A Lagos Federal High Court on Tuesday restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and Inspector-General of Police from arresting, interrogating and prosecuting a former special adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs and coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku, pending the hearing and determination of an appeal filed by the former special adviser.
Justice Okon Abang had on February 17, 2016, ruled on a fundamental right suit instituted by Kuku, that the respondents could arrest, probe and prosecute Kuku over alleged financial impropriety during his tenure.
Not satisfied with the court’s ruling, Kuku had gone to the Appeal Court to challenge the lower court’s decision.
In the appeal, Kuku had filed a motion for stay of execution dated February 23, supported with 11 paragraphs affidavit deposed to by one Chinedu Obata before the court.
Justice Abang in his ruling on Tuesday held that the application before the court had nothing to do with statutory right of the respondents.
Consequently, Justice Abang ordered the parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of appeal filed by Kuku on the matter.
“Time cannot run against the state in arresting or prosecuting the applicant if truly he is culpable of the alleged offence. The respondents have nothing to lose if status quo is maintained. So, all action concerning arrest, detention and prosecution of the applicant should hold on for now till final determination of the appeal on the matter,” Justice Abang ruled.
Justice Abang in his earlier judgment which declared that the anti-graft agency has right to arrest kuku, warned the commission not to coerce or threaten anybody to give false statement against the applicant.
The judge also held that if Kuku would be arrested, he should not be detained beyond 48 hours because that would contravene Section 35(4) (5) of the 1999 Constitution.
In the suit, Kuku had sued the Attorney-General of the Federation, the EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, the Department State Services, DSS, and the Nigeria Immigration Service, alleging of “plots by the respondents to concoct, fabricate or falsify evidence in order to provide a basis for his arrest, detention, persecution and/or prosecution for political reasons”.
According to him, it was “in furtherance of the unconscionable use of the otherwise laudable war against corruption to repress the political opposition constituted by the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, including the applicant.”
Kuku had sought a declaration that any such invitation, arrest, harassment or prosecution on the basis of allegations of corruption in respect to his tenure as chairman of the Amnesty Programme between 2011 and 2015 was a breach of his right to fair hearing and freedom of movement.
Similarly, he sought an order prohibiting the respondents from arresting or prosecuting him on the basis of the allegations.
The Auditor-General of the Federation had raised questions over alleged mismanagement of funds in reports of audit monitoring and evaluation of the amnesty programme.
Kuku’s lawyer Mr. Ajibola Oluyede said the respondents were about to abuse the criminal process by seeking to arrest his client.
“There is an illegal and unjustifiable instigation of the criminal process against the applicant in a manner that infringes upon his fundamental rights as enshrined in Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution,” he said

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