A retired staffer of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Made Oguntoyinbo and his wife, Titilayo, were, on Thursday, arraigned before a Federal High Court, Abuja, for allegedly acting as brokers to get international passport for applicants.
The defendants of No. 1, Babali Crescent, Nuwalege, Airport Road, Abuja, however, pleaded not guilty to the offence.
The defendants, who appeared before Justice Anwuli Chikere, were docked on a count bordering on acting as brokers on behalf of prospective passport applicants within the vicinity of a passport office.
They were said to have committed the offence at the NIS Headquarters, Sauka, Abuja on April 26, 2019.
According to the prosecutor, Kennedy Uduojie, the offence contravenes Section 10(1)(f) and punishable under Section 10(1)(h) of the Immigration Act, 2015.
Following the defendants’ not guilty plea, the defence counsel, Boonyameen Lawal, made a bail application on their behalf.
NAN reports that the application, which was not opposed by Uduojie, was in line with Section 158 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.
The judge granted the defendants bail in the sum of N1million each, with one surety in like sum.
Chikere court also ordered that the defendants must deposit their international passports, if any, with the court’s registrar.
The sureties, according to the judge, must be reasonable and responsible citizens of Nigeria and must drop their two passport photographs at the court registry.
He, thereafter, adjourned the case till February 8, 2021, for commencement of trial.
NAN reports that the first defendant, Oguntoyinbo, had earlier instituted an enforcement of fundamental human rights suit against NIS before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the same court.
Oguntoyinbo had claimed that his fundamental human right was violated when his vehicle was impounded by the Service over the allegation of acting as a broker.
The court, in its judgment on October 19, had ordered that the said vehicle be released to Oguntoyinbo forthwith.
In addition, the court awarded N1 million to Oguntoyinbo as damages, with an order of payment of N75,000 as the money he (Oguntoyinbo) claimed to be inside the car at the time it was impounded.
NAN reports that Oguntoyinbo had also dragged his former employer, NIS, before the National Industrial Court, Abuja, for allegedly not promoting him for 25 years and retiring him with the same rank with which he joined the organisation.
The court, in 2019, delivered judgment in Oguntoyinbo’s favour and also awarded damages of N2million against NIS.