AN error of judicial procedure gave a dismissed judge of the Federal High Court, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia temporary reprieve yesterday after corruption charges against her were struck out.
But she was eventually arrested by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, at the court premises in Ikeja after more than an hour standoff.
No fewer than 10 officials of the EFCC surrounded Ofili-Ajumogobia as she attempted to leave the courtroom at 10.24 am on Tuesday after the ruling by Justice Hakeem Oshodi who struck off a case of alleged corruption against her.
Upon sighting the officials, the judge made a hasty retreat and went back upstairs into Justice Oshodi’s courtroom to seek the protection of the court from the EFCC officials.
Justice Oshodi when notified about the development said there is nothing he could do as “the file had been closed.”
The embattled former judge and her husband who was with her were observed frantically making various phone calls.
Ofili-Ajumogobia’s co-defendant, Mr Godwin Obla, SAN, was however allowed to exit the court premises by officials of the EFCC.
She was apprehended at 11.47 am by EFCC officials who whisked her away in a white hilux van.
Justice Oshodi had struck out the 31-count charge filed by the EFCC against Ofili-Ajumogobia and Obla on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit.
The judge ruled that based on the judicial precedent set in the case of Justice Nganjiwa Vs FRN, the EFCC had “jumped the gun” in filing the first amended charge.
Justice Oshodi noted that the anti-graft commission did not follow the procedures set by the National Judicial Council in disciplining erring judicial officers.