NIGERIAN Immigration Service (NIS) lawyer Jimoh Adamu faces the prospect of being found guilty of contempt of court after the federal high court in Abuja issued a final warning for him to appear to face accusations of unprofessional conduct made against him.
In a dramatic development, Justice Iyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, issued a last warning to Mr Adamu, a senior lawyer with the NIS, to appear in court to defend accusations of unprofessional conduct made against him. Justice Ekwo gave him until February 7 to unfailingly appear in court to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for refusing to release the unlawfully-seized international passport of former Rivers State Governor Peter Odili.
For the second time in succession, Mr Adamu has declined to appear in court, so has now been given another opportunity to show up on February 7 in the interest of a fair hearing. At today’s proceedings, Governor Odili’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe, recalled the order of December 21 last year issued by the court that the lawyer must appear in court.
He lamented the fact that for the second time, Mr Adamu was not in court and had bluntly refused to release the passport as ordered by the judge. Mr Adedipe noted that Mr Adamu has failed to obey a subsisting order that the passport is deposited with the registrar of the court pending the hearing of his motion for stay of execution.
He added that Mr Adamu has consistently failed to attend court despite being served with a hearing notice in relation to his pending motion. Mr Adedipe urged the court to among other things, penalise Mr Adamu for disrespecting it and treating it with contempt.
At this point, one Babagana Abba, a counsel who claimed to be a colleague of Mr Adamu, apologised to the court for the absence of the senior lawyer adding that he was sick and would appear later. However, unimpressed with the apology, Justice Ekwo said in the interest of a fair hearing, he would give the lawyer another opportunity.
Justice Ekwo ruled: “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, the court will take necessary steps.”
After making this pronouncement, Justice Ekwo subsequently fixed February 7 for the lawyer to appear in court for his defence . Mr Adamu has been representing the NIS and its director-general in a fundamental rights enforcement suit by Governor Odili, who is challenging the seizure of his international passport.