It was made known that Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of Federal High Court, Lagos, on Wednesday jailed an American for operating her mobile phone in court. Megan Chapman, Co – Executive Director, Community Legal Support Initiative was locked up by the judge at the court’s waiting cell for about 10 minutes, after an angry Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia walked her out. The American who was seated at the last bench, directly facing the judge, did not know that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia was noticing her ‘romance’ with her phone.
Having asked her to leave the court, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia directed her support staff to escort the American to the waiting cell, where she stayed for about 20 minutes. She later ordered her release following appeals from lawyers in court.
Confirming the incident, Chapman said she has learnt her lessons, adding that her action was not intentional. She said: “I was replying an urgent message. It was not like I intentionally disrespected the court but I have learnt my lessons. I have apologised to the court for my action.
“The prison officers were kind to and treated me well in the short period I was there.” Asked what brought her to court, Chapman said she came in respect of a fundamental rights suit her group filed against the Ojora of Lagos, Chief Abdul Fatai Aromire. The case marked FHC/L/CS/346 was instituted by the NGO on behalf of residents of Badia East in Apapa-Iganmu LCDA, who were not parties nor represented in suit LD/443/2002 decided by the Supreme Court.
The affected residents have allegedly been terrorised and threatened with demolition by Chief Aromire, who they claimed brandishes the Apex Court judgment to extort money from or dispossess them of their lands.