Court hears detained military officer’s human rights enforcement suit today
A FEDERAL High Court in Abuja will today hold the hearing of Enforcement of Fundamental Human Rights suit filed against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by a Colonel Ojogbane Adegbe, who is motion challenging his detention since February 11, 2016 by the anti-graft agency.
Adegbe is said to be in detention due to investigation being undertaken by the EFCC, in relation to certain activities of the then government under former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Along with an affidavit attested by brother of the applicant; Michael Daniel Adegbe, the motion was filed pursuant to Sections 35, 41 &46 (1) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution; Order ii rules 1, 2 & 3 of the fundamental rights (enforcement procedure) rules 2009; Articles 5, 6 & 12 of African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights & under the inherent jurisdiction of the Federal High Court as preserved by Section 66 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Among others, the affidavit stated that :Col. Adegbe is a serving military officer in the Nigeria Army and was Aide de Camp (ADC) to former President Goodluck Jonathan until May 29 2015.
Sequel to the completion of the applicant’s assignment as ADC to the former President on May 29, 2015, he was purportedly sent by his employers on a military course in the United Kingdom (UK).
Col. Adegbe was invited by the EFCC through the Nigerian Army owing to investigation being undertaken by the agency and was summoned to return to Nigeria.
Upon reporting to the EFCC , he was asked to , invite his lawyers over before making his statement. Adegbe therefore invited his lawyers led by Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN) and in their presence made his written statement in response to questions directed to him by officers of the EFCC on the same day – 11th February, 2016.
According to the affidavit , the applicant despite making his statement on the said day, Col. Adegbe has remained in the custody of EFCC with refusal by the anti-graft agency to grant him bail or charge him to court.
Based on the development, the said Chief Onoja, on February 15, 2016, five days into Col. Adegbe’s detention, made an application for the bail of the applicant. The said application was annexed as Exhibit “A”.
The EFFC was stated to have refused the applicant bail even though the application was acknowledged by the agency.According to the lawyer to the applicant, Chief Onoja, the case against Col. Adegbe, as discovered from interrogation and questions put to him, relates to his military official duties in receiving concealed messages from the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and delivering them to persons on the instruction of former President, Goodluck Jonathan.
In the matter to be heard at the Federal High Court today, the applicant will be praying the Court for among others : a declaration that the arrest and continued detention of the applicant by the respondent since February 11, 2016 is unconstitutional as it offends his right to personal liberty as guaranteed by S. 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended);an order directing the respondent to release the applicant from unlawful detention with immediate effect or in the alternative to prayer, an order admitting the applicant to bail pending his trial in a court of competent jurisdiction;N100,000,000.00 as general damages for unlawful detention of the applicant and a written apology by the respondent to the applicant among others.