The Nigeria Navy has failed to produce detained Lagos-based hotelier in court as ordered by Justice Lilian Ijeoma Ojukwu.
The judge had on April 17, while granting an ex-parte application, ordered the officers of the Nigerian Navy to appear before her and explain why they failed to arraign Saibu Ogunmola, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Peace and Love International Hotel, who has been in their custody since January 17, 2019.
Other respondents also affected by the order are the Chief of Naval Staff, the Commander NNS Beecroft, Apapa, Lagos and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), Abuja.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, it was only the fourth respondent (DIA) through its counsel, C. O. Abodunde, that appeared before the court, while there was no legal representation for the first, second and third respondents.
Following the absence of the first to third respondents, lawyer to the hotelier, Mc Anthony Aikharialea, told the court that with the look of things, the respondents had disobeyed the order of the honourable court which was made on April 17 and served on all respondents.
However, Abodunde, counsel to DIA, told the court that the Nigeria Navy, after the order had since moved the applicant from their custody with a concluded arrangement to hand him over to prosecuting government agency any moment from now.
But the hotelier’s lawyer contended that the absence of the first to third respondents and their inability to bring the applicant to court as ordered is contemptuous.
He informed the court of his readiness to commence contempt proceeding against the respondents.
After listening to submission of parties, Justice Ojukwu adjourned the matter till May 15. She urged the applicant’s counsel to ensure that hearing notice on the main suit was issued and served on time on the first to third respondents.