By Innocent Anaba
LAGOS â€” FIRST son and family head of the late Senate President, Chief Evan Enwerem, Mr Miguel Enwerem, yesterday narrowly escaped being sent to two-week jail term for failing to comply with an order of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
Trial judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Ishola, had on July 14, restrained Miguel and his brother, Richard, from selling the property of their father pending the determination of a suit by the widow of the late politician, Mrs. Vivienne Enwerem.
The court had ordered Miguel and Richard to open an account and deposit all the funds generated from the said property in the name of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) approved rate, while the plaintiff (Mrs Vivienne) was ordered to sign an undertaking to pay damages to the respondents, should it turn out that the restraining order ought not have been made.
However, Miguel was said to have travelled out of the country without complying with the order of the court, a development that annoyed the judge,Â who ordered Miguel to proceed to the witness box to explain why he should not be jailed for not complying with the order of the court.
Miguel, while in the witness box, said: â€œMy Lord, I had a serious illness throughout August and in fact, throughout July, we had to study the accounts of the company to comply with the order of the court.â€
His counsel, however,Â pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, saying his client was a first offender, adding that if the court should send him to jail, it would worsen his health condition which is just stabilising.
Justice Olatoregun-Ishola, after the plea, however,Â rescinded her decision to send Miguel to jail, saying: â€œThe respondents are served with strong warning that if such act should repeat itself, I will not hesitate to send them to jail, even if counsel should encourage them not to comply with my order, I will not hesitate to send the counsel to jail as well. Orders of court are not made for fun, they are meant to be obeyedâ€.
She also awarded N50,000 costs against the defendants in favour of the plaintiff and adjourned the matter to December 9,Â for further hearing.
The plaintiff, it will be recalled had dragged the respondents to court,Â claiming that since the death of the late politician, Miguel and his brother, Richard have been collecting the rents of one of the property for their benefit without recourse to her.
The plaintiff is seeking for an order of the court,Â compelling the respondents to ensure the preparation of the financial statement of the company for the years 2007 and 2008 and file same at the Corporate Affairs Commission along with the annual returns of the company for those years.
She also want the court to order the two respondents to give an account of all the companyâ€™s monies that have came into their possession, including and not limited to rents received from 240 lockup shops and four warehouses at 94/96 Ladipo Street, Lagos since 2007.