Audu Seeks 100 Million Naira Damages for the Unlawful, Illegal, Wrongful and Unconstitutional Invasion of His Privacy by EFCC

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Former Governor of Kogi State, Prince Abubakar Audu yesterday approached a Federal High Court, Abuja Division, praying the court to award the sum of 100 Million naira only representing damages for the unlawful, illegal, wrongful and unconstitutional invasion of plaintiff’s privacy, home and family life by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In an originating summons filed by Mike Ozekhome (SAN) on behalf of Audu,  he asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to put an end to “an abuse of court process” by stopping EFCC from commencing any fresh process of investigation and or prosecution against him in respect of his tenure as Governor of Kogi state between May, 1999 and May, 2002 since he has already been charged on an  80 count charge currently pending at the High Court of Lokoja, Kogi state.

Specifically, he is praying the court to declare that the Respondent’s (EFCC’s) letter No: CR: 3000 / EFCC / ABJ / ISOS /  TM.11 / VOL. 7/ 37 dated 11th December, 2012 inviting the Plaintiff (Audu) to interview one Kabiru A. Shehu on an undisclosed on-going investigation activities involving the Plaintiff, with a view to freshly arraigning him before a Court in Abuja in the face of a pending charge duly initiated by the same Respondent at the High Court of Justice presided over by Justice S. T. Hussaini with respect to the same offences allegedly committed by the Plaintiff during the same period of the Plaintiff’s tenure as Governor amounts to a gross abuse of the process of court.

He also wants “a declaration that the plaintiff cannot legally be arraigned and / or prosecuted by the Respondent or any other person or authority within the Federal Republic of Nigeria in respect of offences allegedly committed during his tenure as Governor of Kogi state between May 1999 and May 2003 when there is subsisting a charge pending before the High Court of Justice, Lokoja presided over by Hon. Justice S.T. Hussaini and the Court of Appeal, Abuja in Appeal No: CA / A / 381c / 2011, alleging the same offences committed during the same period and arising from same facts as the pending and extant charges.”.

The former governor also seeks “a declaration that the unlawful invasion of the residence of the Plaintiff in early hours of 11th December, 2012 without any prior invitation and without a valid search warrant or warrant of arrest, under the pretext of arresting the Plaintiff and the subsequent wide publicity accorded the invasion by the Respondent in the print, electronic and internet media without any prior invitation to the effect that amounts to undue sensationalism, humiliation, intimidation, and invasion of the Plaintiff’s right to privacy and family life contrary to the provisions of Sections 37 of the Constitution if the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as altered and is therefore illegal, wrongful, irregular, null and void.”  Audu also wants the court to hold that the Supreme Court decision delivered on November 23, 2012 overruling his appeal “did not effectively and finally terminate his trial on the – 80 count charge at the High Court of Justice, Lokoja.

Consequently, the former governor has prayed for “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondent whether by itself, servant, agents, employees, privies and or persons working for and on its behalf howsoever from inviting, arresting, detaining or arraigning and or taking any step thereto against the plaintiff on a charge or charges alleging offences purportedly committed by the Plaintiff during his tenure as Governor of Kogi state between May 1999 and May 2003 in the face of charge No: EFCC / 1 / 2006, FRN Vs Abubakar Audu, pending and extant before the Kogi State High Court, Lokoja presided over by Hon. Justice S. T Hussaini and also pending and extant before the Court of Appeal, Abuja in Appeal No: CA / A / 381c / 2011 over which the trial court has since the 12th of July, 2012 granted a stay of proceedings.”

In a – 31 paragraph affidavit in support of the originating summons, the deponent – Barrister Dominic Ezerioha averred that “it will amount to usurpation of the judicial functions of the Court of Appeal for the Respondent (EFCC) to arraign the Plaintiff (Audu) on the same alleged offences that are currently the subject matter before the Court of Appeal, Abuja.”

Ezerioha also averred that “it is a breach of the Plaintiff’s fundamental right to privacy and family life to be invaded by the Respondent without even as much as a mere prior invitation or notice.”  No date has been fixed for hearing.





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