$40m Contract: Jonathan’s Cousin Drags FG, EFCC to Court over Continuous Detention


Akinwale Akintunde

A Niger-Delta activist, Mr. Azibaola Robert, thursday urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to restrain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from issuing a remand warrant against him.

Azibaola is a human rights activist and cousin of former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

He filed the suit through his lawyer, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, challenging his unlawful detention.
Robert is praying the court to stop the respondent from applying for a new remand warrant against him from any court in Nigeria, adding that such attempt would be a ploy to keep him in custody indefinitely.

In his affidavit of facts, the applicant argued that he was commissioned by the federal government to execute an assignment to network with all stakeholders for the purpose of preventing oil pipelines vandalism, oil bunkering and crude oil theft.

He averred that the assignment was duly executed upon payment.
According to the applicant, on March 23, he honoured an invitation to the Abuja office of the EFCC but to his surprise, he was kept in custody since then.

Robert is claiming that under section 8 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, he should not be arrested or prosecuted for any civil contract or transaction.

He is therefore urging the Federal High Court to hold that sections 293 and 294 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, relied on by the EFCC, deals with criminal offences attracting capital punishment and not financial crimes.

He is also praying the court to hold that the attempt by the EFCC to force him to implicate the former president, is contrary to section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

He argued that the Act has outlawed the practice of arresting a citizen as ransom for the alleged offence of another citizen.

The applicant consequently seeks an order, directing the respondent to forthwith abstain from applying for a remand order against him over matters pertaining to financial crimes.

He is seeking an order, directing the respondents, whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise, to forthwith release him from unlawful custody.

In the alternative, the applicant is praying the court for an order, directing the respondent to institute a criminal charge against him and arraign him before any court of competent jurisdiction.

The applicant is also in the alternative, seeking the court order, directing the respondent to forthwith grant bail him on liberal terms or upon any such conditions of bail already granted by any court of competent jurisdiction.
The applicant’s suit is No.FHC/L/CS/596/2016 and is yet to be assigned to a trial judge for hearing.