By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday stopped the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related offences (NAPTIP) from inviting former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode for interrogation over child trafficking related issues.
The agency was restrained alongside the Attorney General of the Federation AGF from giving effect to summons already issued to Fani-Kayode for interrogation over petitions filed against him by his estranged wife.
Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo issued the restraining order following two separate letters served on the former Minister despite pendency of a suit in the matter at the Federal High Court.
The Judge who was furious on the move by NAPTIP to undermine court intervention in the matter said that no effort must be made to give effect to the two letters inviting Fani-Kayode for questioning in respect of the same subject matter pending before his court.
Adeola Adedipe who stood as counsel to the former Minister had complained bitterly that his client was still being summoned by NAPTIP and AGF in spite of pendency of a suit by Fani-Kayode instituted against them to challenge their powers of summoning him.
Adedipe argued that the two letters are unnecessary because parties have submitted themselves to court for adjudication and no party is expected to over-reach the other.
The anger of the judge was provoked by Nancy Ukenna , counsel to NAPTIP who justified the actions of her client in the matter.
The counsel informed the judge that though there is a pending suit, there is no express order stopping her client from doing what it did.
In a brief bench ruling, Justice Ekwo warned the Federal Government agency from taking any step that will foist a state of hopelessness on the court.
He categorically ordered NAPTIP and AGF to desist from undermining pendency of a suit in a law court and adjourned the matter to October 4 for hearing.
The former Minister had in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/327/2022 sought order of the court for judicial review of certain provisions of the law as they relate to his relationship with his estranged wife.
He wants the court after reviewing the law to declare that NAPTIP has no power under any law to summon him for interrogation in a matter of his family affairs.
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related offences NAPTIP and the Attorney General of the Federation AGF and Minister of Justice are the 1st and 2nd defendants respectfully in the matter.
The October 4 hearing date was fixed by Justice Ekwo owing to the yearly vacation of the court which begins next month and ends in September after which judges will also have one week conference.