Obanikoro drags EFCC to court for human right violations

…slams N100m suit

By OKOSUN DENNIS 

What appears to be an interesting legal battle has just begun as the former Minister of State for Defence; Musiliu Obanikoro has slammed a N100 million suit on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday for alleged violations of his fundamental human rights.

Obanikoro, who is presently resident at the United States of America with his family members, had his house ransacked in Lagos by operatives of the EFCC without following due process of the law.

He instituted a N100m suit as damages for the alleged unlawful and unconstitutional seizure and detention of several items, properties and personal effects belonging to him and family by the EFCC on June 24, 2016.

Other applicants in the suit are: Mrs. Fati Obanikoro, Alhja Moroophat Obanikoro, Gbolahon Obanikoro, Babajide Obanikoro.

Before Friday’s court action against the anti-corruption agency, Obanikoro had boasted from his base in the USA that EFCC cannot extradite him to Nigeria to face the court.

The suit filed by his lawyer, Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN) is praying the court to restrain the EFCC whether by its officers, Servants, privies, assigns or agents from arresting, detaining, harassing any of the applicants or any of their relatives pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

The applicants also want the court to restrain the commission from further entering their premises and an order directing it to tender an unreserved public apology to them for the unlawful action.

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They are also asking the court to direct the respondent to release all the items, properties and personal effects seized from their premises.

The applicants further want the court to hold that the action of the EFCC constitute a gross violation of their fundamental rights as guarantee under Section 43 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

In a 15 paragraphs affidavit attached to the suit and sworn to by Mrs. Fati Obanikoro, states that on June 14 some officials of the EFCC numbering about 20 stormed their premises situated at 10 Mojisola Onikoyi Street, by Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos and took away several items.

She also alleged that the respondent thereafter proceeded to also search the personal house of the former Minister at 4 Layi Ajayi-Bembe road, Parkview,  Ikoyi, Lagos

She also claimed that before the alleged invasion of the premises there was no prior notice by way of letter or invitation served on any of the applicants and there was also no order of court mandating them to carry out the action.

She list some of the items seized by the Commission to include: building plans, cheque leaflets, company documents, car keys, phones, two company seals and six company stamp

The applicant further averred that the EFCC officials claimed that they are investigating the former Minister and two of his children but some of the properties taken away do not belong to them.

No date has been for the hearing of the suit

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