A 33-year-old Nigerian national detained at an immigration centre in Malaysia for the last one month, has been served a deportation order despite having paid his fine for a drink-driving offence, his lawyer said on Thursday, April 15.
Aimon Adavize Momoh, who has been married to a Malaysian auditor, Low Kar Hui, for the past eight years and has a valid visa, was arrested at a roadblock in Cheras, Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor in the early hours of March 15, 2021 on suspicion of drink-driving.
He pleaded guilty in court the same day, paid the RM12,000 fine, and his wife was told he would be released at 5pm.
However, he was taken to the Kajang prison and later transferred to the Semenyih immigration detention centre where he has been since then.
Authorities previously denied access for Vemal and Low to meet Momoh, citing Covid-19 restriction.
Momoh’s lawyer, V Vemal Arasan said the deportation order was emailed to his wife, Low Kar Hui, on Wednesday evening, asking her to prepare arrangements for her husband’s flight back to Nigeria.
He said that according to the deportation order, Momoh is deemed a prohibited immigrant pursuant to Section 8(3)(d)(i)(ii) of the Immigration Act.
Vemal also told High Court judge Ab Karim Ab Rahman during a habeas corpus hearing to seek the release of Momoh that he had been unable to meet with his client at the detention centre on Wednesday.
The lawyer said immigration officers told him there had been a power outage.
He said he needed to see Momoh to enable them to prepare a proper submission, adding that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had agreed for him to liaise with his client.
The High Court judge set next Wednesday, for a full hearing of his habeas corpus application.
Vemal told reporters later there was no provision in the law to compel Momoh’s wife to purchase a flight ticket for him to leave the country, adding that they may be writing an appeal to the government.
He also said he had asked the AGC to instruct the immigration authorities to allow him to see Momoh next Monday.
Vemal filed the habeas corpus application on April 1, naming the Immigration Department, the Prisons Department and the home ministry as respondents.
Meanwhile, a member of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has said that the continued detention of Simon Adavize Momoh without a valid reason is worrying and will have a prolonged impact on his two young daughters, too.
Noor Aziah Mohd Awal, a child commissioner, said there was no doubt that the unexpected imprisonment of Momoh had traumatised his children.
“Momoh is a stay-at-home dad and takes care of his two daughters, Divine, eight, and Elisha, five, as his long-term spouse visa does not allow him to work in the country. He is married to Malaysian Low Kar Hui,” she said.
“The girls have been looked after by their dad all this while but, suddenly, he is not home. Any form of separation from the person that regularly looks after you will affect anyone, particularly children,”
“Now, they could have developed a fear of their father being taken away from them or, worse, being sent back to his home country, where they will not be able to see him at all” she added.
She called for Momoh’s immediate release, saying there was no reason to detain him for a longer period of time as he had served his sentence.
Noor Aziah said the Nigerian national had admitted to his drink-driving offence and paid the fine.
“The government must justify the further detention or they can be sued for unlawful detention. Why are they doing this to the children, and to the husband of a fellow Malaysian?” she questioned, adding that Momoh’s visa had not expired yet.