Justice Abdulazeez Anka of a Lagos Federal High Court has awarded N20,000 as punitive cost against counsel to billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike also known as Evans, Olukoya Ogungbeje in the N300m suit he filed against the Nigeria Police Force.
The judge in his ruling also warned Ogungbeje’s to desist from “practices unbecoming of a legal practitioner.”
Anka gave the ruling while adjourning the fundamental human rights suit Ogunbeje filed on behalf of Evans, who is still in police custody.
Recall that Evans in the suit filed by Ogunbeje had sought the court’s order directing the respondents to immediately charge him to court in accordance with constitutional provisions, if there existed any case against him.
Joined in the suit are The Nigeria Police Force, Lagos State Police Command, the State Police Commissioner and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
The case billed for hearing on Thursday was, however, stalled due to Ogungbeje’s absence.
When the case was called by the registrar of the court, an officer from Ogungbeje’s law firm, Stephen Abunike, informed the court that his principal was “indisposed” and had written to the court seeking an adjournment.
The litigation officer also informed the court that he attempted to serve a copy of the letter on the Police counsel, Emmanuel Eze in court, but he declined service.
Reacting to Abunike’s submission, Eze informed the court that he only sighted the letter in court, adding that the letter was signed by one Saheed Sanni, a lawyer in Ogungbeje’s law firm.
Against this backdrop, Eze p the court to reject the excuse and consider Ogungbeje’s excuse as an affront to the court, adding that it showed that the law firm was not serious.
Eze prayed the court to award a punitive cost of N100,000 against the applicant and his counsel.
Following, Eze’s prayer, Justice Anka, however, awarded a punitive cost of N20,000 against Ogungbeje for unprofessional conduct.
Anka, in his ruling said, “The court has noted the conduct of the counsel, who wrote to the court without copying other parties.
“This is unprofessional and the court hereby warns the counsel to desist from such a conduct; a punitive cost of N20,000 is hereby awarded for such conduct.”
Consequently, Justice Anka adjourned the case till July 20 for hearing.