Barely three days after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) raided his properties in Lagos state, a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, has instituted a legal action against the Commission.
Obanikoro – a former Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana – on Friday, before the Federal High Court in Lagos, slammed a N100 million suit against the premier anti-graft agency for an alleged breach of his fundamental human rights.
In a statement issued on his behalf by his media aide, Jonathan Eze, he accused the commission of unlawful and unconstitutional forceful seizure, detention and freezing of several items, property and personal effects belonging to him and members of his family on June 14, 2016 when they invaded his property in Ikoyi, Lagos state.
The suit filed by Obanikoro’s lawyer Ogwu Onoja (SAN) is seeking the court to restrain the EFCC from arresting or detaining any of the applicants in the suit. It also urged the court to issue an order compelling the EFCC to release the items it seized during the raid.
The statement read: The applicants also want the court to restrain the commission from further entering their premises and an order Directing it to tender an unreserved public apology to them for the unlawful action.
They are also asking the court to direct the respondent to release all the items, properties and personal effects seized from their premises.
The applicants further want the court to hold that the action of the EFCC constitute a gross violation of their fundamental rights as guarantee under section 43 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
In a 15 paragraphs affidavit attached to the suit and sworn to by Fati Obanikoro, states that on June 14 some officials of the EFCC numbering about 20 stormed their premises situated at 10 Mojisola Onikoyi Street, by Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos and took away several items.
She also alleged that the respondent thereafter proceeded to also search the personal house of the former Minister at 4 Layi Ajayi-Bembe road, Parkview, Ikoyi, Lagos
She also claimed that before the alleged invasion of the premises there was no prior notice by way of letter or invitation served on any of the applicants and there was also no order of court mandating them to carry out the action.
She listed some of the items seized by the Commission to include: building plans, cheque leaflets, company documents, car keys, phones, two company seals and six company stam
The applicant further averred that the EFCC officials claimed that they are investigating the former Minister and two of his children but some of the properties taken away do not belong to them.
She also insisted that unless the court issued an order compelling the commission, it will not return the seized properties.
Other applicants in the suit are: Fati Obanikoro, Alhaja Moroophat Obanikoro, Gbolahon Obanikoro, and Babajide Obanikoro.