Former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, friday slammed a N100 million suit on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the Federal High Court in Lagos over an alleged breached of his fundamental human rights.
In a statement by his media aide, Jonathan Eze, the former minister is demanding the sum as general damages for the alleged unlawful and unconstitutional seizure and detention of several items, properties and personal effects belonging to him and family by the EFCC on June 24, 2016.
The agents of the anti-graft agency took away vehicles, wristwatches and other personal effects of the former minister and his sons while Jonathan Eze, a former media aide of Obanikoro, alleged that EFCC operatives harassed and intimidated Obanikoro’s wife, daughter in-laws and their children
A suit filed on behalf of the Obanikoro family by their lawyer, Ogwu Onoja, says, “the seizure and detention of the applicants’ several items, properties and personal effects, constitute a gross violation of their fundamental rights guaranteed under Section 43 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Article 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Act, Cap. 10, LFN, 2004.”
Here is the Suit statement against the EFCC:
The statement reads:
“The applicants also want the court to restrain the commission from further entering their premises and an order Directing it to tender an unreserved public apology to them for the unlawful action.
“They are also asking the court to direct the respondent to release all the items, properties and personal effects seized from their premises.
” The applicants further want the court to hold that the action of the EFCC constitute a gross violation of their fundamental rights as guarantee under section 43 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
“In a 15 paragraphs affidavit attached to the suit and sworn to by Mrs. Fati Obanikoro, states that on June 14 some officials of the EFCC numbering about 20 stormed their premises situated at 10 Mojisola Onikoyi Street, by Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos and took away several items.
” She also alleged that the respondent thereafter proceeded to also search the personal house of the former Minister at 4 Layi Ajayi-Bembe road, Parkview, Ikoyi, Lagos
“She also claimed that before the alleged invasion of the premises there was no prior notice by way of letter or invitation served on any of the applicants and there was also no order of court mandating them to carry out the action.
” She listed some of the items seized by the Commission to include: building plans, cheque leaflets, company documents, car keys, phones, two company seals and six company stam
“The applicant further averred that the EFCC officials claimed that they are investigating the former Minister and two of his children but some of the properties taken away do not belong to them.
“She also insisted that unless the court issued an order compelling the commission, it will not return the seized properties.”