Court dismisses judge’s ‘illegal detention’ suit against EFCC

Court dismisses judge's 'illegal detention' suit against EFCC

Ofili-Ajumogobia

Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday dismissed a suit by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia seeking to declare her detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) illegal.

Justice Ajumogobia, who was transferred from the court’s Lagos Division to Ilorin, was detained for allegedly collecting N5million gratification from a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Godwin Obla.

Her transfer came soon after she was sanctioned by the National Judicial Council (NJC), which barred her from elevation to a higher court for gross misconduct.

She and Obla were on Monday arraigned on a 30-count charge at the Lagos High Court for allegedly conspiring to pervert the course of justice last May 21.

The commission said Obla transferred N5million to Nigel & Colive Ltd, a company the judge is a sole signatory to.

Ajumogobia, through her lawyer Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), had sought to enforce her fundamental rights.

Dismissing the suit, Justice Hassan held that the remand order EFCC obtained from a magistrate’s court to detain the judge was valid.

According to Justice Hassan, the remand order was issued pursuant to Section 264(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, 2011.

The judge refused to make an order releasing her from EFCC’s custody since she had already been granted bail by Justice Hakeem Oshodi.

“The issue of the applicant’s bail from EFCC’s custody has been overtaken by the event of her arraignment at the Lagos High Court and her subsequent release on bail by the court.

“The applicant’s lawyer is also at liberty to challenge the continued detention of the applicant by the respondent after the expiration of the magistrate court’s remand order.

“In the light of the recent events in this matter, this suit is hereby struck out,” the judge held.

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