‘Stop EFCC from forcing me to implicate Jonathan’
The detained cousin of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Robert Azibaola, has urged a Federal High Court in Lagos to declare as unlawful any attempt by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to make him indict the ex-President.
In a fresh suit filed on Wednesday, Azibaola’s lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, claimed that any attempt to make his client indict the ex-President was a violation of Section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, “which has outlawed the practice of arresting a citizen as ransom for the alleged offence of another citizen.”
Azibaola, who claimed to have been in the EFCC’s detention since March 23, is also, through Adegboruwa, urging the court to bar the EFCC from approaching any magistrate’s court to obtain any remand warrant extending his detention in the anti-graft agency’s facility.
The EFCC had reportedly detained Azibaola on the allegation that he diverted $40m through a company, One-Plus Holdings, which was awarded the contract of pipeline surveillance.
The EFCC had transferred him from Abuja to Lagos where it on April 22 obtained a warrant from a Lagos State Magistrate’s Court in Ikeja to remand him pending conclusion of investigation into his alleged crime.
But in the new fundamental rights enforcement action filed on Azibaola’s behalf on Wednesday, Adegboruwa contended that the EFCC could not rely on sections 293 and 294 of the ACJA to continue to detain his client.
He claimed that those sections of the law were designed for criminal offences such as murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and treasonable felony, which attract capital punishment for which the police would need time to await a legal advice from the office of the Attorney-General.
Azibaola, who claimed that he is being persecuted based on his blood relation with ex-President Jonathan, also accused the EFCC of having perfected the plan to keep transferring him from state to state in order to keep renewing the remand warrant to ensure that he was perpetually kept in detention.
He urged the court to order the EFCC to immediately charge him to court or release him if it was not ready to do so.
The suit which was filed on Wednesday has yet to be assigned to any judge and no hearing date has been fixed.