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Oduah, Kuku lose bid to stop EFCC probe



Stella Oduah

JUSTICE Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday dismissed a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by a former minister of aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah against the Attorney General of the Federation and three others.

The former aviation minister had filed the suit in August last year praying the court to restrain agencies of the Federal Government from questioning or prosecuting her over the purchase of two armoured BMW vehicles at the cost of N255 million by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) under her watch in 2013.

In a related decision, Justice Abang also refused a prayer to stop the EFCC and the Department of State Services from arresting and probing former Special Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs and the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku.

The judge dismissed Kuku’s suit for lacking in merit, but restrained the respondents from detaining him beyond 48 in contravention of Section 35(4)(5) of the Constitution.

In her suit, Oduah claimed to have already been probed and exonerated by the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and urged Justice Abang to declare that any further probe would amount to violating her fundamental rights.

The respondents in the suit were the AGF, the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

The judge, now in Abuja division came to Lagos to deliver the judgment. He dismissed Oduah’s suit for want of jurisdiction and ordered her to pay a cost of N15, 000 to the AGF.

Justice Abang also dismissed the EFCC’s objection for not complying with Order 8 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure.

“The EFCC did not file any opposition in line with the law,” Justice Abang held.

The judge upheld the preliminary objection filed by the AGF, who challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Lagos to entertain Oduah’s suit.

Counsel for the AGF, Mr. T.A. Gazali, had contended that since the rights violation that Oduah alleged did not happen in Lagos, it would be a violation of Section 46(1) of the constitution and Order 2 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure to entertain the case in Lagos.

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