Posted On: Wed 13 Mar 2019 By TCR NEWS | PUNCH NG
The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday refused to grant a perpetual order of injunction restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Department of State Services from arresting a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani Kayode, and the spokesperson for the Afenifere Renewal Group, Yinka Odumakin.
Delivering judgment, Justice John Tsoho, however, ruled that any arrest or detention of the two men must comply with due process of the law.
Fani-Kayode and Odumakin had sued EFCC and DSS last year following a threat to arrest them by EFCC for their alleged involvement in spreading falsehood that the commission’s officials had invaded the official residence of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
They had, in the suit, prayed the court for among others, “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents, by themselves, agents, privies or anybody deriving authority from them by whatever name called, from harassing, intimidating, abducting or detaining the applicants.”
They had also prayed for an award of N20m “as damages for the unlawful threat to arrest the applicants”.
Apart from declining to grant the order of perpetual injunction against the respondents, the judge also refused to grant the prayer for the N20m damages.
The judge noted that the applicants were entitled under section 46 of the constitution to file an anticipatory suit where an individual suspected that his or her rights were about to be breached.
The judge observed that the applicants had a reasonable course of action going by the manner of EFCC’s threat to arrest the applicants and the commission’s “intemperate language” in the threat as published in the commission’s the press release authored by Orilade Tony, the commission’s acting spokesperson.
The judge then granted prayers 1, 2, 4 and 6, part of which was a declaration that the respondents’ public declaration to arrest the applicants on the basis of spreading false rumours was an infringement of their fundamental rights as enshrined in Section 34 (a), 35 (1) (4) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution.
The court also declared that the said the threat to falsely imprison their liberty, safety, peace and security was a breach of their rights enshrined in Section 34 (a), 35 (1) (4) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution.