Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of an FCT High Court on Monday awarded N100 million in damages to Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) against the federal government and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for violations of his rights.
BRANDPOWER reports that Justice Adeniyi further restrained the federal government and its agents from arresting Emefiele unless an order was obtained through a competent court.
The judge held that the respondents need not incarcerate the applicant in other to carry out investigation for a long period as against the provisions of the law.
”No material placed before the court to show that the release of the applicant will in any way interfere with the investigation of allegations preferred against him.
”The first respondent as a creator of the law is constantly bound by the law.
”The remand order that was not obtained properly is considered to be a fragrant violation of the fundamental right of the applicant.
”The facts placed before the court shows that he was incarcerated beyond the period stipulated by the law with charging him to court.
He held that the agents of the government who are in charge of arrest and detention should abide by the provisions of the law.
Justice Adeniyi added otherwise, they would be liable to pay compensation to a person whose fundamental right was violated, following this the court fined the FG N100m as award in compensation to Emefiefle.
The judge further held that is not the length of time that determines violation of fundamental right but the illegality of the action.
The embattled Emefiele had dragged the Federal Government, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Commission before the court to enforce his fundamental rights to life, personal liberty, fair hearing and freedom of movement.
Emefiele sought a declaration of the court that his continued detention by the agency of the first and second respondents since June 10, 2023 and subsequent transfer to the custody of the third and fourth respondents on October 26, 2023 without being arraigned in court is unlawful.
He said the respondents in deviance of several valid subsisting court orders for his release amounts to a grave violation of his fundamental rights to life, personal liberty, as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
He, therefore, among others sought an injunction restraining the respondents from further arresting and or further detaining him up on his release by the court without proffering a criminal charge against him.
He also sought damages of N1 billion in his favour for the violation of his fundamental rights.
EFCC to appeal N100m fine
The EFCC has expressed dissatisfaction with a judgment of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court awarding N100 million damages against it in favour of a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, who said this in a statement on Monday in Abuja, stated that the commission would appeal the judgment immediately.
Oyewale said that Justice O.A Adeniyi had on Monday, fined the commission after he ruled that its detention of Emefiele in the course of his investigation was a violation of his right to liberty.
“The decision failed to take cognizance of the fact that the former CBN boss was held with a valid order of court. Consequently, the Commission will approach the Court of Appeal to set it aside,” he said.