Former FCT Minister Asks Court to Order His Release Seeks N100m damages


Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

Detained former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Bala Mohammed, has dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before an Abuja High Court asking for an order for his immediate release.
He is also asking the court to award the sum of N100 million against the commission for illegally detaining him.

The case has been assigned to Justice Baba Yusuf who has fixed the case for Thursday. In a15-paragraph affidavit in support of the originating motion, the applicant stated that he was invited by the EFCC to report to its office on October 24, 2016 in connection with investigation into alleged cases of conspiracy, abuse of office and money laundering.

The affidavit deposed to by one Umar Aliyu Usman stated that the applicant (Bala Mohammed) voluntarily reported to the EFCC on October 24, 2016 and was promptly arrested and detained till date.

He said the applicant was not released on bail, but was merely dumped and abandoned in the respondent’s cell since then, wherein he had suffered substantial deterioration of his health and untold psychological trauma and mental torture.

In suit marked FCT/CV/220/2016 filed by his counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN the applicant asked the court for an order compelling and directing the EFCC to release him on bail forthwith or immediately arraign him before a competent court of law for trial.

He is further seeking a declaration that his arrest and detention since October 24, 2016 till date by the EFCC was illegal, unlawful, unreasonable, unjustified and unconstitutional.

A declaration by the court that he is entitled to be released on bail by the EFCC pending the investigation of allegations against him pending any arraignment before a court of law.

The former minister further asked for an order enforcing and restoring his fundamental right to personal liberty enshrined and guaranteed by Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution, which has been violated and is being violated by the respondent.

He is asking for the sum of N100 million as special and general damages against the EFCC for the illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional arrest and detention.