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Onyiuke suit : Court orders parties to regularise substantive application

By Abdulwahab Abdulah

Justice Ayotunde Philips of the Lagos High Court, Igbosere , on Tuesday directed  parties before it on the suit filed by the former Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Professor Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke to regularize all their processes filed before the court.

Prof. Onyiuke had filed a fundamental rights before the court asking it to restrain the respondents from violating any of her rights pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application before the court.Joined as defendants in the suit filed by her counsel, Chief Robert Clarke, SAN were the Economic and Financal Crime Commission (EFCC) the Nigerian Police, the NSE and the Securities and  Exchange Commission (SEC).

Okereke-Onyiuke, had prayed for an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents from violating any of her rights pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application.

She averred among others that since her removal on August 5, 2010, through a letter to her residence, series of strange faces both in mufti and uniform, strange vehicles, either of the EFCC or police had been parading her residence.

When the matter came up on Tuesday, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN) counsel to Okereke-Onyiuke pointed out that the preliminary objection filed by the EFCC was technically faulty hence his refusal to reply to it. Clarke informed the court that the Commission did not comply with the Lagos State Civil Procedure Rules, 2004.

Justice Philips took judicial notice of the technical faults contained in the preliminary objection filed by the EFCC and ordered all the parties in the suit to regularize their papers.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had challenged the jurisdiction of a Lagos High Court restraining the Commission from arresting sacked Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Professor Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke.

The preliminary objection brought pursuant to Order V111 Rule 1,2,4 and 5 of the Fundamental Human Rights Procedure Rules, 2009 stated that the court does not have the jurisdiction to make orders restraining the Commission from performing its statutory duty of investigation, arrest, and prosecution of crime.

Beside, EFCC maintained that courts of laws in Nigeria do not have the competence and jurisdiction to base decisions on speculative, hypothetical or moot issues arguing that the materials provided by the applicant (Okereke-Onyiuke) did not disclose a cause of action against the Commission.

The Commission described the suit as speculative, vexatious and abuse of the process of court.
Further hearing has been fixed for November 1, 2010.


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