Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday issued his last warning to a senior lawyer with the Nigerian Immigration Service, Jimoh Abdulkadir Adamu, to appear in Court to defend accusations of “unprofessional conduct” made against him.
The Judge gave him February 7 to appear unfailingly in Court to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for refusing to release the passport of a former Governor of Rivers State, Chief Peter Odili, which had been seized.
Adamu, who for the second time, declined to appear in Court was given another opportunity of February 7 in the interest of a fair hearing.
During Friday’s proceedings, Odili’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), recalled the order of December 21 last year issued by the Court that Adamu must appear in Court today (Friday) and lamented that for the second time that Adamu was not in Court and had bluntly refused to release the passport as ordered by the Court.
Adedipe said that Adamu has 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.
According to him, Adamu had consistently failed to attend court despite being served a hearing notice in relation to his pending motion.
Adedipe 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 lawyer adding that he was sick and may find his way to the Court later.
However, unimpressed with the apology, Justice Ekwo said in the interest of a fair hearing, he would give the lawyer another opportunity.
“This Honourable Court knows what to do and how to do it but in the interest of a fair hearing, I am giving him another chance. Let him deny himself fair hearing, then, Court will take necessary steps,” he said.
Justice Ekwo subsequently fixed February 7 for the lawyer to appear in court for his defence in the alleged unprofessional conduct.
Adamu has been representing the NIS and its Director-General in a fundamental rights enforcement suit by Odili, with which he challenged the seizure of his international passport by the NIS.