A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday struck out a suit seeking the imprisonment of Dr. Sam Amadi, Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, for allegedly disparaging the judiciary.
Mr. Toluwani Adebiyi, applicant in the committal application, had said Amadi was liable to be jailed for accusing judges of frustrating the reforms in the power sector by granting “reckless and inconsiderate injunctions” against NERC.
Amadi was said to have made the allegation in a petition he wrote to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, against Justice Idris, who restrained NERC from increasing electricity tariff in the country.
The NERC boss in the petition, reportedly wrote, “My Lord, permit me to bring to your notice a subtle threat that can undermine the success of the power sector reforms.
“This threat is in the form of an increasing spate of seemingly reckless and inconsiderate interim injunctions that have been issued against the commission and electricity distribution companies at the instance of consumers, who have not made out clear case meriting such intervention by the court.”
Adebiyi had filed a Form 48, asking Amadi to appear in court to substantiate his allegations and explain why he should not be jailed.
But Justice Mohammed Idris, at the hearing of the committal application on Wednesday, urged Adebiyi to withdraw the application, saying the polity was already too heated at the moment that he would want to be saved the trouble.
He, however, condemned Amadi’s petition in strong words, describing it as uncalled for and reckless.
“Without the Form 48, I can even order Amadi to come and explain the content of his petition. I’m not saying that people cannot complain about what we do here, but certainly not to clearly lie against us.
“I was very upset because it was nothing but a reckless exercise of executive powers which was clearly intended to intimidate the court.
“It is not my style and I want to plead with lawyers to save me from that hurdle. But Amadi should be warned not to play politics with matters in court. They should leave the court out of politics and allow us to deal with substantial justice,” Idris said.
Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), counsel for NERC, who was also in court, condemned Amadi’s petition and promised to reach his client to appropriately apologise to the judge.
Meanwhile, the judge granted an application by electricity distribution companies in the country seeking increment in electricity tariff.
Further proceedings on the case have been adjourned till November 24, 2015.
By Patrick Aigbokhan