ODILI PASSPORT: COURT REVERSES N2M FINE ON NIS, LAWYER
Written by Samson Ojeniran on February 7, 2022
The Federal High Court has reversed the N2million fine imposed on the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and its Counsel, Jimoh Adamu for their refusal to release the passport of former Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili.
Justice Ekwo reversed the Order when the NIS confirmed to a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday that the seized passport of the former River State Governor Peter Odili has been returned to him.
The Counsel for NIS, Jimoh Adamu in an affidavit of compliance dated on the 6th February and filed 7th of February in which he personally deposed, to Justice Inyang Ekwo that the document was released to the applicant based on the judgement of the Federal High Court.
Jimoh said that the passport seized on the order of the Economic and Financial crimes commission was returned to Odili on December 20, 2021.
He however said that the immigrations Service had already filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja challenging the decision of the High Court ordering the release of the passport.
The Immigration Council then urged the court to revoke the N2m fine imposed on him and the Immigration Services on the ground that the passport was released on December 20, 2021, whereas the order imposing N2m fine on him was issued on December 21, 2021, 24 hours after the passport was released through Odili’s daughter, a Judge of the FCT High Court, Njideka Nwosu-Iheme.
The Counsel tendered the letter of acknowledgement by Odili confirming the receipt of the document and urged the court to reverse the N2 million fine imposed on him and to also reverse another order asking the AGF to penalize him.
Odili’s Counsel Ifedayo confirmed the release of his clients’ passport.
In a brief ruling, Justice Ekwo held that in view of the information by the immigration counsel and in view of the confirmation by Odili’s lawyer, that the order of the court has been obeyed, the N2 million fine on the NIS and its counsel and another order that the AGF should penalise him were all reversed.
The judge subsequently fixed May 25 for a report of the court of Appeal proceeding in respect of the appeal against the high court judgement.
Justice Inyang Ekwo had, on December 21, 2021, summoned Jimoh 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 had also ordered the NIS to pay an N2 million fine for its conduct and directed the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to take disciplinary action against the Counsel to NIS for alleged unprofessional conduct.