A Lagos-based lawyer, Toluwani Adebiyi, has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to jail the chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr. Sam Amadi, for allegedly disparaging the judiciary.
Adebiyi, who commenced contempt proceedings against Amadi on Monday, said the NERC boss was liable to be jailed except he appeared before the court to substantiate his allegations against some judges.
The committal action followed Amadi’s August 7, 2015 petition to the Chief Judge of Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, wherein he reportedly alleged that judges, under Auta’s watch, were frustrating reforms in the power sector by granting “reckless and inconsiderate injunctions” against the NERC.
In the said letter to Auta, Amadi had written, “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.”
The letter was apparently a reaction to a May 28 injunction of Justice Mohammed Idris barring NERC from hiking electricity tariff.
Idris had given the injunction in favour of Adebiyi, who prayed the court to stop NERC from hiking electricity tariff until Nigerians enjoy at least 18 hours of uninterrupted power supply.
NERC, through its lawyer, Mr. George Uwechue (SAN), also failed in its bid to convince Idris to vacate the restraining order on July 23, 2015.
Adebiyi, who said he had the duty to defend the integrity of the judiciary, where he is a minister, filed a Form 48 on Monday, asking the court to commit Amadi to jail, except he appeared in court to substantiate his allegations against judges.
“Take notice, that unless you can substantiate and justify your accusation as contained in your letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court dated 7th August, 2015, published in The Nation Newspaper of 18th August, 2015, of which you contemptuously in a very insulting and derogatory manner accused the court, casting aspersions in a way so prejudicing, in a matter pending before the court, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison,” Adebiyi said in his application, which has been slated for hearing on September 23, 2015.