Court serves notice of contempt to NAPTIP in Akwa Ibom
April. 13, 2019
A High Court sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State has served a notice of contempt of court to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters, NAPTIP, in the state.
The court had issued two orders to the agency on the April 3 and 10, respectively, asking the agency to produce the two children it allegedly took into custody but none of the orders had been complied with.
The order followed a suit No. HU/FC.MISC.5/2019, instituted by one Doris Daniels and Mr. Emmanuel Daniels against the agency and one Samson Samson, for allegedly taking custody of the said children while the case was still pending determination in a court of law.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Edet Ating, in his prayers had asked for an order of the court, mandating the agency to release the two children of the applicants whom he alleged “have been detained by the first respondent (NAPTIP) since March 3, 2019 or invoke section 1 of the Child Rights Law which states that “the welfare of the children is supreme” among others.
The presiding judge, Justice Winifred Effiong, upon consideration of the application of the counsel brought pursuant to Order 14 Rule 1 of the family court Civil Procedure Rules, 2013 and for the best interest of the children had ordered the children to be released to the applicants, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
According to the order, “It is hereby ordered that the 1st respondent, the National Agency for Prohibition in Persons and other related Matters should release to the applicants forthwith the children, Joshua Samson and Shekinah Samson, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
“That the children are to be produced before the next adjourned date.”
However, when the case came up for hearing on April 10, 2019, the 1st respondent was not in court.
A notice of consequence of disobedience to order of court addressed to the zonal commander of NAPTIP reads, “take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in this order you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed in prison”.
The matter which has been pending in court since 20th February, 2019 over proper custody of the two children took a different turn last Tuesday, when NAPTIP allegedly moved the two children, Mr. Joshua Samson and Miss Shekinnah Samson to unknown destination without the order of the court.
The Counsel to the Applicants/Plaintiffs, Edet Ating, Esq, said NAPTIP’s action was an aberration of judiciary and administrative procedure.
He said it was wrong for a Government Agency to act otherwise in a case pending determination in a competent court of records.
When contacted NAPTIP said it had received the notice but added that it would respond to it appropriately.
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