Contempt: Obey court order, Olanipekun tells EFCC chair

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A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ola Olanipekun has called on the Inspector-General of Police to comply with a court order committing the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, to prison for contempt.

Olanipekun, who said Bawa was trying to cause anarchy in the country by disobeying court orders, said the EFCC boss had recently been committed to prison in a similar ruling by a Federal Capital Territory High Court in November.

He spoke just as the office of the IGP received and acknowledged the order committing Bawa to prison on Wednesday.

Justice R.O. Ayoola of the Kogi State High Court, in his judgment on Monday, granted the application for committal to prison of the EFCC boss for disobeying a court ruling delivered on November 30, 2022, wherein he was directed to produce the applicant in the case, Ali Bello.

Bello dragged Bawa to court for arresting and detaining him illegally, with the court ruling in his favour, only for the EFCC to arraign him for alleged money laundering three days after the ruling.

Speaking on Arise Television, Olanipekun argued that no Nigerian or foreigner, no matter how highly placed, should be allowed to rubbish the courts, noting that the same instrument put the EFCC boss in office.

“In fact, the higher the position you occupy, the greater the burden of responsibility on you to show good example and live within the ambit of the law.

“Nobody, nobody at all, no matter how highly placed, no matter the position you occupy, not even the President of Nigeria, can disobey court order,” he stated.

Olanipekun added, “The Inspector-General of Police is going to carry out that order. He is going to go to prison or at the earliest time possible, he goes back to that court to go and purge himself of the contempt.

“All he has to do is to release that particular citizen and if there are other orders that the court has made, like in this particular case, the court has made an order for an apology to the citizen for detaining him in flagrant breach of his fundamental human rights.

“So he has to go ahead and make that apology. We must comply with the law. We must realise that this is the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a country that is founded on law, on procedure, on rule of law.”

He said, “The order is that he should be committed to prison until he purges himself of the contempt. What was it that the court asked him to do that he failed to do? He was asked to produce citizen Bello in court, but he didn’t produce him. Let me make something clear. It was not as if when the court made the order, he didn’t comply and the order of committal was made, no.

“There is a procedure. He did not comply. Form 48 was served on him to let him know that ‘your disobedience has consequences.’ He ignored it. Form 49 was served on him for him to come and show cause why he should not be committed to prison for contempt of court, he ignored it. A motion was filed and served on him, giving him notice that we are going to move the court to give an order for him to be committed for contempt and you will be committed to prison, but he ignored it.”

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