”

Justice Ekwo subsequently fixed February 7 for the lawyer to appear in court for his defence in the alleged unprofessional conduct.

Adamu has been representing the NIS and its Director-General in a fundamental rights enforcement suit by Odili, with which he challenged the seizure of his international passport by the NIS.

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