By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
The N2 million fine imposed on the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and its lawyer, Jimoh Abdulkadir Adamu, has been revoked as the agency confirmed to a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday that the seized passport of the former Rivers state governor, Peter Odili has been returned to him.
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 NIS, Jimoh Adamu, in an affidavit of compliance dated 6th but filed on 7th of February, 2022 , told Justice Inyang Ekwo that the document was released to Odili based on the judgment of the Federal High Court.
He, however, said that 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 NIS on the ground that the passport was released on December 20, 2021 whereas the order imposing the fine was issued on December 21, 2021, 24 hours after the passport was released through Odili’s daughter, 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.
Odili’s counsel, Ifedayo, confirmed that his client has confirmed the release of the passport.
In his brief ruling, Justice Ekwo held that in view of the information by the NIS counsel and confirmation by Odili’s lawyer, the two million naira 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.