The Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered the EFCC, to pay N12.5 million for infringing on the fundamental human rights of Abdulaziz Nyako within 30 days.
On Tuesday, June 6, Justice Gabriel Kolawale, made the order and said the fine should be deposited with the Chief Registrar of the court.
According to the News Agency Nigeria (NAN) the N12.5 million was imposed on the anti-graft agency for illegally arresting and detaining the senator for three days.
And also for freezing all of Mr Nyako’s bank accounts for over two years without a court order, or charging him to court.
Justice Kolalwole said there was no cogent reason placed before the court to enable it use its discretion in favour of the anti-graft agency and stay the judgment.
He disagreed with the argument of the EFCC that it would not be able to function if it paid the fine, adding that the argument was based on sentiments and not on law.
More than a year after the judgment was entered against EFCC, the compilation of records by the agency for transmission to the Court of Appeal has not been done and the period allowed by law has expired,” he said.
“The registrar shall open an interest yielding account in a reputable bank of his choice with the draft,” Mr. Kolawale said.
In the alternative, the court ordered the anti-graft agency to provide a bank guarantee of N12.5 million.
He said that in the event that the EFCC failed to deposit the bank draft within 30 days, the respondents shall have the right to apply for garnishee order nisi.
A garnishee order nisi is to allow Mr. Nyako withdraw directly from EFCC’s account with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Earlier, the judge had berated the EFCC for claiming that the court issued a judicial fiat in respect to the judgment.
In this extant case, EFCC cannot be said to be a diligent party having just filed a notice of appeal in a judgment delivered almost a year ago.
“The EFCC should wake up and realise that the law that established it is not a cosmetic law but designed to protect the Nigerian citizens from acts of recklessness in the name of performing statutory functions.
“It is a political slogan that a security agency cannot be subjected to court orders when it goes out of its way to infringe on the fundamental rights of the citizens.
“The act of arresting and detaining before investigation is unconstitutional and bizarre and must not be condoned by any law court.
“Remanding suspects through magistrate court orders in matters where magistrate courts have no jurisdiction is not only tragic but unfortunate.
“This trend must be stopped, the security agencies must realise that Nigeria is now being governed through a democratic process,” the judge said.
The court also ordered that the EFCC should tender a public apology to Nyako for freezing his bank accounts and unlawfully detaining him for days without obtaining a court order.
Meanwhile, days after the EFCC took over his property, the embattled George Turnah, has written the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) seeking for clarifications on some issues.
Turner said he needed clarifications over the allegation by the EFCC that he got multiple contracts from the NDDC.