Detained spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to order his release from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, who was arrested by EFCC operatives from his Abuja residence on January 5, 2016, stated that his continued detention was illegal.
The EFCC is said to have obtained an order from a Chief Magistrate’s Court in Wuse II, Abuja, to detain Metuh, who was arrested in connection with about N1.4bn “suspicious” funds in the account of a company in which he has a substantial interest. The commission explained that it sought an order to remand Metuh because some of his accomplices are at large.
About N400m allegedly meant for arms purchase by the Office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), was purportedly paid into the account of Destra Investment Limited where Metuh reportedly have a high stake.
But in a suit, numbered FHC/L/CS/21/2016, filed through activist-lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, the opposition party’s mouthpiece claimed that his family, lawyers and doctors were denied access to him.
He sued the EFCC and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN, contending that under section 35 of the 1999 Constitution, the anti-graft agency has exceeded the maximum time allowed by law for a citizen to be detained without trial.
Adegboruwa, who personally deposed to an affidavit of urgency in support of Metuh’s suit, alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari had since coming into power launched “a massive attack upon the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, in the guise of fighting a nebulous anti-corruption war.” The lawyer further claimed that the President had upon taking office reorganised the EFCC to hound the opposition.
Expressing fear that his client was being kept under untidy or unhygienic conditions which might have effect on his health, Adegboruwa argued that Metuh’s continued detention was a breach to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
His words, “I verily believe that the applicant has not committed any offence other than his principled opposition to the ruling government and his arrest and detention are meant to silence the opposition and create a one-party state by the respondents to allow the APC to dominate Nigeria.
“Nobody knows the present whereabouts of the applicant, as to his exact place of detention, his condition in the custody and how he is faring. Recently, detainees in the custody of the 1st respondent have been dying due to lack of proper care and adequate medical facilities, as the 1st respondent is not normally well-funded to function effectively, except to be used by the ruling government to hound the opposition.”
Metuh, through Adegboruwa, sought a declaration that his detention by the EFCC without access to his family and lawyer, and without being charged to court, amounted to a violation of his fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 33, 34, 35, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution. He also sought a declaration that his arrest on January 5 constitutes a flagrant violation of his fundamental rights and is ultra vires, null and void and unconstitutional.
Source: THE WILL
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