Admin l Tuesday, February 7, 2023
LOKOJA, Nigeria – A Kogi State High Court, sitting in Lokoja has committed Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa to court for disobeying an order of the court in respect of prosecution of Governor Yahaya Bello nephew’s misappropriation of N10 billion.
The court specifically directed the Inspector General of Police to arrest the EFCC chairman and remand him in Kuje prison for the next 14 days until he is able to purge himself of contempt.
Justice Rukayat Ayoola granted the application for committal of the EFCC chairman to prison for disobeying a court ruling delivered on November 30, 2022, wherein the EFCC chairman was directed to produce Ali Bello, the nephew of the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bellow who is being prosecuted for misappropriation of N10 billion from the coffers of the Kogi state government.
Counsel to the applicant, Sumaila Abbas, had dragged Bawa to court for arresting and detaining Bello illegally for the N10 billion fraud with the court ruling in his favour.
The EFCC’s applications for setting aside and stay of execution of the ruling was refused for want of merit.
The Court had, in Form 49, Order IX, Rule 13, marked: “HCL/697M/2022” and titled “Notice to Show Cause Why Order of Committal Should not be Made,” asked the EFCC Chairman to appear before it on January 18, 2022 to explain why he should not be jailed for flouting the order given on December 12, 2022 in a case filed by Ali Bello against EFCC and Bawa, as the 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively.
The court had declared the arrest and detention of the applicant in the face of a subsisting court order made by a court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest “or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested” as unlawful, unconstitutional, and in contravention of the personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
The court had also ordered the respondents to tender an apology to the applicant in a national newspaper and awarded N10 million compensation for him.
The Form 49, issued on December 15, 2022, and addressed to Bawa reads, “Take notice that the Applicant will on the 18th day of January, 2023 at the hour of 9 o’ clock in the forenoon or so soon thereafter, apply to this Court for an order for your committal to prison for having disobeyed the order of this Court made on 12th day of December, 2022 that:
“That arrest and detention of the Applicant on the 29th November, 2022 by the 1st and 2nd Respondents in the face of a subsisting Court Order made by a Court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested is unlawful, unconstitutional and contravenes the Applicant’s right to personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
“Perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents, their agents, servants, privies, or however called from further arrest, detention, harassment and intimidation of the Applicant .
“An order directing the Respondents to tender an apology to the Applicant in any of the National Daily having nationwide coverage for the illegal detention and harassment of the Applicant.
“An Award of the sum of Ten Million Naira as general damages jointly and severally against the Respondents for the unlawful detention and harassment of the Applicant.”