By Alex Enumah in Abuja
Justice Nkeonye Maha of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Monday ordered the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to appear before it on Thursday over legal issues relating to the assets and properties of former Zamfara State Governor Abdulazeez Yari.
The defendants are to give reasons why the court should not restrain them from among other actions, freeze the bank accounts and or confiscate his immovable properties anywhere in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
The judge made the order after listening to the arguments canvassed in a motion exparte by Mahmud Magaji (SAN), lawyer to the ex governor.
The motion exparte marked FHC/ABJ/CS/948/2019 was brought pursuant to section 46(1) and (3) of the 1999 constitution and order 4 rule 3 and 4 of the fundamental rights (enforcement procedure) rules 2009.
Justice Maha equally ordered that the respondents be served with the court processes within 48 hours and adjourned further proceedings to Thursday.
The respondents in the suit are the AGF and EFCC.
Yari, in the suit supported by a 17-paragraph affidavit, specifically accused the respondents of persecuting him and members of his family over the turnout of political events in Zamfara State.
The affidavit, deposed to by one Affis Matanmi, traced the genesis of the case against Yari to the political events within the Zamfara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that eventually led to the party losing the state to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by the judgment of the Supreme Court.
It stated: “That after the decision of the Supreme Court, some aggrieved individuals who are very powerful decided to use agents of the 1st and 2nd respondents against the applicant.
“These individuals thus decided to carry out a vendetta and revenge against the applicant including instigating the respondents against the applicant upon their spurious conclusion without evidence that he was guilty of corrupt practices as former governor of Zamfara State and was in breach of the Code of Conduct Act.
“This witch-hunt is clearly politically motivated, baseless, and has been designed only to discredit and humiliate the applicant in a bid to decimate him politically.”
The former governor submitted that the action of the EFCC has made it impossible for him to exercise his right or his freedom of movement without fear of being arrested and intimidated by the commission.
Yari claimed that he fully declared all his assets in accordance with the Code of Conduct for public officers prior to assuming office as a governor and that he has not committed any offence to warrant the threats of seizure of his assets and properties most of which were acquired even before he became governor of the state.
He is therefore praying the court for “an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents from seizing, impounding, taking over, confiscating or otherwise forfeiting his assets and properties wherever they may be located within Nigeria or anywhere in the world pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
“An order of interim injunction restraining the respondents from unlawfully interfering with his rights to sections 34, 35, 41 and 43 of the 1999 constitution until the hearing and determination of the substantive suit”.