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Court rules: Immigration to pay Peter Odili N2m over passport seizure

Court rules: Immigration to pay Peter Odili N2m over passport seizure
December 21
16:31 2021

A federal high court in Abuja has fined the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) N2 million over the refusal to comply with its order on the release of the travel documents belonging to Peter Odili, former Rivers governor.

Odili had approached the court to challenge the seizure of his passport by the NIS.

He told the court that his passport with number B50031305 was seized from him on June 20 by NIS officials for an undisclosed reason, shortly after he landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, in a ruling on October 18, ordered the NIS to release the passport as well as write an apology to Odili.

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On November 23, the NIS told the court to stay execution because it had appealed the judgment.

The judge, however, ordered the service to deposit Odili’s passport with the court registrar as a condition for their motion to be heard.

But on the adjourned date, the NIS had no representation in court.

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Ifedayo Adedipe, Odili’s lawyer, asked the court to award a fine against the NIS for their disregard to a court order.

The judge was, however, inclined to grant another adjournment.

Again, at the resumed court session on Tuesday, the NIS was absent from court.

Delivering a ruling, Ekwo frowned at the continuous absence of the NIS, stating that it is obvious the service does not want to comply with the order of court.

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“This is the second time this matter is coming up after it has been said for the respondent/applicant (NIS) to comply with an order of the court,” the judge said.

“I have given the respondent/applicant ample time to comply with a court order. Today, the respondent/applicant is also not in court.

“Consequently, I make an order directing the respondent/applicant to pay N2 million fine in favour of applicant/respondent (Odili).”

The judge also ordered the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) to take disciplinary action against Jimoh Adamu, lawyer to NIS, for his “unprofessional conduct” in the handling of the case.

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He also directed Adamu to appear before the court on the next adjourned date to show cause why further actions should not be taken against him.

The matter has been adjourned till January 21, 2022, for continuation.

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