- Godwin Obla says the EFCC erred in keeping him beyond 24 hours and in seizing his phone thereby violating his fundament rights
- Obla's lawyer Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) said, to prevent the EFCC from treating anybody under investigation shabbily like that ever again, the anti-corruption agency should pay his client N1billion in damages
Lawyer Godwin Obla, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has slammed N1billion lawsuit on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for violation of his fundamental human rights.
The Punch reports that Obla is urging the court to declare illegal his detention by the EFCC beyond 24 hours and also declare the seizure of his phone as a violation of his rights to own property.
Obla had been detained by the anti-corruption body for reportedly offering N5m bribe to embattled Federal High Court judge Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia.
Obla’s counsel Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), while arguing before Justice Mohammed Idris of Federal High Court in Lagos where the case was filed, said his client visited the EFCC office on November 8 and had been detained by the anti-graft agency since then without a lawful court order.
“It is either we have a constitution or we don’t and we do have a constitution. The provisions of the ACJL (Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State) that they fly up and down cannot override the provisions of the constitution and I urge My Lord to strike them down. It is high time Your Lordship made an order,” Adedipe said.
He further argued that the EFCC violated Obla’s right by seizing his phone after the EFCC had said it had concluded its investigation.
“The respondent is oppressing my client and I urge My Lord to put an end to this,” Adedipe said.
He then urged Justice Idris to order the immediate release of his client and his mobile phone and to award N1bn damages against the EFCC “so that tomorrow, they won’t do it.”
But EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo urged Justice Idris to rule that all the steps it took against Obla were allowed by law. He said Obla was under investigation and was being detained because of reasonable suspicion of having committed a crime.
He added that the EFCC, in order to conclude its investigation, on November 8, obtained an order of a magistrate’s court to remand Obla for 14 days on November 9.
“By virtue of Section 264 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, the magistrate’s court has the power to order the remand of any suspect having found that there was a reasonable suspicion,” Oyedepo argued.
“Your Lordship is enjoined not to be used as a shield against lawful prosecution. We should not be restrained from carrying out our lawful assignment,” Oyedepo prayed.
The case was adjourned till Friday, November 25 for Justice Idris to give his ruling after listening to the parties.
Meanwhile, in continuation of its anti-corruption war, the EFCC has started the hunt for Mrs. Moji Ladeji, who is the sister of Governor Ayodele Fayose, over one N200m house located at 44 Osun Crescent, Maitama in Abuja.
It is alleged that the house was bought by Fayose from proceeds of corrupt practices but the title documents of the house bear the name of Fayose’s sister.