Managing Director Of NRC Summoned By Court - FOW 24 NEWS

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Managing Director Of NRC Summoned By Court

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered that the Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Fidet Okhiria, be remanded in prison for three months for contempt of court.

The court presided over by Justice Cecilia Mojisola Olatoregun made the order following his persistent refusal to appear before the court despite several summons.

In making the order, Justice Olatoregun said: “I have looked at the various affidavits placed before the court and have examined the papers filed from both sides. 

The contemnor in particular continued to disobey the law, even if he did not have the notice between February, March till date, he ought to have been guided by his lawyer. 

“He has not given reason to disobey the court. He treated the court order with levity. I’m left with no option than to convict him.

“I hereby sentence him to three months imprisonment.”

Justice Olatoregun further ordered that he should be in custody till September 25, 2018, when the case will continue.

Okhiria had through his lawyer sometime in March this year informed the court that he was out of the country on official assignment, following which, the court ordered him to show evidence of being away on official assignment outside the country as he claimed.

The former employee of the NRC, Mr. Benedict O. Iheakam, had approached the court through his counsel, Mr. Johnson Esezobo (counsel to judgement creditor), praying the court for an order committing to prison, the MD of the NRC, and the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Canise Oklahoma for alleged refusal to comply with court order for over 14 years.

Justice Dan Abutu had in a suit no: FHC/L/CS/926/95 declared in a judgment delivered on February 18, 2003, that Iheakam, a Principal Technical Officer’s purported retirement letter dated, November 1, 1994 was contrary to the contract of employment and was therefore unlawful, null and void.

However, since February 18, 2003 the management of NRC refused to reinstate the plaintiff and has also not paid his entitlements, notwithstanding that they lost in all their applications to appeal the judgment from 2005 to 2014 when the last application was struck out for incompetence.

Consequent upon this, the trial judge had on February 15, 2018 threatened to order arrest of Okhiria for his perpetual refusal to appear before the court in (committal proceeding) suit filed against him by the former employee of the NRC, Iheakam.

At the resume proceedings after the expiration of the one week ultimatum given by the court, counsel to Okhiria, Mr. Opeyemi Igbayiloye (counsel to the 2nd respondent judgement debtor) informed the court of his application (affidavit to show cause) dated February 21, 2018. 

Esezobo (counsel to judgement creditor) told the court he needed to file response to the application.

Igbayiloye said his 13-paragraph affidavit to show cause, sworn to by one Obiorah Emedolibe, stated “that initial non-compliance immediately was not deliberate nor attributable to the act or inaction of Okhiria but due to the misplacement of the judgement creditor’s personnel file, the retrenchment, retirement and or death of key staff conversant with the suit and the bureaucracy usually associated with the civil service.

Emedolibe who is the secretary of the NRC also averred that “Okhiria travelled out of the country to China on official duty since February 7, 2018, as part of federal government team on fund sourcing for the railway modernisation projects,” among other averments.

Sequel to his application, Justice Olatoregun therefore ordered Okhiria to show evidence, exhibiting his travelling document such as his international passport, flight ticket and visa on the next adjourned date.

She subsequently adjourned till March 9, 2018.

  At the last proceedings, the court directed Okhiria to show cause why he did not comply with court order. 

Justice Olatoregun also queried if Okihiria was bigger than the law.

“The order of the court must be always obeyed. He must not show himself to be above law. Is he too big to appear in court? I give him a week to obey court”, the judge declared.
Managing Director Of NRC Summoned By Court Reviewed by FOW 24 News on June 30, 2018 Rating: 5 A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered that the Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Fidet Okhiria, be rem...

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