A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed a fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed by a former Minister of Aviation Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, seeking an order, releasing him from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Fani-Kayode, the spokesperson for the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation in the 2015 election, had filed the suit following his arrest by the EFCC on May 9, 2016, with respect to criminal allegations relating to diversion of funds.
The anti-graft agency arraigned him alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman, who was the Director of Finance of the campaign organisation and others for money laundering before a Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi delivering judgment on the suit filed by Fani-Kayode to challenge his detention by the EFCC held that the legal action lacked merit.
The judge held that the detention was not illegal since it was backed by a court order.
Justice Adeniyi, however, faulted the practice by the EFCC of arresting and detaining a suspect for the purposes of investigation.
Counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Salisu Majidadi, had, on behalf of the commission, opposed the fundamental human rights enforcement suit during the hearing before the court on June 2.
Majidadi had said, while responding to the suit, that the commission invited Fani-Kayode on May 9 and on May 10 and obtained a court order to detain him in Abuja with respect to the alleged scam.
He said before the court order obtained by the EFCC from the FCT High Court expired on May 24, the commission received a message from its Special Task Force in Lagos about a fresh petition received against the former minister.
Majidadi said this prompted the commission to move the suspect from Abuja to its Lagos office on May 23 and obtained another order on the same day renewing the PDP chief’s remand for another three weeks.
The EFCC’s lawyer had maintained that with two court orders permitting the commission to detain the suspect since May 9, the detention was lawful and did not amount to a violation of the suspect’s rights.
He added that the remand orders were lawful as much as they were based on an Act of the parliament.
While arguing his client’s suit during the hearing, Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), had said the continued detention of Fani-Kayode beyond 48-hour limit prescribed by the constitution was unlawful and amounted to a clear violation of his client’s rights to liberty.