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First Bank Top Officials Face Contempt Lawsuit

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First Bank of Nigeria Top Officials Face Contempt Lawsuit
Mrs. Ibukun A. Awosika; the current Managing Director, Mr. Adesola K. Adeduntan and Francis O. Shobo, the bank’s former Deputy Managing Director

Justice Peter Lifu of the Federal High Court, Lagos has fixed 25 March for the hearing of all applications in a contempt proceeding suit allegedly filed against First Bank Nigeria Limited and its three officials, by a judgment creditor, Abdulaziz M. H. Nyanko.

Others listed as alleged contemnors alongside First Bank are: its former Chairperson, Mrs. Ibukun A. Awosika; the current Managing Director, Mr. Adesola K. Adeduntan and Francis O. Shobo, the bank’s former Deputy Managing Director.

Justice Lifu had on 12 January 2024, fixed the date, after taking arguments from judgment Creditor/Applicant’s counsel, Olukoya Ogungbeje, and alleged contemnors’ counsel, E. A. Okorie.

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At the hearing of the suit, the judgment Creditor/Applicant, Nyanko, through his lawyer, informed the court that the business of the court was to hear the contempt application against First Bank and its officials, whom he said has continued to flagrantly disobey the garnishee Order Absolute granted by Justice M. B. Idris, now sitting as Appeal Court Judge on March 8, 2022, in suit marked FHC/L/CS/149/2019 between Abdulaziz M.H Nyako Vs Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Other.

Ogungbeje told the court that the contempt suit against the First Bank and its officials was under Section 72 of the Sheriffs And Civil Process Act; Order 35 Rules 1.2 (1)(2) of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2019; Order IX Rule 13 (2)(3) of the Judgments Enforcement Rules; Order 26 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2019 and under the Court’s Inherent Jurisdiction Preserved By Section 6 (6)(A)(B) of the 1999 Constitution of the. Federal Republic Of Nigeria.

Ogungbeje further submitted that since contempt proceedings is a criminal in nature, the alleged contemnors must first appear before the court before any application from them can be entertained.

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But counsel to First Bank and its co-alleged contemnors, Okorie, told the court that he has objections to the judgment Creditor/Applicant’s application.

Okorie told the court that his objection to the application is premised on jurisdiction, saying that the court lacks jurisdiction since an appeal has been entered.

However, Justice Lifu, after taking submissions from parties, adjourned to 25 March, for hearing of all applications in relation to the contempt suit.

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The judgment Creditor/Applicant has asked the court for the following: “A declaration that the contemnors sought to be committed are bound to obey and comply with the Garnishee Order Absolute, granted on the 8th of March 2022 in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/149/2019 Between AbdulAziz M.H Nyako Vs Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) & Ors, upon the disclosure of sufficient funds belonging to the Judgment debtors domiciled with them and in the absence of any pending positive order from this Honourable Court or Court of Appeal granting a stay of execution of the garnishee order absolute.

“An order of the Court convicting and committing the 1st Contemnor herein First Bank Of Nigeria Limited for willfully and deliberately disobeying the Order of this Honourable Court made on the 8th of March 2022.

“An order of the Court convicting and committing the 2nd Contemnor herein Ibukun A. Awosika to the Nigerian Correctional Services, Ikoyi for willfully and deliberately disobeying, the Order of this Honourable Court made on the 8th of March 2022

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“An order of the Court convicting and committing the 3rd contemnor herein Adesola K. Adeduntan to the Nigerian Correctional Services, Ikoyi service/ prison for willfully and deliberately disobeying the Order of this Honourable Court made on the 8th of March 2022

“An order of the Court convicting and committing the 4th Contemnor herein Francis O. Shobo to the Nigerian Correctional Services, Ikoyi service/prison for willfully and deliberately disobeying the Order of this Honourable Court made on the 8th of March 2022

“An order of the Court that all the contemnors shall remain committed and incarcerated in the Nigerian Correctional Services, Ikoyi Service/Prison Custody until they purge themselves of contempt of court.”

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