Lagos—A Federal High Court situated in Lagos, yesterday, penalised a cost of N20,000 against Mr Olukoya Ogungbeje, counsel to suspected kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, a. k. a Evans.
Trail judge, Justice Abdulazeez Anka also warned Ogungbeje to put a stop to practices unbecoming of a legal practitioner.
The judge said this while adjourning the fundamental rights suit on behalf of Evans by Ogungbeje, over alleged illegal detention.
Respondents in the suit are the Nigeria Police Force, Lagos State Police Command, the Commissioner of Police Lagos State and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
Evans had sought a court’s order directing the respondents to immediately charge him to court in accordance with constitutional provisions, if there existed any case against him.
In the alternative, he had prayed the court for an order, compelling the respondents to immediately release him unconditionally in the absence of any charge.
The case, which was scheduled for yesterday, could not proceed as Ogungbeje was absent in court.
When the case was called, a litigation officer from Ogungbeje’s law firm, Mr Stephen Abunike, told the court that his principal was indisposed and had written a letter seeking an adjournment.
In response, counsel to the Police, Mr Emmanuel Eze, told the court that he had only sighted the letter in court, noting that the letter was signed by one Saheed Sanni, a lawyer in Ogungbeje’s law firm.
Eze urged the court to reject the excuse and consider same as an affront to the court, adding that it showed that the law firm was unserious, as well award a punitive cost of N100,000 against the applicant and his counsel.
In a short ruling, Justice Anka awarded a punitive cost of N20,000 against Ogungbeje for what he described as unprofessional conduct.
The judge noted that while Ogungbeje had written a letter to the court, he did not send a copy of the letter to the counsel for the police.