A businessmen, Ismaila Mustapha widely known as Mompha, has instituted a fundamental rights enforcement suit before a High Court in Lagos against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for detaining him beyond the constitutionally stipulated days without charging him to court.
Mompha in the suit filed by his lawyers including Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), Ademola Adefolaju, Kolawole Salami and four others, is demanding the sum of N5m as damages from the EFCC.
He is also seeking a court order directing the anti-graft agency to release him unconditionally forthwith from its custody.
He is asking for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the anti-graft agency or any person whatsoever acting for or on behalf of the agency from arresting and detaining him in relation to the subject of the suit without recourse to due process of law.
He is also seeking a court declaration that his continued and further detention by the EFCC on the basis of the remand order granted on October 22, 2019, by Court 6 of Ikeja Magistrate Court, Lagos, vide a form for request for remand pursuant to the Administration Of Criminal Justice Act and which elapsed and or expired on November 4, 2019, without being charged and arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction is unlawful, unjustifiable, unconstitutional and constitute gross violation of his fundamental rights to personal liberty and fair hearing as contained in section 35 (4) (5) and 36 of the 1999 constitution (as amended)
The grounds for the application, according to Mompha’s lawyers is that their client is a Nigerian and entitled to fundamental rights as enshrined in sections 34, 35 and 36 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
The lawyers also stated that on October 19, 2019, their client was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, and thereafter detained by the EFCC on account of alleged money laundering and other related offences.
They added that on the same day, he was transfered to the agency’s detention facility in Ikoyi, Lagos from Abuja, before obtaining a remand order from the Magistrate’ Court of Lagos for a period of 14 days and that since October 19, 2019, he has been held in detention beyond two days as stipulated by Sections 36 and 35 of the constitution respectively.
Also, the applicant in a 20 paragraph-affidavit deposed to by Olumuyiwa A. Ajidagba, a lawyer, averred that in spite of the remand order of the Magistrate Court of Lagos empowering the EFCC to detain their client for 14 days pending investigation and arraignment, he has now been in detention and custody for over 26 days unlawfully, as the order detaining him had expired since November 4.
Olumuyiwa also stated that the applicant had suffered and been subjected physical, mental and psychological torture in the underground cell at the EFCC’s detention centre.
The deponent further averred that unless the court grants the applicant’s prayers as sought on the motion paper, his fundamental rights to liberty and fair hearing will continued to be infringed and trampled upon by the EFCC in clear violation of 1999 Constitution (as amended).
No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit as it is yet to be assigned to any judge.