Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

EFCC Ordered To Release Man After 4 Months In Custody Without Prosecution

EFCC Ordered To Release Man After 4 Months In Custody Without Prosecution

A Lagos Federal High Court, on Thursday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to immediately release one Mr Oguma Richard Uchenna from thier custody for four months with prosecution.
Justice Osiagor who presided over the court, made the releasing order of the detainee, while ruling on his Fundamental Right application.

Justice Osiagor in his ruling, held that why the law recognizes the power of  EFCC to detain suspects for the purpose of investigation, but it was not the intent of the law under the 1999 Constitution as Amended that a suspect should be help in custody in perpetuity. 

The judge said: “the continued detention of the applicant since the 11th of May without being charge to court for any offence constitute, breach the right to  liberty and an affront Section 35 (4A) of the 1999 constitution.” 
The judge also restrained the EFCC from further arrest and harassment of the applicant without the leaf of the court.

It would be recalled that Justice Daniel Osiagor had last week ordered the applicant to serve court processes on the EFCC and then adjourned till today for hearing of the fundamental right Enforcement application filed by the applicant counsel, Mr Dennis Warri.

When the application came up for hearing today, Mr. Dennis Warri, informed the court that the earlier order of the court to serve the respondent has been complied with as EFCC has beef served with proof of service in court file.

Warri added that the anti-graft agency did not file any application or counter affidavit, nor were they  represented in court.

He therefore urged the court to allow him to move his application and the court acceded to his plea following which he moved the application which was subsequently granted by the court .

The applicant, Uchenna through his lawyer, had approached to the court for the enforcement of his fundament right to liberty following his continued  detention without being charge to court by the anti-graft agency since May 11.

Uchenna in the suit numbered FHC/L/CS/255/22, claimed that he was  arrested by men of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on April 27, in the course of carrying out his official duty as a freight forwarder at the NAHCO Export Shed and was later handed over to the EFCC.
 He added that despite meeting all the stipulated conditions of the administrative bail granted him by the agency, he was not release or charge him to court.

The applicant added that the anti-graft agency had persistently refused to accept the process of the fundamental right enforcement application he filed, consequent upon which his lawyer, Mr Warri had to bring an application for substituted service. 

He therefore  asked the court to declare  that his arrest and detention by  EFCC since May 11, 2022 without filing  any charge against him were unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.

He also sought for an order releasing him from the custody of the anti- graft commission and an order restraining the Respondents, it’s servants , privies , agents from harassing , arresting and further arrest  and detention  without the leave of the court.

In the affidavit in support of the application, the applicant averred  that he is a freight forwarder and that in the course  of carrying out his normal daily work, he went to NAHCO Shed to cargo a project work for a client and that unknown to him Travellers Cheques were tucked inside  the magazines he went to clear.

The applicant further averred that since his arrest, he had given all necessary cooperation to the EFCC to enable them track the real owner of the project work, but refused to do same but continue to detain him without charging him to court