A Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a case of fundamental rights filed by the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Olisa Metuh, against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Mr. Metuh is facing a seven-count charge of corruption and money laundering, for illegally receiving and spending N400 million, being part of $2.1 billion arms money diverted by former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Mr. Metuh had approached the court with an application seeking his release from detention, following his arrest in January.
His lawyer, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, argued that his client was unlawfully detained by the commission and had asked the court to declare a magistrate court’s order of the arrest unconstitutional.
The counsel to the EFCC, Sylvanus Tahir, however said the order was made by a court of law, hence Mr. Metuh’s detention could not have been unconstitutional.
In his ruling, the trial Judge, Okon Abang, ruled that the EFCC or any order agent of the government can detain Mr. Metuh, based on an order of court.
“It is my view that the applicant cannot complain of being held illegally, if he was held by an order of court,” the judge said. “This court in determining his fundamental rights cannot overthrow the decision of the Magistrate Court.”
The judge said the applicant could challenge the order of the magistrate court by going before the same court to ask it to set aside its order, or asking a High Court to do so.
He however said the court could not rule that the Magistrate Court lacked jurisdiction to issue such an order.
“This court in its jurisdiction lacks power to declare the order that remands him for 10 days as unconstitutional since the remand order subsist,” the judge said.
“It is my view that the detainee cannot complain of unlawful detention by any department of the government where the detention was made with an order of court,” Mr. Abang ruled.
The judge ruled that the applicant’s complain of being held for an upward of 10 days was lawful.
Mr. Abang directed Mr. Metuh to pay N15, 000 to the EFCC as damages.