Jonathan’s Cousin, Azibaola, Challenges EFCC, Alleges Breach of Fundamental Rights

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Mr Robert Azibaola, a cousin to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has asked a Federal High Court, Lagos to declare that the EFCC has no power to remand suspects under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).

Azibaola, a lawyer and environmental activist, had filed the suit following his arrest and detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in April 2016.

He has since been arraigned and granted bail by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Azibaola, in the suit filed on his behalf by a Human Rights lawyer, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa,  joined the EFCC, and the Attorney-General of the Federation as respondents.

He is challenging his alleged illegal detention.

On Tuesday, Adegboruwa informed the court that he was ready to move the applicant’s originating summons.

However, Justice Mojosola Olatoregun, asked him to return on another date for the hearing.

She, consequently, fixed July 5, for hearing.

Azibaola had been accused of receiving 40 million dollars in September 2014 from a former National Security Adviser Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) for supplying “tactical communication kits”.

The commission said he received another N650 million from Dasuki on Dec. 8, 2014.

The plaintiff, however, is praying the court to hold that sections 293 and 294 of the ACJA 2015, which the EFCC relied on to secure remand orders from magistrate courts, were inapplicable in his case.

He said the sections were for capital offences such as murder, armed robbery, kidnapping or treasonable felony, for which a legal advice from the Attorney-General is required before a charge is filed.

Azibaola said that the sections do not apply to financial crimes.

He is also praying the court to hold that EFCC’s alleged attempt to force him to implicate Jonathan is contrary to section 7 of the ACJA, which he said has outlawed the practice of arresting a citizen in lieu of another.

The applicant said that he was engaged to meet with stakeholders in the Niger Delta to explore how to prevent oil pipelines vandalism, oil bunkering and crude oil theft, among others.

According to him, the assignment was duly executed upon payment, adding that under Section 8 of the ACJA, he should not be arrested or prosecuted for a civil contract or transaction.

He avers that he is being persecuted on account of his blood ties with Jonathan.

Meanwhile, in its processes, EFCC denied detaining the applicant illegally, describing his claims as unfounded.

The commission said Section 264 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2011 empowered it to detain suspects based on remand warrants issued by magistrate courts. (NAN)

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