A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday struck out a suit by a former National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prof. Wale Oladipo, seeking an order stopping the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other law enforcement agencies from arresting him.
He had filed the fundamental human rights enforcement suit on February 8, 2016, to stop his possible arrest with respect to the funds he received for the PDP’s presidential campaign for the last year’s election.
He had joined the Attorney-General of the Federation, the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, the Inspector-General of Police and the Department of State Service as the respondents to the suit.
Delivering judgment in the suit on Friday, Justice John Tsoho held that Oladipo failed to substantiate his fear that his rights were likely to be violated by his possible arrest by EFCC and other law enforcement agencies.
He held that no court would ever restrain any law enforcement agency from performing its constitutionally guaranteed power to arrest suspects and investigate crimes.
Justice Tsoho, earlier in the judgment, affirmed the court’s jurisdiction to hear the suit after dismissing the separate notices of preliminary objection filed by the AGF and ICPC.
But the court at the end ruled that “the applicant’s action totally fails and it is strcuk out”.
It held that there was no cogent or credible evidence to back suit.
Justice Tsoho ruled, “There is no credible evidence to justify the applicant’s assertions in his affidavit depositions.
“The applicant had essentially sought declarative reliefs in this suit without providing necessary evidence required to discharge the burden placed on him.
“The reliefs sought by the applicant basically aimed at restraining the respondents from performing their constitutional and statutory duties.
“The law is, however, trite that no court of law can stop the police or other law enforcement agencies from investigating criminal allegations where as there arises such need.
“To allow this will be tantamount to interference with the powers given by the Constitution or enabling statute to law enforcement agencies.
“I therefore hold the respective view that the reliefs sought by the applicant in this suit are not grantable.
“This is, particularly in view of the applicant’s failure to furnish compelling and credible evidence, that there is threat that his fundamental rights are to be infringed by the respondents.”
The judge also held that Oladipo failed to discredit the denial by the EFCC that one Adebayo Olatunji, who purportedly sent a text message to him over the investigation, was a member of staff of the commission.
The court held, “The law is settled that evidence that directly affects the matter in controversy, that is neither attacked nor successfully discredited is deemed as credible evidence that can be relied upon by the court.
“It is therefore my humble view that the applicant’s failure to discredit the 2nd respondent’s (EFCC’s) disclaimer of the text, on which his case is built, weakens his case.”
The judgment on Friday impliedly set aside an order earlier granted by the judge on February 18, 2016, directing parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the suit.