Court Issues Last Warning To Immigration Lawyer Over Refusal To Release Ex-Gov Odili’s Seized Passport

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A Federal High Court sitting Abuja on Friday issued last warning to a senior counsel with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Jimoh Abdulkadir Adamu, to appear before it to defend accusations of “unprofessional conduct” made against him.

The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, gave the lawyer till February 7 to appear in court to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for refusing to release the international passport of former governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili.

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

Adedipe noted that Adamu also failed to obey a subsisting order that the passport be deposited with the Registrar of the court pending the hearing of his motion for stay of execution.He added that Adamu had failed to attend court proceedings despite being served with hearing notice in relation to his pending motion and 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, apologised to the court for the absence of the senior counsel, adding that he was sick and may find his way to the court later.However, unimpressed with the apology, Justice Ekwo said: “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, court will take necessary steps.”Justice Ekwo subsequently fixed February 7 for the lawyer to appear in court for his defense in the alleged unprofessional conduct.

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

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