Immigration finally releases Odili’s passport as court withdraws N2m fine imposed on agency

the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) released the seized passport of a former governor of Rivers State, Pierre Odilia development that came more than two months after the agency was ordered by the Federal High Court in Abuja to return the document to it.

NIS attorney Jimoh Adamu revealed this during a post-trial hearing in court on Monday.

Mr. Odili’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe, Nigeria’s lead lawyer, confirmed during the hearing that his client’s passport was handed over.

He had initiated the post-trial proceedings months after the agency refused to comply with the court’s ruling Judgment of October 2021 ordering the agency to hand over his client’s passport.

On December 21, 2021, Judge Inyang Ekwo, slammed a 2 million naira fine on the NIS and his attorney for ignoring his subpoena to explain why they refused to comply with the October 2021 verdict.

On Monday, however, Mr. Adamu told the court that the agency has since complied with the December judgment, referring to an affidavit of compliance he filed on February 7, 2022, to alert him to the surrender by the Mr. Odili’s passport agency.

He said the agency complied with the judgment despite filing an appeal against him, and urged the judge to revoke the 2 million naira fine imposed on him and the NIS.

He protested the alleged embarrassment caused to him and his client by the lead attorney of Odili’s attorney by allegedly misleading the court to impose the fine on him and his client.

He said that contrary to the information given by the lawyer during the December 21, 2021 post-trial proceedings, the passport was given to the former governor about 24 hours earlier, on December 20, 2021.

According to the lawyer, the passport was issued through the daughter of Mr. Odili, FCT High Court Judge, Njideka Nwosu-Iheme.

The lawyer presented Mr. Odili’s acknowledgment letter confirming receipt of the document and urged the court to cancel the 2 million naira fine imposed on him and the NIS.

He also urged the court to also overturn another order asking the AGF to sanction him.

Decision

In his decision, the judge, citing information provided by the NIS lawyer and confirmation by Odili’s lawyer that the court order had been complied with, ordered the cancellation of his previous orders.

He rescinded both the order that the NIS and his lawyer be fined N2 million and that the AGF should penalize him.

Subsequently, Mr. Ekwo adjourned the trial until May 25 for the Court of Appeal’s procedural report on the appeal in the case.

Fund

NIS agents had seized Mr Odili’s passport at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja upon his arrival from a trip to the UK on June 20, 2021.

Dissatisfied with the seizure, Mr. Odili, who said the reason for the seizure was not disclosed to him, sued the NIS and its Comptroller General to get his passport back.

In a judgment issued last October, Judge Inyang Ekwo ordered the SNR to immediately hand over Mr. Odili’s passport.

Mr Ekwo, in his ruling, called the NIS’ action “unlawful and unconstitutional”, adding: “No citizen of this country should be treated in this way, regardless of class or social status”.

Despite the orders in place, the SNE continued to withhold Mr. Odili’s passport.

The development prompted Mr Odili to return to court, complaining about the serial violations by the court orders department.

Both the NIS and its lawyers have ignored repeated subpoenas from the court in the post-judgment proceedings initiated by Mr. Odili.

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During proceedings on December 21, 2021, Mr. Odili’s lawyer told the judge that the SNE “chose to treat the court orders with levity, contempt and disdain”.

Ruling on the matter, the court held that the respondents (the NIS and its Comptroller General) had had “a reasonable and ample opportunity to comply with the orders of this court”.

The judge recalled that “the respondents did not comply with the orders of this court to hand over the international passport of the petitioner (Mr. Odili) as ordered by this court”.

“Therefore, I am making an order for the defendants to pay the cost of N2 million to the claimant (Mr Odili) for bringing the claimant to court when they knew they were not going to appear.”

Mr. Ekwo further ordered the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), who is also a defendant in the lawsuit, to “take disciplinary action against Jimoh Adamu, who is the defendant’s attorney, for his unprofessional conduct in the handling of this case”. Case.”

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