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Azibaola Robert sues EFCC over arrest

By Innocent Anaba

Cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan,  Azibaola Robert, has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to declare that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has no power to remand suspects under sections 293 and 294 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015.

Robert, a lawyer and environmental activist, filed the suit following his arrest and detention by the commission last April.

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

Robert was accused of receiving $40 million in September 2014 from the former National Security Adviser, NSA,  Col Sambo Dasuki (retd) to supply “tactical communication kits.”

EFCC

The commission alleged that he received another N650 million from Dasuki on December 8, 2014.

Robert had sued the EFCC, Attorney-General of the Federation and the Federal Government over his detention.

His counsel, Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, who filed the suit in Lagos, argued that he was ready to move his client’s originating summons.

Trial judge, Justice Mojosola Olatoregun, however, asked him to return on another date for the hearing.

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

Robert said the sections do not apply to financial crimes.

Robert is also praying the court to hold that EFCC’s alleged attempt to force him to implicate former President Jonathan was 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 the Federal Government engaged him to meet with stakeholders in the Niger Delta to explore how to prevent oil pipelines vandalism, oil bunkering and crude oil theft, among others, which he did.

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, adding that he was being persecuted on account of his blood relationship with Jonathan.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun adjourned till July 5 for hearing.

EFCC denied detaining Robert illegally, adding that the claim that it (EFCC) was trying to force him to implicate the former president was untrue.

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

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun adjourned till July 5 for hearing.


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