By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
A Federal High Court in Abuja has given the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and its lawyer up to February 7 to show cause why disciplinary actions should not be taken against them for failing to obey order directing the release of an international passport belonging to ex-Rivers Governor Peter Odili.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling on Friday, said he would allow NIS’ lawyer, Jimoh Adamu the last opportunity to attend court to explain why the court’s order that Odili’s passport be released was not complied with and why he should not be penalised for that.
“On the last adjourned date, this court had made an order that the counsel for the respondents, Mr. J. A. Adamu should show cause today.
“Today, the matter was called and Mr. Adamu is not in court and no reason was given for his absence.
“I make an order adjourning this case to the 7th of February 2022 for Mr. Adamu to show cause. This adjournment is at the instance of the respondent,” the judge said.
The ruling was on an application by Odili’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), who complained that despite the court’s order on December 21 directing Adamu to show cause why he should not be penalised for flouting the court’s order, he (Adamu) was not in court and he was not represented.
Just while Adedipe was concluding on his submission, a lawyer, Bichi Abbah announced appearance for the NIS and said Adamu was on his way.
Abbah said, although Adamu was making effort to attend court on Friday, he was unwell and was just trying to make it court.
The NIS lawyer added that he would have prayed the court for a stand down to enable Adamu arrive, but was not sure if the court has the luxury of time to accommodate his request.
In response to Abbah’s submission, Justice Ekwo said he would rather afford Adamu the last chance to decided on whether or not to comply with the court’s order, failing which the court would exercise its authority.
He then adjourned till February 7.
But,a senior NIS official told The Nation on Friday that the agency has complied with the court’s order and has since handed the passport to the ex-governor.
The lawyer was expecting us to hand the passport to him foronward delivery to the ex-governor.
“My dear, as I speak, the passport has since been handed to Mr. Odili. I think the lawyer has his own motive. We are waiting for him.
“Our lawyer is filing an affidavit to show that we have complied with the court’s order and have handed the passport to the ex-governor,” the source said.
The Nation was unable to confirm this claim by the NIS as at when filing this report.
*Read original in The Nation.