The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) ha stated t released the international passport it seized from a former Rivers Governor Peter Odili in obedience to the order in its judgment of October 18, 2021.
NIS’ lawyer, Jimoh Adamu told a Federal High Court in Abuja that Odili’s daughter, Njideka Nwosu-Iheme, a serving judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), collected the passport for her father on December 20, 2020 at the Immigration headquarters in Abuja.
Adamu spoke at the resumed hearing in a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Odili against the NIS and its Comptroller General.
He said although his clients have appealed the court’s October 18, 2021 judgment, it chose to obey the court’s order while still pursuing their appeal.
The NIS lawyer filed a motion early on Monday, in which he exhibited letter of request by Odili and other evidence showing that he (Odili) collected the passport through his daughter.
On realising that the fresh motion was not yet in the court’s file, Justice Inyang Ekwo, before whom the case came up Monday, suspended proceedings briefly for Adamu to fetch the motion from the court’s registry.
At the resumption of proceedings about 20 minutes later, Adamu moved the motion in which he accused Odili’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) of misleading the court to issue an order directing the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to discipline him for allegedly disobeying the court’s earlier order for the release of the passport.
He urged the court to vacate the orders made against him and instead, reprimand Adedipe for misleading it into issuing orders against a person who did no wrong.
Adedipe did not oppose Adamu’s motion, following which Justice Ekwo ruled and vacated the orders made against Adamu ,his clients on December 21 last year.
The judge also set aside the order for N2 million fine imposed on the NIS and its Comptroller General.
The judge noted that since the appeal filed against his judgment of October 18 last year has been entered at the Court of Appeal, he would granted a fairly long adjourned date for parties to report the outcome of the appeal.
He adjourned till April 25 for parties to report back to the court the decision of the Court of Appeal.
Adamu, in an affidavit supporting his motion, stated that neither he nor his clients’ disobeyed the court’s order for the release of Odili’s passport as claimed by Adedipe.
He stated: “Upon the receipt of the court judgement and the applicant’s letter dated 17th December 2021, requesting the release of his international passport, the respondents did release the passport Numbers A5021427 and B50031305 on the 20th day of December 2021.
“In the said letter, he requested the respondents to release the passport to the bearer, his daughter (Hon. Justice Njideka Nwosu-Iheme) whom I later discovered, is a Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“Upon requesting the applicant’s daughter to provide a means of identification for documentation and proof of collection of the passport, she said she did not come with any and requested me to kindly let her accompanying counsel, (Paulyn Abhulimen Esq) who was in possession of her identity documents, to collect the passport on her behalf.
“The said passports of the applicant has been released and his name removed from the Watch list on same date.
“It is a fact that as at the 21st day of December 2021 when the court delivered its ruling in the matter, the respondents had already released the passport of the applicant to him and removed his name from the watch list on the 20th day of December 2021 in obedience to the court judgment.
“It is surprising how the learned silk, Chief I. A. Adedipe (SAN) misled the court into issuing an order directing the honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to discipline me for doing my job and carrying out the responsibilities to the service (NIS), the court and my country.
“I submit that from the facts deposed to in my affidavit and exhibits attached to show cause, I have not misconducted myself in any way that will warrant disciplinary action against my person or any member of the respondents’ counsel in this matter.
“Rather, it is clear that the reverse is the case. That the applicant/respondent’s counsel, Chief I. A. Adedipe (SAN) deserved to be fitted with that cap. and reported for misconduct before the Legal Practitioner Disciplinary Committee and for appropriate sanction to be taken,” Adamu said.