Court Urged To Commit 3 Civil Servants To Prison For Alleged Contempt 

A Lagos Federal High Court, has been urged to commit to prison, three members of the Association of Senior Civil Servants Of Nigeria (ASCSN) for alleged flagrant disobedience to the orders of the court.

Those urged to commit to prison in Forms 48 and 49 before the court are: Comrade Innocent Bola-audu; Clinton Uranta and Comrade Acho Gamaliel Chinyere, listed as second to fourth applicants in the suit numbered FHC/L/CS/1674/2022.

The three contemnors, were alleged to have disobeyed an Order of the Court  made on October 26, 2022, by Justice Daniel Osiagor, which set aside an Exparte order made in their favour against nine others.

Defendants in the suit are: The Inspector General Of Police (IGP); Assistant Inspector General (AIG) FCID, Alagbon Close, Ikoyi, Lagos; COP, Federal Capital Territory Command, Abuja; AIG, Special Protection Unit, Abuja; COP, Lagos State Police Command; Union Bank Plc; Zenith Bank Plc; First Bank Plc; GTCO (formerly GTB Plc) 

Following the alleged contemnors’ disobedience to the Exparte orders granted in their favour, the defendants through the counsel, Johnson Odion Esezoobo, urged the court to commit them to prison.

The defendants’ motion on notice according to their counsel, was pursuant to order 35 Rules 1, 2, 3, Federal High Court (Civil Procedure); Rules 2019; Order 9 Rule 13(1) Of Judgment (Enforcement) Rule;  Sections 6 (6)(b), 36(1) & 287(3) Of The Constitution of the  The Federal Republic Of Nigeria 1999 As Amended and Inherent Powers of the Court.


The defendants stated that at on Monday, October 31, 2022, the alleged Contemnors deliberately resisted the bailiff of the Court, Mr. T. K. Lawal, in the enforcement of the Order, when they allegedly refused to accept the Order and allow the persons in possession before the Ex-Parte Order of September 13, 2022, into the Secretariat, thereby forcing the Bailiff to paste the Order on the walls/doors of the Secretariat 

They also stated that the alleged Contemnors have in collusion with, and assistance of men and officers of the first to fifth defendants, remained in possession of the Secretariat, thereby deliberately disobeying the clear Order of October 26, 2022, 

They stated that the alleged actions of the Contemnors is against the Rule of law and dangerous to the society and requires to be sanctioned. 

Consequently, the defendants urged the court for “an order of Committal for contempt against all Contemnors jointly and severally in the following particulars to wit: for disobedience to the Order of this Honourable Court of October 26, 2022, which dismissed the suit and directed further “that Exparte order of September 13, 2022 is hereby set aside and all actions taken pursuant to the Order reversed, 
“That the matter returned to status quo ante bellum, thus those in possession of the Secretariat prior to the Order of Court are restored to possession while those that were signatories to the accounts prior to the Order of Court are restored to operate the Account…” 

“An order of Committal for contempt against the third contemnor (Clinton Uranta) for deliberate perjury and false affidavits on oath in two different names of Clinton Uranta and Joseph Nwatu and three different affidavits on September 5, 2022, with which the Contemnors obtained Ex-Parte Orders of this Honourable Court on the of September 23, 2022 to take possession of the first applicant’s Secretariat at No. 2, Dapo Bode Thomas, Via Montgomary Road, Off Thorburm Street, Yaba, Lagos on the 21st of September 2022. 

“An order of Committal for contempt against first and second Contemnors for Issuing letters to the fifth to ninth defendants as well as Press Releases to members of the public to disregard and not obey or enforce the Order of the court of October 26, 2022.”

The defendants in an affidavit in support of the motion for committal proceedings, deposed to by Comrade Joshua Apebo, the ASCSN’s Deputy Secretary General stated the followings: “that know as a fact that this honourable Court made an Order on October 26, 2022, dismissing the suit in this case and directing further that Exparte Order of September 13, 2022, is set aside and all actions taken pursuant to the Order reversed.

“That the honourable court ordered that the matter returned to status quo ante bellum, thus those in possession of the Secretariat prior to the Order of Court are restored to possession while those that were signatories to the accounts prior to the Order of Court are restored to operate the Account…

“That as Deputy Secretary General of the Association, I knows as a fact that the Secretary General is Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal while the President is Comrade (Dr.) Tommy Etim Okon and these two principal officers of the Association are those falsely named as ‘suspects’ by the Contemnors in their initiating processes of September 5, 2022 and yet did not join them in the suit. 

“That I knows as a fact that Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal as Secretary General and Comrade (Dr.) Tommy Etim Okon as president and himself, among others, all as principal officers of the Association are the persons referred to in the Order of this honourable Court of October 26, 2022, as “…those in possession of the Secretariat prior to the Order of Court” and duly “restored to possession” by the said Order of October 26, 2022. 

