Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja, yesterday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC, to immediately grant bail to embattled former Aide de Camp to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. OjogbaneAdegbe, on liberal terms.
Justice Yusuf Halilu, ruling on a fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed by Adegbe yesterday, however, refused the plaintiff’s prayer for N100million compensation for unlawful detention by the EFCC and written apology from the anti-graft agency.
Meanwhile, before the judge started, delivering his ruling yesterday, Adegbe’s lawyer, Mr. OgwuOnoja, SAN, informed the court that the EFCC after the hearing of the suit on February 25, transferred the ex-President’s ADC from its custody to the Nigerian Army.
Chief Ogwu also said that after the hearing, the EFCC which claimed it was only holding Adegbe on the instruction of the Nigerian Army, decided to grant bail to his client in conditions that were allegedly impossible to meet.
But EFCC’s lawyer, Benda Musu, when asked to respond to the plaintiff’s lawyer’s claim, said she did not have more knowledge about the said transfer than the SAN had.
The judge however delivered his ruling, declaring as unconstitutional and illegal the detention of the applicant since February 11 without filing charges against him.
The judge also reprimanded the anti-graft agency for “reducing itself to the police station or detention centre of the Nigerian Army”.
He observed that the EFCC took contradictory positions by claiming that it was investigating alleged arms procurement fraud for which Adegbe was arrested and in another breath claimed to be holding the plaintiff on the instruction of the Nigerian Army.
“While respondent (EFCC) is dancing makossa on one side, it is singing another song on the other side,” the judge noted.
The judge however said he was unable to direct the EFCC to pay damages to the applicant or tender apology to him, since he remained in the service of the Nigerian Army and the anti-graft agency was equally a government agency.
Col. OjogbaneAdegbe had dragged the Fed¬eral Government before an Abuja Federal High Court, wherein he is seeking to enforce his fundamen¬tal rights being allegedly violated by the EFCC.
According to the motion on notice filed by his counsel, OgwuOnoja, SAN, dated February 16, 2016, Ojogbane is asking the court to make an order for the Federal Government to pay him the sum of N100 million as gen¬eral damages for detaining him unlawfully since February 11, 2016.
The applicant is praying for a declaration that the arrest and continued detention of the appli-cant by the respondent since Feb¬ruary 11, 2016 is unconstitutional as it offends his right to personal liberty as guaranteed by Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The ex-President’s ADC is equally asking the court to order the EFCC to release him from unlawful detention with immedi¬ate effect.
In the alternative, the applicant is seeking for an order admitting him to bail pending his trial in a court of competent jurisdiction since his case is not a capital of¬fence.
In addition, Ojogbane wants the respondent to write a letter of apology to him.
Ojogbane filed the suit on the grounds that his arrest and con¬tinued detention by the EFCC violate his rights to personal lib¬erty and freedom of movement as guaranteed by Sections 35 and 41of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Articles 5, 6, and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
In addition, the applicant said he is seeking the relief because his arrest and continued detention “is neither known to any law nor permitted by any law/procedure and therefore not justified”.
A supporting affidavit deposed to by one Michael David Adegbe, the younger brother of the ADC, stated that Ojogbane has been in EFCC detention facility since February 11, 2015 and has been denied administrative bail by the commission.
The deponent stated that Ojogbane after leaving office was sent on a military course in the United Kingdom.
“As a result of activities being undertaken by the EFCC in re¬lation to activities of the former government of President Good¬luck Jonathan, the respondent invited the applicant through the Nigerian Army.
The affidavit stated that having been summoned by the military authorities, Ojogbane returned to Nigeria on February 10, 2015, and was subsequently handed over to the EFCC for question¬ing.
Michael said, “Despite making his statement on that same day, the EFCC continued to detain the applicant in their custody and have refused to grant him bail or charge him to court.
He claimed that the case against the applicant as seen from interrogation and questions put to him relates to his military official duties in receiving con¬cealed messages from the office of the National Security Adviser and delivering them to persons on the instructions of President Jonathan.

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