Enugu Commissioner sues EFCC, demands N500m for rights violation

Posted by Christopher Isiguzo, Enugu | 25 December 2017 | 1,764 times

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•The litigant, Hon. Rita Mbah

The controversy trailing the ongoing investigation into the N450 million Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 2015 election campaign fund to Enugu State has assumed a new dimension as the Secretary of the campaign organisation, Hon. Rita Mbah, has dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to court demanding N500 million for violation of her fundamental human rights.

She has also asked for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the anti-graft agency from further threatening or infringing on her fundamental rights.

In  an originating application filed before the Federal High Court, Enugu, by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Mbah, prayed the court for an order enforcing her fundamental rights to personal liberty, dignity of person and right to acquire moveable property as guaranteed by sections 35(1),(4),& (6), 37,  41 (1), 44 (1) AND 46 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, sections 1(1&2),30 (1&2) and 314 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and Articles 5, 6 & 14 of The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement ) Act, CAP A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. Mbah, currently the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Enugu State, stated in the affidavit in support of the application for the enforcement of her fundamental rights, dated and filed on the 20th November, 2017, that she was arrested on Thursday, 13th October, 2016, in Enugu State, by the operatives of the respondent, on account of the investigation into PDP campaign fund.

She was detained for over forty-eight hours at the EFCC Office Enugu, after searches were conducted at her home, with several of her documents carted away.

She further averred that she has been ordered to make frequent and periodic visits by way of report to the office of the respondent since she was granted bail, a condition she has always complied with, notwithstanding the fact that she had written a petition clearly detailing how the said campaign fund was disbursed by the then Governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime.

She expressed her concern over her media trial and incessant invitations despite the fact that no charge was preferred against by the anti-graft body.

In the application for the enforcement of her fundamental rights, she clearly stated that she never benefited from the PDP campaign fund, and attached documents signed by the various recipients of the funds which her lawyers had earlier submitted to the EFCC in an earlier petition.

She wondered why the EFCC has failed to go after those who signed and received the funds and had rather chosen to continuously harass and embarrass her person by their continuous invitations and callous media publications making her look like a common criminal.

She urged the court to declare that her arrest without warrant and subsequent dehumanisation and detention from Thursday 13th October 2016 to Monday, 16th October, 2016, by operatives of the respondent in Enugu, is illegal, unlawful, wrongful and constitutes a blatant violation of her fundamental rights.  She also urged the court to declare that her arrest without warrant and subsequent dehumanisation and detention from Thursday 13th October 2016 to Monday, 16th October, 2016, by operatives of the respondent in Enugu, without granting her bail within 24 hours of her arrest, is illegal, wrongful, unlawful and constitutes a blatant violation of her fundamental rights.

She further urged the court to declare that the continued confiscation and detention of her personal documents and properties, without a warrant, which were seized from her at the time of her arrest, on Thursday 13th October 2016, till date, by operatives and officers of the respondent, in Enugu, is illegal, wrongful, unlawful and constitutes a volcanic violation of her fundamental rights.

She also prayed the court to declare that the demand by operatives of the respondent on her to continue to make frequent and periodic appearances and visits to the office of the respondent in Enugu, without arraigning her before a court of law, for any known offence, several months after investigation, on the alleged PDP campaign fund had commenced, is illegal, wrongful, unlawful and constitutes a blatant violation of her fundamental rights.

She further prayed the court to declare that she is entitled to a public apology and adequate compensation from the respondents and an order directing the respondents to tender a public apology and pay adequate compensation to her for the blatant violation of her rights without following due process of law.  The matter has now been fixed for 5th February 2018, for hearing. (THISDAY)


Source: News Express

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