The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday reversed the N2m fine imposed on the Nigerian Immigration Service NIS and its lawyer, Jimoh Abdulkadir Adamu. The reversal was premised on the ground that the agency has obeyed the court order by returning the seized passport of the former Rivers State governor, Dr. Peter Odili.
When the matter came up yesterday, the NIS said that the passport seized on the order of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was returned to Odili since December 20, 2021. Lead counsel to Immigration, Jimoh Adamu in an affidavit of compliance dated 6th but filed on February 7, 2022 he personally deposed, told Justice Inyang Ekwo that the document was released to Odili based on the judgment of the Federal High Court.
He, however, said that’s the Immigration Service has already filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the order of the Federal High Court releasing the the passport to the applicant.
The counsel protested alleged embarrassment caused him and his client by the lead counsel to Odili, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), by allegedly misleading the court on December 21, 2021 that the passport had not been released to his client.
He urged the court to revoke the N2 million fine imposed on him and the immigration on the ground that the passport was released on December 20, 2021 whereas the order imposing the fine on him was issued on December 21, 2021, 24 hours after the passport was released through Odili’s daughter who is a Judge of the FCT High Court, Njideka Nwosu-Iheme.
The counsel tendered the letter of acknowledgment by Dr Odili confirming the receipt of the document and urged the court to reverse the two million naira fine imposed on him and to also reverse another order asking the AGF to penalize him.
Odili’s counsel, Ifedayo, stated that his client, Dr Peter Odili has confirmed the release of the passport.
In his brief ruling, Justice Ekwo held that in view of the information by the immigration counsel and in view of the confirmation by Odili’s lawyer, that the order of the court has been obeyed, the N2 million fine imposed on the NIS and its counsel and another order that the AGF should penalize him are all reversed.
The judge subsequently fixed May 25 for report of the Court of Appeal proceeding in respect of the appeal against the Federal High Court judgment.