EFCC challenges restriction order on Okereke-Onyiuke


By Nicholas Ibekwe  August 20, 2010 12:28AM


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has challenged the jurisdiction of a Lagos High Court restraining it from arresting sacked Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke.


Mojisola Obadina, of the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, had on August 12, 2010, stopped the EFCC from “harassing, embarrassing, intimidating or threatening to arrest and detain” the former boss of the NSE. However, counsel to the EFCC, Godwin Obla, at the resumed hearing on the matter, before a vacation judge, Abisoye Esther Ayo, informed the court that the agency had filed a notice of preliminary objection against the order of the court. The preliminary objection, pursuant to Order V111 Rule 1,2,4 and 5 of the Fundamental Human Rights Procedure Rules, 2009, stated that the court does not have the jurisdiction to make orders restraining the EFCC from performing its statutory duties of investigation, arrest, and prosecution of crime.


No basis for restraining order

The EFCC also maintained that courts in Nigeria do not have the competence and jurisdiction to base decisions on “speculative, hypothetical or moot issues,” arguing that the materials provided by Mrs Okereke-Onyiuke did not disclose a cause of action against the agency. Mr Obla described the suit as “speculative, vexatious and abuse of the process of court.”


Robert Clarke, counsel to Mrs Okereke-Onyiuke, had earlier informed the court that all the respondents were served with court processes except the commissioner of police, Lagos State, who refused to accept court processes served on him. Mr Clarke told the court that all efforts made by him, including writing personal letter to the police boss proved abortive. The judge, Mrs Ayo, directed that all the processes should be taken to the legal department of the Lagos Police Command. The court adjourned till September 7, 2010, for hearing of the two applications.


Mrs Okereke-Onyiuke, had in the motion ex-parte brought under the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009 and under the Inherent Jurisdiction of the court, prayed for an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents from violating any of her rights pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application.


Fear of the unknown

She said that since her removal on August 5, 2010, through a letter to her residence, series of strange faces both in mufti and uniform, strange vehicles, either of the EFCC or police had been parading her residence. “Two black unregistered Highlander Toyota SUV buses” were sighted parading her residence repeatedly with their mission unknown to her. According to her, the immediate intervention of the court was required to protect her fundamental rights to life, movement and properties. And more importantly, from being intimidated, arrested, and detained since she has not been charged with any offence before a court of competent jurisdiction.


Mrs Okereke-Onyuike was sacked as the director general of the NSE on the August 5, 2010 following her roles in the alleged mismanagement of N11billion by the former president of the NSE, Aliko Dangote.








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