Court orders EFCC to release Jonathan’s ex-ADC

Justice Yusuf Halilu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Jabi, Abuja, Tuesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release former Aide de Camp (ADC) to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Ojogbane Adegbe on liberal terms.

Justice Halilu said that if the EFCC was having a case against the applicant, the proper thing was to arraign him in a competent court instead of continuous detention in its custody.

He said the detention of the applicant having exceeded the 48 hours provided by the law was unlawful, unconstitutional and illegal.

The court said that the applicant’s right guaranteed under Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution had been violated by the continuous detention without proper trial.

Reacting to claim that Adegbe was being held on the directive of the Nigerian Army, Halilu wondered if the EFCC was an appendage of the Nigerian Army.

The judge, however, refused the Adegbe’s ‎prayer for N100m compensation for unlawful detention and his demand for written apology.

Declaring as unconstitutional and illegal the detention of the applicant since February 11 without filing charges against him, the judge reprimanded the anti-graft agency for “reducing itself to the police station or detention centre of the Nigerian Army”.

He noted that the EFCC took contradictory ‎positions by claiming that it was investigating alleged arms procurement fraud for which Adegbe was arrested and in another breath claiming to be holding the plaintiff on the instruction of the Army.

“While the respondent (EFCC) is dancing makossa in one ‎side, it is singing another song on the other side,” he said.

The judge however said he was unable to direct the EFCC to pay damages to the applicant or tender apology to him, since he remained in the service of the Army and the anti-graft agency was equally a government agency.

“On the whole, the respondent is ordered to grant bail to the applicant in liberal terms,” the judge ruled.

Adegbe has been in EFCC custody since February 11 in relation to investigation into alleged fraud in the procurement of arms for the armed forces.

The applicant’s counsel, Mr Ogwu Onoja (SAN), told newsmen that he expected the EFCC to act on the orders of the court by releasing the applicant.

Onoja said that he was support of the corruption fight by the present administration if done within the ambit of the law.