…As Judge recuses self from suit due to unprofessional conduct of customer’s counsel
By Lawani Mikairu
The Nigeria Police Force has sued a businesswoman Mrs. Nneka Ogbonna and preferred two-count charges of aircraft hijacking and flight disruption on an Air Peace flight scheduled to depart Lagos for Warri on December 10, 2019.
According to the charges, the passenger had caused a delay of over 80 minutes on the flight by refusing to disembark from the Aircraft as ordered by the pilot following a series of extremely disturbing and disorderly conducts exhibited by her.
The charges are contained in a Federal High Court (Lagos Division) documents accessed by journalists, and dated January 25, 2021, with the case title ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria (Complainant) vs Mrs Nneka Ogbonna(Defendant)’.
The two-count charge reads: “That you Mrs Nneka Ogbonna, on the 10th December 2019, at the Domestic Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Ikeja, Lagos, within the Judicial Division of this honourable Court, while on board Air Peace Aircraft flight No 47210, did unlawfully, by threat of force, or intimidation, seize the doorway and staircase-way of the said flight and exercise control of the aircraft by not allowing passengers to board the said Air Peace Aircraft, thus attempted the hijacking of Air Peace flight No 47210, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 56(3) of Civil Aviation Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2006.
“That you, Mrs. Nneka Ogbonna, while on board Air Peace Aircraft, flight 47210, did disrupt service at the aerodrome of Murtala Muhammed International Airport by refusing to disembark when ordered by the Pilot to disembark from the Air Peace Aircraft, flight No 47210, causing an uproar and brawl, fighting the Cabin Crew in the bid to resist the Order to Disembark, which now disrupted the service at the aerodrome and equally delayed the flight from taking off at 11:06am and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 59(1) (b) of Civil Aviation Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2006″.
The charge notice was signed by Joseph Nwadike, Prosecution Counsel, Nigeria Police Force.
Meanwhile , the Federal High Court Judge presiding in the enforcement of fundamental human right suit filed by Mrs. Nneka Ogbonna against Air Peace Limited, the Nigerian Police and 4 others Justice (Prof) Obiozor recused himself from the ongoing proceedings due to the unprofessional conduct of the Applicant’s counsel.
The Applicant’s counsel, Mr. Ngozi Akandu had petitioned the Senate, Inspector General of Police and several organizations while the suit was still pending before the Court. The judge expressed his utmost displeasure at the counsel for his unprofessional act, which is channeled at painting the legal profession, particularly in negative light.
The judge further berated him because he had earlier counseled him ” against such unethical practice as they are inimical to any pending cause of action”. The case file has been transferred to the administrative judge for reassignment to another court.
Recalled that Mr. and Mrs. Ogbonna since last year have embarked on litigation against the Airline and campaign on various media platforms, alleging mistreatment by the airline’s staff on the said flight.