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‘Its not big deal’, says Ozekhome as Court orders Adoke to spend Xmas, New Year in EFCC detention


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FEDERAL High Court sitting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Friday granted the request made by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to remand Mohammed Adoke, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice.

This implies that Adoke would spend both Christmas and New Year period in the EFCC custody.

But Adoke’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome in a swift reaction told The ICIR that it was not “a big deal,” he said the anti-graft agency just sought an exparte order, using provision of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015).

Justice Othman Musa granted the EFCC request as presented by Fatima Mustapha, the prosecuting counsel.

However, this request, according to Musa is to finalise on-going investigation on the accused ex-minister.

Adoke has been on exile since 2015, over the criminal allegation on the controversial Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 granted to Shell and ENI, abuse of office, corrupt practices among other related offences regarding the oil deal.

He was picked up by the International Police (Interpol) in Dubai last month and was handed over, to the ECCC on Thursday, shortly after he landed at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.

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It could be recalled that Adoke had severally insisted that he was following a presidential directive on the controversial deal, thus could not be tried by the EFCC.

Though on 17th April, the court had initially granted EFCC’s request but Justice Danlami Senchi of the Federal High Court, Abuja nullified the judgement based on application by Mike Ozekhome, the defence counsel.

Ozekhome argued that the initial order was issued without court jurisdiction, stressing that the accused person was not offered the privilege of fair hearing prior to the arrest warrant.

Speaking further on his reaction with The ICIR on the fact that Adoke would be spending the festive seasons in EFCC detention; he explained that the order was solely to get detention order for 14 days.

“If a court order is detaining a person for two weeks, it follows that he will spend the Christmas and New Year there but what does that mean to a man’s life?” he queried. “It doesn’t mean anything.”

According to him, Ozekhome said most patriotic Nigerians who fought for the nation’s democracy spent Christmas and the New Year in detention.

However, he queried action of the EFCC stressing that investigation of alleged criminal cases should always precede court action and not otherwise.

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He alleged the EFCC of deliberately causing a physical, mental and psychological effects on the accused.

His words: “The EFCC must have obtained an order of the FCT high court to detain him for two weeks in accordance with the ACJA provisions. But to me, it is quite disappointing because it is expected that a matter that has been on, according to the EFCC over what they charged him over two years ago, and over which they got him arrested at the airport yesterday when he voluntarily returned to Nigeria and over which they have issued a bench warrant against him and which we got vacated and set aside by the same judge.

“One would have expected that the EFCC would have finished all its investigations and as soon as they arrest Adoke, they will just charge him to court. That is what is done in civilised countries of the world.

“Why would you want to keep him for another two weeks, according to them, to investigate? What were you investigating before you charged him to court? It is investigation before being charged to court. You don’t charge to court, and then investigate.”

“You don’t hold a person and use that to wear him out psychologically, physically, mentally before you now begin to charge him to court.”

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Email address: [email protected] Twitter handle: @OluAdanikin

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