By Innocent Anaba
LAGOS—Former militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, to refer his case against the Federal Government to the Court of Appeal, for its opinion on certain questions of law raised in the suit.
At the resumed hearing in the matter weekend, before Justice Olatoregun-Ishola, Tompolo, through his counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, argued that since the points of law raised in the main originating suit were very substantial, it would be better to refer them to the Court of Appeal for its opinion.
It will be recalled that on April 8, 2016, Tompolo filed a fresh action before the Federal High Court, Lagos, asking for an interpretation and nullification of certain sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, which he stated affected his constitutional rights.
Earlier on January 14, 2016, the Federal High Court, through Justice Ibrahim Buba, had issued a warrant for the arrest of Tompolo. On January 27, 2016, Tompolo filed an application before the court, to set aside the said warrant of arrest. On February 8, 2016, the said application was argued and dismissed by the court. Tompolo thereafter, appealed against the ruling of the court, on February 18, 2016, at the Court of Appeal.
In the fresh suit before the Federal High Court, Lagos, defendants are the Federal Government of Nigeria, Attorney-General of the Federation, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Inspector-General of Police, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff.
Tompolo is contending that sections 221 and 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act are invalid and unconstitutional, in so far as they seek to prevent the court from exercising its jurisdiction to entertain any objection to a criminal charge and an application for a stay of proceedings pending appeal.
He is thus asking the court to stop his further trial until the determination of these issues. The Federal Government has asked the court to dismiss the case for being an abuse of process and an attempt to shield Tompolo from trial.