Justice R.O. Ayoola of the Kogi High Court on Monday committed the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, to prison for alleged contempt.
The judge, who awarded N10 million against EFCC, ordered the Inspector-General of Police (IG) to arrest Bawa forthwith wherever he is and send him to the Kuje correctional Centre for two weeks without any delay until he purges himself of the contempt.
The judge gave the order while delivering his judgement on an application brought before him by one Ali Bello, through his Counsel, S. A. Abass, who prayed the court to commit the EFCC boss for disobeying a court order earlier granted by him (Ayoola).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports in Lokoja that Ayoola had on Dec 12, 2022 delivered a ruling, in favour of Bello, who had dragged EFCC to court for arresting and detaining him illegally.
But three days after his freedom as ordered by the court, the EFCC went ahead and rearrested and re-arraigned him for alleged money laundering.
To justify its action, the anti-agency had filed a fresh application for setting aside and stay of execution of the ruling earlier issued by the court for lack of merit.
Consequently, Justice Ayoola, in Form 49, Order IX, Rule 13, marked: “HCL/697M/2022” and titled: “Notice to Show Cause Why Order of Committal Should not be Made,” on the EFCC boss for disobeying his order.
The judge ordered Bawa to appear before him on Jan. 18, to explain why he should not be jailed for flouting the order given on Dec. 12, 2022 in a case filed by Ali Bello against EFCC and Bawa, as the 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively.
Ayoola ordered that the EFCC and Bawa be served the motion of notice together with Form 49 by substituted means.
“Your arrest and detention of the applicant (Bello) in the face of a subsisting Court order made by this honourable Court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest “or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested.
“Your action is unlawful, unconstitutional and in contravention of the personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended),” the judge declared.
He also ordered the respondents in the matter to tender an apology to the Bello in a national newspaper and awarded N10 million compensation for him.