Justice Akintayo Aluko of the Federal High Court in Lagos will on October 9, 2023, hear a suit filed by a lawyer, Nkereuwem Anana seeking an order for the immediate release of the suspended chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa from the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS.
Anana, a former prosecutor of the EFCC also asked the court to order the federal government to pay Bawa N100 million as compensation for his alleged unlawful and continuous detention by the DSS.
The lawyer joined as respondents in the fundamental rights enforcement suit he filed on behalf of the suspended EFCC chairman, the director-general of DSS, attorney-general of the federation and the minister of justice.
Bawa has been in detention since June 14, 2023, when he was arrested by the operatives of the secret police in Abuja.
Justice Aluko fixed the date for the hearing of the suit after Anana informed him of the need to respond to a preliminary objection filed by the DSS DG, Yusuf Magaji Bichi.
Anana also urged the court to strike out the name of the third respondent, AGF, from the suit. The court granted the request.
The DSS and its boss are challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit and the competence of the applicant to approach the court on behalf of Bawa.
Anana, in his suit numbered FHC/L/CS/1631/2023 which is yet to be assigned to a judge is seeking an order from the court mandating the immediate release of Abdulrasheed Bawa from the first and second respondents’ detention.
The lawyer is also asking the court for an order granting Bawa bail on liberal terms or an order mandating the respondents to produce him before the court to show reason why he should not be admitted bail.
He maintained that the suit is premised on the fundamental rights enforcement rules 2009, section 46(3) of the constitution of the Federal Government of Nigeria, African charter on human and peoples’ rights and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction.
The applicant is further praying to the court for the following reliefs: “a declaration that the arrest and continuous detention of former Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa by the first and second respondents, constitutes a violation of his fundamental rights guaranteed by Section 35 (1) (2) (38) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended and the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights, Ratification and Enforcement, Act Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004”.
In an affidavit attached to the suit and deposed to by a litigation secretary, Mkpoufo Edet, the lawyer stated that Bawa has been in custody of the respondents for about two months and more and that both the first and second respondents arrested him when he was the extant chairman of the EFCC on or about June 14, 2023.
The deponent stated that till date the said Bawa has been in the custody of the first and second respondents without bail and that his fundamental right to freedom of movement has been trampled upon.
The applicant further insisted that the continuous incarceration of Bawa is against the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, African charter of human and people rights. And that Nigeria is not a police state where the whims and caprices of the police prevail against the rule of law.