First Bank, Awosika, Others Risk Jail For Allegedly Disobeying Court Order

A Federal High Court, Lagos will on January 21, 2021 entertain a contempt proceedings against First Bank of Nigeria Plc, its Chairman, Ibukun Awosika, and the bank’s Managing Director, Adesola Adeduntan over their alleged persistent failure to obey an order of the court.

Others listed as alleged contemnors are: Francis O. Shobo and Bridget Osazuwa.

Justice Muslim Hassan fixed the date, after listened to the submission of a lawyer, Olukayode Ogungbeje, who moved the court to hear the application exparte.

Ogungbeje in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/971/2019, asked the court for an order to commence contempt or committal proceeding against First Bank and other alleged contemnors, for their wilful and persistence disobedience to the order absolute granted by the court on December 11, 2020, mandating them to pay the judgment sum of N11 million, awarded against Fredrick Bolaji, Gbenro Adetona, ACP Akinbayo Olasoji and the Inspector-General of Police.

Ogungbeje had in his application urged the court for an order compelling the alleged contemnors to personally appear before it and show cause, why they should not be committed to prison until they purge themselves of the alleged contempt.

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The lawyer also asked the judge for an order granting leave to the applicants to serve Forms 48 and 49 on the contemnors through the First Bank’s headquarters, situated at 35, Marina, Lagos.

The judgment creditors in an affidavit deposed to by Okoliagu Abunike, a litigation secretary of Laeflex Chambers, averred that on December 11, 2020, the court granted an Order Absolute against the Contemnors for immediate payment of the Judgment sum of N11 million, to the Judgment Creditors in a garnishee proceedings.

Abunike also averred that on December 14, 2020, the Judgment creditors, through their counsel wrote a letter dated December 14, 2020 to the Contemnors.

The deponent stated that on December 16, 2020, the Contemnors wrote back to the Judgment creditors’ solicitors that they would not obey the Order Absolute.

And that on December 17, 2020, the judgment creditors’ counsel wrote another letter replying the Contemnors letter on the legal implications of their action and the position of the law in this regard.

He further averred that since December 11, 2020 and despite the letters, the contemnors have bluntly refused to obey the Order Absolute granted by the Court.

And that despite the valid and subsisting order of the Court, the Contemnors have failed lo comply till date in utter disregard and wilful disobedience to the order of the court.

Abunike also stated that the contemnors being persons, creations and creatures of law are subject to the judicial powers of the Court preserved by section 6 (6) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Adding that there is nothing left in the proceedings of the suit other than compliance and obedience to the orders of the court.

The deponent further stated that there is need to preserve the integrity and sanctity of the Court from being disparaged and ridiculed by the Contemnors.

He maintained that the Order 6 (6) (b) and 287 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, gives the court the power and Inherent jurisdiction to ensure compliance and obedience to court orders.

And that unless the application is granted, the Contemnors will continue to disobey the Order Absolute granted by this Court with impunity and will certainly not obey any further Order or directives given by the court.

After listened to the lawyer, Justice Hassan adjourned the hearing of the contempt application against all the alleged contemnors till January 21, 2021.

17th April 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph