Former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro yesterday slammed a N100 million suit on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the Federal High Court in Lagos over an alleged breached of his fundamental human rights.
The former Minister is demanding the sum as general 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, Alhaja Moroophat Obanikoro, Gbolahon Obanikoro, Babajide Obanikoro.
Obanikoro in the fundamental rights enforcement suit, filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN) , is also 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.
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 prayed the court to hold that the action of the EFCC constitutes a gross violation of their fundamental rights as guaranteed 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, stated 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 listed 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 stamps.
The applicant further averred that the EFCC officials claimed that they were investigating the former Minister and two of his children but some of the properties taken away did not belong to them.
She also insisted that unless the court issued an order compelling the commission, it will not return the seized properties.
No date has been for the hearing of the suit.