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Court reserves judgment in suitby Fayose’s aide till Tuesday

Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of a High Court of the
Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Maitama has
reserved judgment in a fundamental rights suit
filed against the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC) by an aide to Governor
Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, Abiodun Agbele.
Agbele slammed a N500 million Naira suit against
the EFCC challenging the legality of his detention
without trial since June 27, 2016 by the anti-graft
agency and the enforcement of his fundamental
right to liberty in line with provisions of the 1999
Constitution (as amended).
Agbele in the suit claimed that he has been in
detention at the custody of the EFCC since June
27, this year in respect of an alleged N1.3 billion
reportedly traced to Fayose’s personal account.
Agbele, in the court action instituted on his
behalf by Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and legal
practitioner, Olalekan Ojo, prayed the court to
award him a sum of N500 million as
compensatory damages for his unlawful arrest
and detention.
At the sitting of the court yesterday, Ozekhome
informed the court that the matter before it is an
application for the enforcement of Agbele’s
fundamental rights dated and filed on July 11,
Ozekhome told the court that the applicant has
presented a 33-paragraph affidavit and a 9-
paragraph affidavit of urgency in support of the
Citing amongst others, Sections 34(1), 36(1), 37,
44(1), 46(1) of the 1999 Constitution, Ozekhome
urged the court to grant the application for the
release Agbele in either self-recognizance or in
liberal terms, as the offences are bailable.
He faulted the detention of his client for about
three weeks, recalling that Agbele was earlier
granted bail on stringent conditions that he was
unable to meet.He told the court that the EFCC
had asked for more time to investigate further
and urged the court to not grant the request of
the EFCC, citing on point of law, a Supreme Court
judgment in Gani Fawehinmi vs. IGP, where the
apex court held that arrests could only be made
after investigations have been conducted.
Respondent Counsel, Andrew A. Akoja, in
opposition to the application, said: “We are
fortified by Exhibits: EFCC 09 and 12 which are
orders made by a court in Nigeria. “We admit
that a Magistrate Court is an inferior court to
your lordship’s, but statutes have bestowed
powers on the court to act as it has done in this
Akoja alleged that Agbele had been evasive when
he was sought for cooperation and it took a
special unit to track him down.On the issue of
stringent bail conditions imposed on him, Akoja
told the court that Agbele did not approach the
court to seek variation of the bail conditions if he
indeed claimed it was stringent, but proceeded to
file a fundamental rights suit instead.
He said the second remand order acquired on
July 13 in Lagos was a warrant of a court and
therefore urged Justice Olukayode to hold that the
Lagos Magistrate Court that granted the order, in
its respect, would not have granted the order if
the applicant had been innocent.He said: “Bail is
at the discretion of a court. The same court that
has the power to grant bail has the power to
Akoja insisted that Agbele would jump bail if
granted, because a lot has passed through him.
While he repeated that the applicant is not
innocent, Justice Adeniyi was quick to remind
him that a person is innocent before the law until
it is proven otherwise, more so as Agbele had not
been charged with of any crime yet.
Akoja told the court that a remand order had
been obtained by EFCC to make the arrest and
detention legal and in due process of the law and
therefore urged the court to dismiss the
application for lacking merit, baseless and
Ozekhome in his response, said: “The last time I
checked, the Nigerian criminal justice system is
accusatorial and not the French model of
inquisitorial, where guilt is assumed and
innocence will need to be proven.”
Ozekhome concluded that it is impunity on the
part of the respondent to have gone to another
court to seek an order that may seem to have
been done to render the court helpless.Justice
Adeniyi, after taking the submissions of both
parties, reserved judgment in the matter till next
Tuesday, July 19.

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