“That I know as a fact that the contemnors are the persons who took over the Secretariat of the first Plaintiff/Applicant pursuant to the ExParte Order of September 13, 2022 and are still in possession to date despite the said Order of Court. 

“That | know as a fact that soon after the Order of Court on October 26, 2022, the Contemnors issued a letter to the Commissioner of Police Lagos State who is fifth defendant in the suit stating that the suit was instituted on his advice and requesting him to disregard the Order and not enforce it because it is vague, advisory and not binding or made for the benefit of anybody. 

“That | also know as a fact that second Contemnor also issued and signed a Press Statement on October 28, 2022 deliberately misinterpreting the Order to confuse members of the Associations as well as members of the Public to cause a disobedience of it. And that the Contemnors also wrote letters to all the Banks warning them against obeying the Order of Cour as shown in a copy of one of the letters to the seventh defendant, Zenith Bank Plc, falsely dated August 27, 2022, but actually delivered to the Bank on October 27, 2022 to deceive the whole world, exhibit JA3

“That Exhibit JA3 which was conjointly signed by the second Plaintiff and the third contemnor, Comrade Gamaliel Acho Chinyere as Acting Secretary General states inter alia thus: “The new signatories of the union’s bank accounts shall be Comrade Innocent Bola-Audu (the national President), Comrade (Mrs) Rahab A. Maigari (the National Treasurer) and Comrade Acho Gamaliel Chinyere”. 

“That conclusively, Exhibit JA3 stated thus: “Please be properly guided and adhere strictly to all the foregoing instructions, as any breach thereof shall prompt the union to institute an action in court for appropriate redress and substantial damages against your bank, and we also close the account and transfer all funds therein to another bank”, 

“That I verily believe that the above warning in Exhibit JA3 is in utter contempt of the Court and disobedience to the Order of 26 October 2022 and it is desirable to sanction the Contemnors for such conduct. 

“That I verily believe more particularly that the actions of Comrade Innocent Bola-Audu in this matter in writing letters and issuing Press Releases against and in contradiction of the Order of 26” October 2022 are unbecoming and utter contempt of the Honourable Court desirous punishment by committal to prison. 

“That I know as a fact that in writing the letters in contempt of the Order, the said Comrade Innocent Bola-Audu falsely used the letterhead of the first plaintiff, who | know very well as a law-abiding organisation never authorized any of the actions of the second plaintiff in Exhibits JA1, JA2 & JAS. 

“That I know as a fact that on Monday, October 31, 2022, a Bailiff of this Honourable Court, Mr. T. K. Lawal duly executed the Order of the Court of October 26, 2022 when he led us as principal officers of the Association to the Secretariat at its stated address but the contemnors refused to cooperate and accept the Order whereupon the said bailiff pasted the Order together with the ruling of the Court on the walls/doors of the Secretariat. 

“That further to paragraph 11 above, I know as a fact that rather than obey the Order of Court, the Contemnors secretly called in the DPO of Sabo Police Station who then invited us to the office of the 5th defendant at Ikeja where the said 5th defendant said we could not take possession of the Secretariat unless we brought a letter from the Court for verification of the Orders. 

That the said bailiff informed me at the Court premises on Monday, November 7, 2022 at about 11, 0’ clock and | verily believe him that he has put proof of service of the Order together with the Ruling by pasting in the Court’s file. 

“That I verily believe that all the actions of the contemnors highlighted herein in tnis supporting affidavit are in contempt of Court and utter disobedience of the Order of Court of 26th October 2022. 

“That I know as a fact that prior to the Order of October 26, 2022, the Ex-Parte Order of September 13, 2022, upon which the Contemnors are in possession were obtained upon false affidavits sworn to by the second Contemnor, Clinton Uranta who is neither a member nor a staff of the first Plaintiff/Applicant but falsely deposed on oath in the Verifying Affidavit and yet in another name of Joseph Nwatu an Affidavit of non-multiplicity of action on the same subject matter, both of September 5, 2022. Copies of the affidavits are attached hereto and marked Exhibits JA4 & JA5 respectively. 

“That notwithstanding the pasting of the Order on October 26, 2022, after they refused to accept the Order of October 26, 2022, as aforesaid, the Contemnors have continued to remain in possession in deliberate disobedience of the Order of Court.” 

“That I verily believe that the Contemnors deliberately set out from the beginning to play fraud on the Court when they carefully used the second Contemnor to swear to false affidavits and they have taken the last desperate step by daring the Court by deliberately disobeying the subsequent Order of October 26, 2022 and it is desirable to commit the Contemnors to prison to purge themselves of contempt.”

The alleged contemnors are yet to file any response against the motion and court is yet to fix a date for hearing of the motion.