A Lagos Federal High Court on Tuesday granted an application to join the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as co-defendant in a N1.5billion fundamental rights enforcement suit.
The applicants in the suit are one Alhaji Suleiman Yerima, who died in Kirikiri prisons, and one Mr. Uwem Antia.
Other respondents that were also joined in the suit are the EFCC’s head of Operations, Mr. Iliyasu Khwabe, the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, and a Deputy Superintendent of Police with the X-Squad, Zone II Police Command headquarters, Onikan, Lagos, Ibrahim Dantoro.
Other respondents in the suit are Capital Field and Investment Trust Limited, Smiles and Light Limited, Gladys Aginwa and Mr. Denis Ale.
Yerima and Antia, who were arrested for alleged fraud, are urging the court to fault their transfer by the EFCC to the Zone II Police Command for further investigations and torture.
They also want the court to declare that it was unlawful for the EFCC and the police to investigate them simultaneously on the same petition.
The duo is claiming damages in the sum of N1.5billion jointly and severally against the police, EFCC and the authors of the petitions which led to their arrest
However, the anti-graft agency had on June 24, 2015, arraigned Yerima and Antia before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja.
Lawal-Akapo had immediately after their arraignment ordered their remand in Kirikiri and adjourned to take their bail application.
The applications could, however, not be heard till Yerima died in prison on July 17, 2015, due to complications on the injury allegedly inflicted on him by the police during investigations.
Prisons authorities had said that Yerima died after he became unconscious during the Eid-el-Fitri prayer to mark the end of Ramadan fast.
Lawal-Akapo, while proceeding on annual vacation, had adjourned the case till November 9, 2015, but advised the accused to take their bail applications before the vacation judge.
But by the time the bail applications were brought before Justice Iyabo Akinkugbe on August 4, 2015, Yerima had died.
His lawyer, Mr. A.F. Adah had urged the judge to grant the bail posthumously or to give direction in the case.
However, the judge struck out the bail application, saying “there is no further direction to be given.”
In the five-ground posthumous bail application, Adah had accused the EFCC of stalling the hearing of the bail application till Yerima died in prison due to the maltreatment he allegedly suffered in the hands of the police.
Lawyer to the second accused (Antia), Mr. S. A. Salaudeen, however, urged the court to admit his client to bail.
The lawyer in the bail application for Antia said, “The applicant is terribly ill as a result of injuries sustained during his detention and torture in police custody.”
He informed the court that the applicant’s health condition had deteriorated in prison, adding that the first accused who was charged along with the applicant died two weeks after their detention, because he was not given timely treatment by the prisons authorities.
He informed the court that his client was in danger of losing his life if the bail application was not granted.

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